Shinobi training manual covers ingredients to make sleeping potions and smoke bombs, as well as magic incantations.

In the amazing techno-age we currently live in, when there are so many fonts of knowledge that you can access online from the comfort of your home, you may wonder if there’re any remaining reasons to go to a library. There are, and perhaps the best is that some libraries hold important written records that predate the digital age and aren’t yet available in any digital form.

For example, the Hirosaki Municipal Library, in Aomori Prefecture, recently discovered that hiding within its collection was a handwritten ninja training manual that’s over two centuries old, likely created before the U.S.A. was even an independent country.

▼ A slideshow presentation of a section of the manual

Researchers believe the book of shinobi secrets was written by members of the Hayamichi no Mono, an organization of ninja trained in the ways of the Koga ninja clan who operated in Tsugaru domain (present-day Aomori) starting in the 17th century. Along with descriptions of how to craft ninja weaponry, the text contains incantations said to unleash mystical powers, as well as shadow warrior folk wisdom such as:
● Dry toads or ducks, then roast them to create the ingredients for a sleeping poison.
● Mix gunpowder and aconite (wolf’s bane) to make a smoke bomb.
● When travelling, select an inn with only one entrance/exit, and prop a tatami reed floor mat against the door to alert yourself to the presence of intruders.

The 12-page training manual is believed to have been written in approximately 1756, over a hundred years before the end of Japan’s feudal, shogun-ruled period of history. As of this writing, there’s no word as to whether or not the information contained in the text will be covered in this year’s official Koga ninja proficiency exam, but as a wise man once said, “If you know everything, you don’t have to worry about what’s on the test,” so it’s probably worth committing to memory.

Source: @nifty News/Mainichi Shimbun via Jin, N Code
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