Boryaku - what is really?

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by Botta Dritta, Nov 1, 2015.

  1. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    Seeing as my original plan to visit a local bujinkan has fallen through ( work hours...sigh...), I,ve consolled my self by reading books articles and watching documentaries and films on the subject area which is by turns fascinating and bewildering.

    Anyway having looked at the 18 skills that a ninja should learn, amongst the very practical stuff I also noticed Boryaku which is loosely translated as strategy. There's very little detail about this except the oft repeated sentence:

    Alongside more orthodox and mainstream measures, Bōryaku includes use of unorthodox strategies and tactics, as well as manipulation of politics and exploitation of other current events to assist in subtle influence of the opponent.

    Dr. Hatsumi, M. (1981) Ninjutsu: History and Tradition.

    This kind of got me thinking of one of the string of ninja movies I have been binging on - " Shinobi no Mono" (1962), (which incidentally I really enjoyed, at least in appreciation for its cinematic qualities, much more than Chuck Norris film "the Octagon" which was hilariously bad.)

    The film had Takamatsu allegedly as one of its technical consultants. In it the Protagonist gains some sort of epiphany at the end when he makes a startling discovery:


    Narrator -
    "The same person has created two groups and manipulated his subjects, turning them against each other to reach his goals, therein lies the secret of ninjutsu"

    Now I don't know if this is Boryaku or not , but it sure sounds like the oft repeated description.

    And yet it leaves me perplexed. Having read some of the recent translations of the three main historical Ninja manuals ( I know I know anthony , the self proclaimed heretic' Cummins ... Please don't flame me yet, hear me out) Basenshukai, Shoninki and Ninpinden, none of them refer to Strategy quite as described above.

    Or rather, to be exact: They extesively quote from classical chinese and Japanese battle strategy and where Ninjutsu fits in the warfare template regarding Scouting, Information gathering, Raiding and sabotage. There's pleanty on tactics and techniques when used during mission, some ideas about Shinobi being used to futher the aims of the greater army strategy, (but please correct me if I'm wrong) but very little about political subversive strategy, beyond the classical chinese spy hiearchy


    1)What is exactly Boryaku at least in the Togakure context? Has Dr Hatsumi expanded on this subject in other works?

    2) Could it be a development of the more peaceful Edo period, where there was less armed conflict but perhaps more political manoeuvring?

    3) It seems to me far from being a 'redundant military strategy' it could have wide applications at least socially or in a buisness environment. Does anyone in the Bujinkan use Boryaku?
  2. Meitetsu

    Meitetsu Valued Member

    謀略 Means making plans to deceive people. Kind of a cool word
  3. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    Is that the actual translation? ( i dont read japanese)

    Incidentally are you the author of the translations of Gingensu Itohs's Ninjutsu works? I you are then thanks for answering my e-mail and questions in early September. I totally forgot to reply back ( was enjoying my holiday!)

    Keep up the good work.
  4. Meitetsu

    Meitetsu Valued Member

Share This Page