© COPYRIGHT – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This site and is protected and monitored by DMCA.COM - ANY UNAUTHORIZED Reproduction, Duplication, Distribution of any kind is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. All original content is created by the website owner, including but not limited to text, design, code, images, photographs and videos are considered to be the Intellectual Property of the website owner, whether copyrighted or not, and are protected by DMCA Protection Services using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Title 17 Chapter 512 (c)(3). Direct linking, reproduction or re-publication of this content is prohibited without permission. Under 17 U.S.C section 101 et seq. those who violate the DMCA could be liable for statutory damages as high as 150,000.00 as set forth in section 504(c)(2) therein.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

NAKANO’S WW II NINJA: Looking at the Rikugun Nakano Gakko curriculum

During Japan’s Warring States era the practices of ninjutsu became clearly defined. The ninja were the most active and a distinct force alongside troops in the field. Each Feudal lord retained a unit of 40 to 50 ninja, though in some cases there were as many as 200. According to the task or mission at hand, the required number of men would be called up and sent out before battle to infiltrate behind enemy lines to gather intelligence. When fighting broke out the ninja took to guerrilla warfare. On these missions the ninja worked mostly in groups executing dangerous missions which we would associate today with elite Special Forces units.

Training in ninjutsu, guerrilla warfare and spy craft, was part of the curriculum at the Rikugun Nakano Gakko, a secret training facility for military intelligence operatives run by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. The school was established to train soldiers to serve behind enemy lines. The Imperial Japanese Army placed a high priority on the use of unconventional warfare much of the training was either very similar to ninjutsu techniques, or derived directly from them. Shadow warfare, ninja style was the thing, but adapted to the modern world.

About 2,300 graduates were trained to serve behind the lines in the Nakano School, one of several Japanese schools for behind-the-lines spies and operators. (The Navy and the Kempei Tai military police operated the other schools, from which no documents are thought to have survived).

In total Nakano graduates earned 1290 credits.  Classes included bacteriology, pharmacology, practical bomb techniques, military science--including foreign militaries, topography and weapons, foreign languages (Russian, English and Chinese), photography, intelligence techniques, martial arts and ninjutsu. The reports do not describe the specific ninjutsu skills that were taught, although they do show that the initial plan to teach one ninjutsu credit was expanded to three.

According to Hiro Onoda’s book “My Thirty Year War”, Onoda gave a description of his time and training at Nakano. As a Nakano trainee he spent 4 hours of training in the morning and four in the afternoon.  The classes lasted two hours each, two classes in the morning and two classes in the afternoon with fifteen minute breaks in the mid morning and mind afternoon.

A semester system divides the academic year into two terms, which are usually 14–20 weeks each. A semester credit hour, credit hour or credit (SCH) is 15-16 contact hours per semester (a contact hour is actual physical class time spent in front of an instructor). Most courses are 3 Semester Credit Hours SCH or 45-48 contact hours, so a one hour class would typically meet for three hours per week over a 15 week semester. For example, the ninjutsu curriculum at Nakano was a one credit course (SCH) this could mean 15-16 contact hours. If the course was expanded to three credits (SCH) which could have been 45-48 or more contact hours.

However looking at Prof. Taketoshi Yamamoto’s discovery of the Nakano Curriculum, and taking into account that the classes at Rikugun Nakano Gakko were TWO HOUR sessions, the interpretation is that the training was rather extensive. According to Onoda in his book training was four, two hour classes a day, two classes in the morning and two in the afternoon. Using the Ninjutsu course as the example, a one credit course could have been 30-32 contact hours or more and that a three credit course could have been 90-96 or more contact hours of training.

Also, according to, Stephen C. Mercado’s book, The Shadow Warriors of Nakano: A History of The Imperial Japanese Army’s Elite Intelligence School, the training at Nakano was a yearlong endeavor. This could very well indicate that the semesters may have been 20-25 weeks long each. This would also add to the amount of contact hours or actual time the Nakano’s neo ninja spent training.