Sarutobi and Kirigakure - Ninja in the Edo period literature - (summary)
Lecturer: Keiichi Takahashi
Sarutobi and Kirigakure are both names of fictional Ninja characters created in literature of the Edo period. They were imaginary vassals of a real historical samurai, Sanada Yukimura. Historically, up until his renowned brave death in the Summer Siege of Osaka, Sanada Nobushige (alias of Yukimura) was an unremarkable person hidden behind the greatness of his father, Masayuki. What made him into the greatest strategist in the history of Japan was actually a category of novels during the Edo period called "Jitsuroku (literally, 'authentic records')". Jitsuroku has been discussed into details in the previous lecture, quoting from resources such as the regulations at the time.
In the context of the early modern times, Yukimura becomes more active as the time comes closer to today (e.g., More appearance and activities observed in "Namba Senki (1615)", "Osaka Monogatari (1672)", etc., as time went on). His image as the genius strategist and royal vassal of the Toyotomi Family was perfected in the middle of early modern time with the work titled, "Enshoku Taiheirakuki". Coincidentally, both Sarutobi Sasuke and Kirigakure (first name 'Saizo' was not yet defined) made their first appearance in "Enshoku Taiheirakuki". Their names were recognized in the copy of the original publication in the previous lecture, in which each of them appeared one time each. Moreover, in the latter half of early modern times, "Honcho Seisuiki", an edition of "Enshoku Taiheirakuki" enlarged to be approximately four times longer than the original was published. In this newer version, both Sarutobi and Kirigakure are described as extraordinary ninja, engaging in tasks such as collection, reporting and manipulation of information. Only once, there is a description of a scene in which Kirigakure and four other fellow ninja got in a battle with a few hundreds of the Ieyasu Army, and as soon as they were surrounded by the musket troops, they disappear using ninjutsu. The original text was reviewed in the previous lecture. It seems that ninja in the Edo period were as skilled as Sarutobi and Kirigakure described in the "Tachikawa Bunko" series.