Things Ninjas Didn’t Do (That You Think They Did)

Posted by on Mar 18, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

#2) Be male.

Deadly Flowers

Deadly Flowers

Were there really female ninja? People ask me this when I mention Deadly Flowers.

The thing is, we don’t actually know that much about what ninjas really did. They were secretive. That was the whole point. A ninja who got written into the history books probably wasn’t a very good ninja. So we go on myth and legend a lot. And legend has it that there were at least some women who worked as ninjas.

It’s said that a woman in feudal Japan, named Chiyome (or Chiyojo), lost her husband in battle. There weren’t that many options for a widow in that time period. She could marry again, or she could become a nun. Chiyome went in another direction. She opened up a school for ninjas. For girl ninjas.

Chiyome is said to have take in girls and trained them to travel around Japan as spies, gathering information for her husband’s overload, Takeda Shingen. They were called “walking maidens,” her students, for their itinerant ways. Another name for female ninjas was “deadly flowers.”

Can we prove it? No. But then we can’t prove anything much about ninjas.

Could it have happened? Why not? It was a time of civil war in Japan. Things were unsettled and desperate. A warlord like Takeda would have been glad for any advantage he could get over his rivals. For women to act as ninjas would have gone against tradition, it wouldn’t have been something to be discussed in polite society, and the women who did it would have been taking on great risk and hardship. But, yes, it could have happened.

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