Reconnaisance Methods: Ten Items

One. Know the circumstances (i.e., layout and position) concerning the enclosure and structures of the enemyユs castle. Think thoroughly about ways to enter and retreat a territory, and devise methods [for that purpose]. That is, travel to castle areas in various provinces, by taking roads that merchants use, and during an hour when it is tranquil.
Think how to find an opportunity to enter and depart a territory deceitfully.

Moreover, you should draw a map (of the territory) using creativity and all means available to you. To [further] illustrate this point, when even the roads are unknown, enter the province and its villages, and familiarize yourself with the fields and roads. [Learn] which areas are steep, which areas are wide open, and [measure] the width of roads.

Also, count the number of villages along a road from one place to another, and find out where roads lead to from a village or in a province, to the extent that you should even know about wild boar trails. You must observe and record this.

*The title and topic of this section is Senkojutsu, which, using the characters used by the author, means "dead father." It is likely that the author made a mistake and the character for ko 考in senko should be ko 行, which would then mean "preparatons," "prior to," "in advance" etc. Here, in consideration of the contenct, I took the liberty to translate Senkoto mean "reconnesaince."



Item Two

Before infiltrating, you should rest well. That is to say, for an active person, taking a rest is important for the heart, as night and noon provide the power of heaven.

Item Three

Consider the times when the moon comes out and the hour when it sets down. Infiltrate before the moon rises or after its sets down. This is an important matter concerning the moon. The shinobimono of olden days used to attach its name in front and behind jizo yakushi, and kept it hidden. In any case, for in-nin, a moonlit night is disagreeable. Consult the volume on Astronomy and Time for knowing the time when the moon rises and sets.

* At the end of the first article the author suggests to take notice of trails made by wild boars. These trails are about forty centimeters wide, and lead into bushes where wild boars live. This provides an excellent hiding place in case of an emergency. Nevertheless, this should be understood in more general terms to mean that it is important to record all possible roads, whether created by people or animals.

The second article is rather simple yet unusual. Contrary to our expectations, the author does not discuss practical methods of infiltration, rather suggests that it is important to rest well before embarking on an assignment. Body and mind conditioning, as illustrated here, is important for carrying out an assignment efficiently.

In the third article, the author points out a simple but important factor--moonlight--that has to be considered when planning night infiltration. Though a bright moon at night could be helpful for finding one's way, it is nevertheless an obstacle once the infiltrator is nearing enemy posts. In some cases, moonlight could make detection relatively easy, thus it could potentially cause the assignment to fail. The author, therefore, refers the reader to later volumes that specialize in such matters. It is interesting to see the high degree of technical preparation and attention to precision.

The reference in the third article to jizo yakushi is unclear. It is possible that this is some sort of making a talisman for protecting the shinobimono during his/her venture into enemy territory. Other explanations are possible, but it is difficult to reach a definite conclusion.