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Fūma Kotarō (Fifth)
Kotaro Fuma (NAS)
Born Unknown date

Sagami Province

Died 1603

Edo

Commands held Rappa of the Hōjō clan

Fūma Kotarō (風魔 小太郎?) was the name adopted by the leader of the ninja Fūma clan (風魔一党 Fūma-ittō?) during the Sengoku era of Japan. According to some records, his name was originally Kazama (風間).

The Fūma clan and Fūma Kotarō[edit]Edit

The clan was based in Kanagawa Prefecture, specializing in horsebackguerrilla warfare and naval espionage. According to some sources, the family has roots in the 10th century when they served Taira no Masakado in his revolt against the Kyoto government. The use of the name started with the first leader (jonin) of the clan: originally surnamed "風間" (Fūma), with a different kanji, it was later changed to homophone 風魔. Each subsequent leader of the school adopted the same name as its founder, making it difficult to identify them individually. This school was in the service of the Hōjō clan of Odawara.

Fūma Kotarō was the fifth and the best known of the Fūma clan leaders. Born in Sagami Province (modern Kanagawa Prefecture) on an unknown date, he became notorious as the leader of a band of 200 Rappa "battle disrupters",[3] divided into four groups: brigands, pirates, burglars and thieves. Kotarō served under Hōjō Ujimasa and Hōjō Ujinao. His biggest achievement came in 1580, when the Fūma ninja covertly infiltrated and attacked a camp of the Takeda clan forces under Takeda Katsuyori at night, succeeding in causing severe chaos in the camp, which resulted in mass fratricide among the disoriented enemies.[4] In 1590, Toyotomi Hideyoshi laid siege to Odawara Castle, which eventually fell, and the Hōjō clan was forced to surrender.

When the Tokugawa shogunate came to power, the remnants of Fūma-ryū were reduced to a band of brigands operating in and around Edo. A popular story says that in 1596, Kotarō was responsible for the death of Hattori Hanzō, a famous ninja in the service of Tokugawa Ieyasu, who had tracked him down in the Inland Sea, but Kotarō has succeeded in luring him into a small channel, where a tide trapped the Tokugawa gunboats and his men then set fire to the channel with oil. Kotarō was eventually caught by the shogunate's special law-enforcement force, guided by his rival and a former Takeda ninja Kosaka Jinnai (高坂甚内), and executed through beheading by an order of Ieyasu in 1603.

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