‘Koga Ryu Ninjyutsu’, which is Japan’s most famous art of ninjya, was born in Koka City ,Shiga Prefecture around the 15th century.
Although ‘ninjya’ in Japan is divided into the fifty schools or so, among which ‘Iga Ryu’ school in Mie Prefecture and ‘Koga Ryu’ school in Shiga Prefecture are sticking out.
The social position of ‘ninjya’ is ranked between a samurai warrior and farmer in the feudal caste system in Japan, from a samurai down farmer,artisan and merchant. Because ‘ninjya’ usually engaged in farming as well as espionage, and headed out to a battlefield as a soldier in emergency.
The ‘ninjya’ of ‘Koga Ryu’ school worked for Toyotomi Hideyosi, Japan’s de facto ruler in the 16th century,by conducting espionage activities against his rival Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of Tokugawa shogunate, who was helped by ‘Iga Ryu’ ninjya.
The old house in the first picture is one and only existing house of ‘ninjya’ belonged to one of the high-ranking ninjyas in the 17th century. The inside of this house is very special with many devices and trics, such as secret doors and pitfalls, to capture the enemies or to escape out of the house. The second picture shows a hidden secret passage under the corridor.
By Masahisa Takaki.