This is a great article written by Sean Askew, shared on his Facebook account. Shared with permission.
"Bad bad evil Koga!!!
On April 10th of 2022 the fifth convention of the International Ninja Studies Association began a two-day event in Koka (Koga) City, showcasing the shinobi or "ninja" of the Koka region. Koka. On the first day, research presentations were given by experts at the Koka Historical Ninja Museum in Konan Town, with over 150 people attending to listen to the presentations.
Mr. Takahito Fukushima, a member of the city's Community Development Cooperation, gave a presentation on the public's perceived image of the Koka Ninja. In a survey he carried out that involved over 700 people, 57% said that Iga was definitely the homeland of the ninja and only 14% said that Koka was the original homeland. The survey also showed that more than 30% of the people think of the Koka ninja as "evil". He cited the way the Koka ninja were portrayed in the mass media, animations and video games in the 1980s as the background. He analyzed that the generation that encountered these works was heavily influenced by the pattern of depicting Koka as the enemy of Iga. On the other hand, there was also a difference in opinion based on age groups, with those in their 30s and younger, who are familiar with the ninja comic manga "Naruto" and other works, tending not to have a specific image of the Koka ninja as they do not appear in the work.
The keynote speaker was Professor Michifumi Isoda, of the International Research Center for Japanese Studies, who has been conducting historical research on the shinobi of Koka City. He introduced the world to the historical reality of the ninja who served the Owari clan during the Edo period. This was revealed through old documents found at the home of a descendant of a Koka shinobi. He explained that they were paid an allowance by the Owari clan and often held sideline jobs as yamabushi. Records show that they were upper class peasants in rank and were valued from the Warring States period (1467-1615) through the Edo period (1615-1868).
But how did their image get associated with evil and the enemy of Iga?
I think the answer lies in history. In the handwritten makimono for the Togakure Ryu by Takamatsu Sensei, he says that tradition states that the shinobi before the Eisho period in the early 1500's were not known by the Iga Ryu or the Koka Ryu, or by any other ryu's name. Ninjutsu was just ninjutsu and it was passed on in secret. They were simply warriors who lived in Iga and Koka. Both groups were loyal brothers in arms to the imperial court. But during the Eisho period the warriors of Koka sided with Ashikaga Yoshitsune when he went to Omi no Kuni to kill Yoshizumi. The warriors of Iga did not side with Ashikaga and for that reason it naturally caused friction and tension between the two regions. From this time on they were clearly separated into the Iga Ryu and the Koka Ryu.
Could it be the remnants of this discord from the Middle Ages that has led to the image of the Koka ninja as the "bad guys"?
Evil evil Koka Ninja!!!
導冬Dōtō – Winter Guide
Bujinkan Kokusai Renkoumyo
(Iga Ryu LOL)
Shared from a Facebook post on his personal account. He also has a blog on his dojo's website, BKRBudo.com
Shane Sensei is a licensed Shidoshi in the Bujinkan and member of the Shidoshi-Kai. He has trained in the Bujinkan since 1998 and regularly travels to Japan for training.