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The Kouga Ninja Scrolls

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  164 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews

To resolve a clash over succession, the shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa has devised the ultimate contest. Two rival ninja clans, the Kouga and the Iga, will meet in a battle to the death. The victor will rule Japan for the next thousand years. But in the midst of this bloody war, an unlikely romance blooms b
Paperback, 311 pages
Published December 26th 2006 by Del Rey
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Apr 08, 2012 rated it liked it
When I first picked up The Kouga Ninja Scrolls (and read the blurb), I was like "Romeo & Juliet written in ninja style?" Oh...

My reaction Dis Bettahz be Badazz :

But then in the blink of an eye, I checked it out from the library.
Expectation level: Quite High.

You can't blame me; after all, the cover claims:
"For the first time in English, the classic
bestselling novel that inspired the manga Basilisk
and the film Shinobi: Heart Under Blad "

First off, the translation is not bad. Readable.

@ -Be
Nek0 Neha (BiblioNyan)
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: japanese-lit
This book had a lot of potential to be one badass piece of literature. I'm not sure if it was the translation that made this such an atrocious reading experience, or if it was originally written to be this appalling. But whatever the case, as it stands, I do not recommend the English translated version of this novel.

When I first started this, I was fascinated because it explored how Tokugawa Ieyasu felt about having his son killed to move forward politically. We were able to get a glimpse into h
Apr 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
My reason for reading this was that The Kouga Ninja Scrolls is a classic and I've always been into ninjas and Japan. Everything started with this book and in this case I mean the movies and the manga Basilisk for example. It was also fascinating that this was written already in 1958 and we got the English translation way much later in 2006. Sadly so I must say that the years have eaten most of this book's value in many ways.

There's hardly any plot, well, it's just Kouga and Iga ninjas killing on
Feb 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, adult, ninjas
I got this through Interlibrary Loan because I've read that two of my favorite anime----Ninja Scroll and Basilisk----are both influenced by this book. I went in expecting a Romeo & Juliet style conflict with a lot of courtly intrique and politics. While it certainly has all of that, this book is a lot more Ninja-riffic than I expected. While I wouldn't say each every idea of the anime comes from the book, a lot of it does, including the crazy ninja magic. Considering this was written back in ...more
Mar 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Written in the 50s by an ex-medical student, the pulpy Kouga Ninpou Chou novel is the grandfather of Naruto and the modern image of ninja fighting each other with special powers.

The novel was made into a manga by Segawa Masaki, and that was turned into an anime by Gonzo. Yamada Futaro went on to write a whole series of Ninpou Chou novels.

The story itself is full of tension and reversals; there are odd moments where Yamada's medical background comes to the fore. I prefer the anime version for bri
Tzu-Mainn Chen
Mar 09, 2017 rated it liked it
I picked up this translated novel after learning that it was the basis of one of my favorite anime, "Basilisk". The anime was billed as "Romeo and Juliet"... but with *ninjas*, and it was everything I wanted and more. The fights were amazing, the characters had depth, and the whole thing was simply epic.

The novel does not compare well with the anime. Some of it may be the fault of the translation, which is repetitive and uses language and patterns that feel skewed towards a middle-grade audience
Eustacia Tan
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
So, this is the book that I read on the way to Chiran. Because I got this book on a whim, I didn't know what to expect. I mean, I haven't even watched Basilisk or Shinobi. All I knew, before I started reading, was that the body count of this book was pretty high. (Thanks Nicholas =.=)

That was an understatement. [MILD SPOILER ALERT] This book was gripping, fast-paced, and one of the most depressing books that I've ever read. The most accurate description I can give is (view spoiler)
Made DNA
Oct 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Written first in 1959, this Romeo and Juliet tale of forbidden love is set in feudal Japan when Ieyasu Tokugawa was making his last steps toward unifying the country.

The Iga and Kouga ninja clans have been at war for 400 years. Only a truce brokered by the famed Hanzo Hattori has kept the two clans from engaging in a bloody battle that would destroy one or both. Instead, they have been mixing the bloodlines of their most accomplished ninja for countless generations. The results are more mutant m
Nathalie Andrews
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Japanese version of Romeo and Juliet, this book delights in the strangeness and originality of the powers the author gives the ninja protagonists. He goes to some lengths to explain these powers with examples from nature, though each is uniquely grotesque. Ten ninja from Kouga are pitted against ten from Iga to decide the outcome of the shogunate succession. The book is essentially the story of how these two groups slaughter one another, but each of the characters is well-developed and compe ...more
Jan 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: favorites, owned
I really liked that this was like the Asian version of Romeo and Juliet - although it probably came before them. The world painted here is such a vivid and magical but also a dangerous one - there's a lot of violence but also beauty in nature. Life is tough for the characters, they are at war with each other and can hurt one another in the most gruesome and unimaginable ways possible, but at the heart of it, it's a love story; it's a story about choosing family and tradition and honor over your ...more
May 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Set in feudal Japan, two lovers from rival clans find their hopes of peace and unity vanishing, as their families resume a bloody 400 year old feud.

Written in 1958, this novel shows no signs of age. It's riveting, at times gruesome, but a heart-wrenching tale akin to Romeo and Juliet. This story provides a unqiue behind-the-scenes look at how these 2 lovers decided the fate of history.

Recommended for any who enjoy Japanese literature, have an interest in ninja and well-written action, or have se
Mar 20, 2011 rated it liked it
this is the novel that was the foundation for the anime basilisk. it is a good old fashioned bloody good time. the premise of the novel is that ieyasu tokugawa pits two ninja clans, the iga and the kouga, against each other in a battle of ninja powers. within the story is a romeo and juliet story as the heir of each clan falls in love with the other and plan to get married in order to help unite the two clans. it is a good read.
Brandon Smith- Scolaro
Jul 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
I love this book! I am a big fan of the anime and the weird film adaptation so I fell right into this book. only problem I had where some of the strange translation passages and the strange need to continuously repeat facts. For example every time Okoi was seen it had to be mentioned that she is Saemons sister. other than that its a great read
Feb 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2013
I wanted to like it more, but I suspect that the prose's problems were not all caused by the bad translation.

And the climax is very much of the "anti" variety.

As an outline for film/anime/manga, though, it deserves at least four stars.
Ruby Jane
Jun 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Kouga Ninja Scrolls. The descriptions of each scene, including the fight scenes, were painted so vividly through words that I felt like I'm watching it unfold right in front of me.
Imee Alfonso
Jul 08, 2014 rated it liked it
My love for anything ancient, mythological, star-cross'd themes and Japanese made me read this. Nevertheless, I liked how engaging the storyline is and how everything will turn out in the end.
Jul 27, 2010 rated it liked it
I've read Basilisk two or three times, watched the Anime many times, and Shinobi once. I'm familiar with this story. Unfortunately, this suffers from a poor translation.
Sep 07, 2008 rated it liked it
a wonderful ninja story!but with very sad ending.
Desco D'amycko
Feb 23, 2014 marked it as to-read
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Carole Wang
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Nathaniel Whitmore
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Eyzees Izzat
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Erika Leigh
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Futaro Yamada (山田 風太郎 Yamada Fūtarō?, January 4, 1922 – July 28, 2001) was the pen name of Seiya Yamada (山田 誠也 Yamada Seiya?), a Japanese novel writer, famous for his ninja stories and mystery fiction based on japanese legends. He worked in genre of historical fiction, popularizing legendary characters, ninjas and supernatural abilities in his works. Thanks to him many historical characters weren' ...more
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