is as a
soldier. The Boys' Festival of May 5 reminds the people of "samurai" or
fighting men, whose deeds of bravery, courage and loyalty are told
brilliantly in history and tradition.
ruled the country, and as fighting was their principal duty, they were
required to be skilful in the art of war. Swords were the principal
weapon then, and they even worshipped swords as the emblem of their
duty and spirit.
to gain the
skill in using swords for attack and defence, they had to go through
most strenuous training. The physical handling of swords alone did not
make a master swordsman. Not only in battles which were the man-to-man
affair, but even in their daily life, "samurai" needed to be constantly
prepared for a hostile attack.
they had to
their five senses, and learn to concentrate their mind. To this end,
many "samurai" studied the Zen doctrine of Buddhism, because Zen
meditation gave them calmness and composure of mind, and increased
their power of vision.
among military leaders became intense in the feudal days, the art of
spying suddenly developed. Spies were sent to the territories of
neighboring or hostile lords to obtain information as to their plans
and intentions. These expert spies finally succeeded in attaining
"ninjutsu" or the art of invisibility.
describing the campaigns of military lords usually exaggerated the art
of invisibility, and made these experts almost superhuman magicians
able to become invisible at their wish. All this is, however, mere
experts did really exist. They attained their art only after several
years of hard and difficult training. First they learned to walk and
run faster than ordinary persons, and trained themselves to go without
eating and sleeping for several days. This ability of quick physical
movement and endurance was the first step. Then, as the second step,
they learned to walk softly end noiselessly anywhere, to climb up
perpendicular walls, jump over high fences, open and shut doors,
without making any noise, see things in semi darkness and to have a
specially keen sense of hearing.
himself in a tight black costume, covering his entire head end face
except for openings for the eyes.
He selected a
and scaled the outer wall or fence of the place he intended to enter.
Opening a convenient door noiselessly he entered the house. If he met
anyone in the corridor, he flattened himself against the side wall or
jumped up and held his body in mid-air above the person, by grabbing
the side posts. He went where ever he pleased and listened to the talks
of the members of the household, or carried away anything that would be
valuable in knowing the affairs of the family.