This historically grounded manga follows the ninja Nagata Saburo as he teaches his son, Hisaaki, the weapons, secret tactics, and values of the ninja. Based on the real-life writings of the famous ninja Hattori Hanzo, Secrets of the Ninja combines a familiar coming-of-age story with a historically accurate background of political intrigue and Sengoku-period Japanese culture. As Hisaaki grows from boy to man, Wilson skillfully interweaves real lessons, weapons, and skills used by ninja in feudal Japan, depicted with detail by artist Akiko Shimojima.
All of the tactics Saburo teaches to his son are drawn from the Shinobi Hiden, the most famous of the "ninja scrolls" written by Hattori Hanzo, general to the warlord Tokugawa Ieyasu and one of the most famous warriors in Japan. These scrolls provided practical instruction for professional ninja, but they also provide insightful theories of social relationships and human interaction, studying the nature of deception, falsehood, and self-protection. An extensive supplementary section written by Antony Cummins provides fascinating details on these scrolls and their practical lessons. Accessible, insightful, and exciting, Secrets of the Ninja is the perfect introduction to the world of samurai and shinobi warfare.
In 2017 Secrets of the Ninja won an International Manga Award from the Japanese government - Sean Michael Wilson is the first British person to receive this award.