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Ninja Attack!: True Tales of Assassins, Samurai, and Outlaws [Kindle Edition]

Hiroko Yoda , Matt Alt , Yutaka Kondo
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Ninja Attack! introduces dozens of unforgettable real-life ninja straight out of the annals of Japanese history—many of whom are all but unknown outside their home country.

Ninja masters. Solo assassins and operatives. Femme fatales as deadly as they were sexy. Swordfighters out of legend. And the Shogun and warlords who commanded them. Each individual in this graphic novel is profiled with a full-page manga-style drawing and a dossier brimming with top-secret information, including photos, anecdotes, and dramatic stories of the individuals in action.

The book covers ninja clothing styles, the types of weapons that were used, ninja tools, ninja tricks of the trade, and the basics of the ninja diet. It also includes a do-it-yourself tour of ninja related spots in modern Tokyo.

Ninja Attack! is everything you always wanted to know about ninja but were too afraid you'd get a shuriken in the eye to ask.

Legendary ninja's covered in this book include:
  • Prince Shotoku
  • Mochizuki Chiyojo
  • Hattori Hanzo
  • Matsuo Basho
  • Mamiya Rinzo
  • Jiraiya

Together with Yokai Attack! and Yurei Attack!, Ninja Attack! is the last guidebook to Japan you'll ever need.

Product Description


"I wish I'd had this beautiful book back in 1983 when Kevin Eastman and I created the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles -- it would have helped a lot! At the very least, the 'ninja stuff' in our comic book would have been quite a bit more authentic." -- Peter Laird, Co-creator, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"A must read for ninja fans! And the illustrations are brilliant! I wish there was a Japanese edition of this book." -- Takashi Okazaki, Creator of "Afro Samurai"

About the Author

Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt are a husband and wife team who run a Tokyo-based translation company that specializes in producing the English versions of Japanese video games, comic books and literature. They are the co-authors of Yokai Attack!, a guidebook to traditional Japanese monsters and demons, also published by Kodansha International.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 152519 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; Revised edition (18 Dec. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #574,686 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I as well really liked the art work and writing 23 Oct. 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I got this as a present for my ninja and he absolutely loves it! I as well really liked the art work and writing. Very simple yet quite informative. Would definitely recommend!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Book 4 May 2015
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Just as advertised, really interesting book and a nice size and finish. Came in good time and condition.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another wonderful, well-written and highly entertaining book by Yoda and Alt. 23 Nov. 2010
By Dennis A. Amith - Published on
Were you one of those people that watched Sho Kosugi films when you were younger? Watched Kung Fu cinema on television in hopes that "Super Ninja" would be televised? Purchased ninja clothes and weapons online so you can be like those ninjas you watched in the movies?

Well, if you were one of those type of people, then "Ninja Attack! True Tales of Assassins, Samurai and Outlaws" is definitely a book for you! And also a book for those who love stories about real life (and fictional) ninjas in general with some added samurai warriors to make this book even more enticing.

Back again are Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt, the husband and wife team who wrote the 2008 book "Yokai Attack!" featuring Japanese mythological spirits and monsters with a humorous take on the subject, the duo does the same with their ninja (and samurai)-driven book by featuring historical facts about these individuals and their affect on Japanese pop culture many, many years later.

As a child, I have always been into ninja storylines and like many kids back in the '80s, we had access to ninja magazines from our local supermarket and purchasing the latest ninja gear via mail order was not too difficult. Granted, my parents were not exactly the accepting type and when they found ninja stars and a sai in my closet, needless to say, my collection of ninja magazines were trashed and my hopes to becoming like a ninja were dashed.

Well, fortunately, we had a Japanese American student in our school who claimed his father learned ninjitsu from a descendant who trained from one of the last living ninjas, Grand Master Masaaki Hatsumi but when I went to undergo training from my future ninja teacher, to find out that training would be conducted at his home in a trailer park, needless to say, that moment was the end of my pursuit of trying to become a ninja.

So, the next years of my young teenage life of following ninja was through "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (the black and white comics), whatever was shown in film and the popular "Ninja Gaiden" video game series on the NES and of course, early ninja anime. Needless to say, I wished I had a book that was easily accessible on ninja adventures when I was younger, something cool that would feature other ninjas and their adventures. Stories that would show us why they were so bad ass!

Well, fortunately we now have a ninja book that is not about training or the history of one man, this is a book that goes into the story of various men in Japanese history who were dedicated to the life of the Shinobi, those who have lost their way and those who were active in trying to exterminate the various ninja clans.

"Ninja Attack! True Tales of Assassins, Samurai and Outlaws" was thoroughly researched and similar to Yoda and Alt's latest book, a good dose of humor added as well. Also, provided with each chapter on an individual are cool illustrations by Yutaka Kondo.

The book is broken down in various chapters. The book features "The Illustrated Ninja" which gives the reader information on history, milestones, ninja warring nations, ninja terms, style and weapons, tools, techniques and how the lived. But the main portion of the book deals with a certain ninja individuals.

In the chapter "Ninja Ninja", we learned about characters such as Mochizuki Izumo no Kami, Togakushi Daisuke, Hino Kumawaka-Maru, Momochi Tanba, Mochizuki Chiyojo and many more. In fact, if you play many video games or watch many ninja films, names such as Hattori Hanzo, Matsuo Basho, Sawamura Jinzaburo Yasusuke are also feature.

In each chapter featuring these men, an illustration by Yutaka Kondo are featured and next to it is a file information on that ninja. From their birth-death, occupation, cause of death, nicknames, hobbies, preferred weapon, clan affiliation and confirmation of that ninja's existence.

So, for a ninja like Hattori Hanzo, we learn how he is part of the Iga Clan and he uses a spear. His occupation was a "Jonin" (master ninja) and the chapter would go into describing the man, the moment of their glory, how they died and information of how these ninjas are respected in today's culture. In Hanzo's case, The Hanzomon Line in Tokyo goes to the Hanzo Gate which was a part of the imperial palace.

The next chapter titled "Ninja Gone Bad", we learn about ninjas such as Ishikawa Goemon, Nippon Zaemon, Fuma Kotaro and Kosaka Jinnai who turned to a life of crime. Goemon who was once with ninja Iga clan and after his clan were hunted by Nobunaga's successor Hideoyoshi Toyotomi and Goemon used his skills for profit (which was forbidden). Unfortunately this ninjas arrival to a village was leaked and the ninja along with his young son were boiled to death in an iron cauldron of oil and his death would influence the name of an iron tub as a "Goemon-buro" (Goemon bath) in Japan.

Another ninja, Nippon Zaemon was like the American gangsters of the early '30s who would rob the rich and was on the front of the first wanted poster in Japan and featured is the actual text from Zaemon's wanted poster.

The chapter "Ninja Magic" would focus on ninjas of fiction (and some who were real) in Japanese culture such as En no Ozunu, Kashin Koji, Katoh Danzo, Jiraiya and Sarutobi Sasuke & Kirigakure Saizo. These ninjas used magic and were hunted down by Hideyoshi Toyotomi.

One of the more popular ninjas to use magic were Jiraiya (a name familiar to manga and anime fans of "Naruto") who partnered with his sidekick Tsunade and together they fought against injustice. In Japanese folk tales, Jiraiya was able to summon a large toad and how Japanese pop culture of today has made Jiraiya a major pop culture ninja icon.

The final chapters would deal with ninja rivals, which were typically samurai who fought against the ninja such as ninja rivals Miyamoto Musashi, Yagyu Jubei, Tomoe Gozen, Minamoto no Yoshitsune and Hanegawa Heizo. While most of these names are well-known samurai, Yoda and Alt, make sure to showcase the ninja connection with these samurai. For example, with Miyamoto Musashi, one of the stories of this legendary warrior is how he defeated a warrior named Musashi at the age of 13 and due to the weapons and the location of the duel, it is likely that the man Miyamoto beaten was actually a ninja.

And then there is the chapter of ninja users such as Shotoku Taishi, Takeda Shingen, Sanada Yukimura, Tokugawa Ieyasu and Tokugawa Yoshimune. Powerful individuals in Japan during that feudal era who would employ ninjas (shinobi) as spies. One of the most notable figures covered was Takeda Shinen, a man who would create his own spy network in Japan centuries before the KGB and CIA using trained agents who worked covertly as traveling priests and shrine-maidens.

The final chapter would focus on the ninja destroyer, feudal lord Oda Nobunaga, the man who would conquer Japan and would constantly become the target for ninja trying to assassinate him. While Nobunaga is a man who is covered quite a bit in Japanese books, probably the most interesting story was how Nobunaga had an African man nicknamed Yasuke among his retainers. I have never heard of an African man working with Nobunaga Oda until I read this book and found it to be quite intriguing.

Overall, the presentation of how this book was written was well-done. The authors definitely made it a book that is fun and reader-friendly, but most of all, it is quite obvious that they did their research on each ninja and samurai and how these popular icons of ninja and samurai glory have been portrayed in Japan today or how they had some influence in Japanese pop culture.

The book is rather thorough and informative and for the most part, I had a great time reading this book as it features a lot of information on ninjas and their lifestyle as well as covering the time period in which many of these clans existed.

"Ninja Attack! True Tales of Assassins, Samurai and Outlaws" is another enjoyable, awesome book and yet another home run for the the married duo Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt. Highly recommended!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A roll-call of Japan's historical/mythological ninja 6 Nov. 2012
By Zack Davisson - Published on
Of all of Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt's "Attack!" books "Ninja Attack!" is the one I was looking forward to the least. Although I love Japan's yokai and yurei--I am the translator and webmaster of the hyakumonogatari website-- I have only a passing interest in the super-spies and assassins known collectively as ninja.

Yet to my surprise, this was the book in the series I enjoyed the most. I think it is because they didn't use the "Survival Guide" motif that I am not a big fan of. This meant they had more pages to devote to the subject matter at hand, and could cover things in greater detail. This ended up being a really fun read.

"Ninja Attack!" is nowhere near an account of Japan's historical ninja. I have read Dr. Kacem Zoughari's The Ninja: Ancient Shadow Warriors of Japan and Dr. Stephen R. Turnbull's Ninja: The True Story of Japan's Secret Warrior Cult, (not to mention Dr. Hatsumi Masaaki's modern ninja books, The Way of the Ninja: Secret Techniques and Secrets from the Ninja Grandmaster), all of which give a much more accurate account of ninja in Japanese history. Ninja were spies, assassins, and castle-breakers, as far removed from the Hollywood image of ninja as John Wayne is from historical cowboys. But like cowboys, in Japan ninja were elevated to legendary figures capable of sorcery and superhuman feats.

Instead of factual accounts, Yoda and Alt went straight for the myth, but the real myth Japanese-style. These are all of the larger-than-life shadow warriors of Japan who--although they have a factual basis--are known to command winds and ride giant frogs. They give a token wave to history, and then revel in the legend, which--to be honest--is a whole lot more fun. There is Kumawaka, famed to be able to outrun a cheetah, and Momochi Tanba, who sat in the middle of a web of crime and spies like Professor Moriarty. Or Takeda Shingen with his troop of female ninja who used their bodies as the ultimate weapon, and Kashin Koji who transformed into a mouse to escape the clutches of the powerful warlord Hideyoshi .

Like all of the "Attack!" books, Yoda and Alt stretch the boundaries pretty thin in their definitions. I laughed to see legendary haiku master Matsuo Basho listed, with absolutely nothing more to back it up then with "wouldn't it be cool if ... ?" Miyamoto Musashi was another one I was surprised to see--he Is nothing like a ninja, but oh well. The Rule of Cool is the guide for this book.

The book is illustrated by Yutaka Kondo, who does a decent job. Some of the illustrations I was really taken with; Sanada Yukimura looks pretty cool. Kashin Koji has a nice sinister air about him. Some of the illustrations don't work as well, but none are really terrible. There are a few pictures of historical artifacts and prints, but that isn't really the focus. Anyone looking for that sort of thing is better off with Turnbull's treasure-trove of ancient imagery.

"Ninja Attack" is still "ninja as pop culture," but this time it is authentic Japanese pop culture. This is a great book for "Naruto" fans and anyone else who wants to delve into the fantasy land of ninja, and doesn't want to plow through a dry academic book.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great ninja book 15 Dec. 2011
By Kenpoguy - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is super cool and full of illustrations and facts about real life ninja and a few samurai as well.
I grew up in the 80s and wathced the ninja movies etc. I am still intrigued by by the shinobi. Fun, interesting guidebook for the ninja/martial arts enthusiasts.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great series for mythology fans and people interested in Japanese role 24 April 2013
By James Mielke - Published on
I highly recommend the Attacks! series (Yokai, Yurei, and Ninja all) of books to anyone who is interested in Japanese mythology, and in mythology in general. As someone who has, through the years, enjoyed reading about the myths and legends of many cultures (Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Greek, Norse, etc.) I find the Attacks! books well-designed, easy to read and digest, and full of rich nuance and detail, conveyed in an easygoing manner that quickly distinguishes this collection from many old-fashioned tomes which present you with dense walls of text. This is not to suggest that the Attack! series is written for children or a "My First Mythology" book, it's quite the opposite. These well-researched books are full of context and color, which makes for lively reading no matter what your age range. They're comfortably sized for tossing in your bag for reading anywhere, and the entire series is inexpensive enough to recommend grabbing the entire set. Five stars without a doubt.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Cool 28 Oct. 2010
By Nicole Y. Church - Published on
This book was better than i expected! Action packed and interesting. A must read if you are interested in Assassins, Samurai and Outlaws! Also, cool graphics.
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