A ninja (忍者, Japanese pronunciation: [ɲiꜜɲdʑa])
or shinobi (忍び, [ɕinobi])
was a covert agent
in feudal Japan
. The functions of a ninja included espionage
, and surprise attacks. Their covert methods of waging irregular warfare
were deemed dishonorable and beneath the honor of the samurai
. Though shinobi
proper, as specially trained spies and mercenaries, appeared in the 15th century during the Sengoku period
, antecedents may have existed as early as the 12th century.
In the unrest of the Sengoku period, mercenaries and spies for hire became active in Iga Province and the adjacent area around the village of Kōga, and it is from these areas that much of the knowledge regarding the ninja is drawn. Following the unification of Japan under the Tokugawa shogunate in the 17th century, the ninja faded into obscurity. A number of shinobi manuals, often based on Chinese military philosophy, were written in the 17th and 18th centuries, most notably the Bansenshukai (1676).
By the time of the Meiji Restoration (1868), shinobi had become a topic of popular imagination and mystery in Japan. Ninja figured prominently in legend and folklore, where they were associated with legendary abilities such as invisibility, walking on water and control over natural elements. As a consequence, their perception in popular culture is based more on such legends and folklore than on the covert actors of the Sengoku period. (Full article...)
Takanohana Kōji (Japanese: 貴乃花 光司, Hepburn: Takanohana Kōji, born August 12, 1972, as Kōji Hanada (花田 光司, Hanada Kōji))
is a Japanese former professional sumo
wrestler and coach. He was the 65th man in history to reach sumo's highest rank of yokozuna
, and he won 22 tournament championships between 1992 and 2001, the sixth highest total ever. The son of a popular ōzeki
ranked wrestler from the 1970s, Takanohana's rise through the ranks alongside his elder brother Wakanohana
and his rivalry with the foreign born yokozuna Akebono
saw interest in sumo and attendance at tournaments soar during the early 1990s.
Takanohana was the youngest ever to reach the top division at just 17, and he set a number of other age-related records. He had a solid but aggressive style, looking to get a right hand grip on his opponents' mawashi and move them quickly out of the ring. He won over half his bouts by a straightforward yorikiri, or force out. In his later career he suffered increasingly from injuries, and he retired in January 2003 at the age of 30. He became the head coach of Takanohana stable in 2004 and was on the board of directors of the Japan Sumo Association from 2010 until January 2018, when he was removed and demoted in the Sumo Association's hierarchy. He resigned from the Sumo Association in September 2018. (Full article...)
Lockdown (2008) was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by the Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) promotion, which took place on April 13, 2008, at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell, Massachusetts. It was the fourth under the Lockdown chronology and fourth event in the 2008 TNA PPV schedule. Eight professional wrestling matches, two of which for championships, were featured on the card. In the tradition of Lockdown events, every match took place inside a six-sided steel structure known as the Six Sides of Steel.
The main event was for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship between then-champion Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe, with the added stipulation if Joe lost he would retire from professional wrestling. Joe won the encounter, thus winning the TNA World Heavyweight Championship for the first time. Also held on the card was the 2008 Lethal Lockdown match between Team Cage and Team Tomko. Team Cage of Christian Cage, Matt Morgan, Kevin Nash, Rhino, and Sting defeated Tomko, A.J. Styles, James Storm, and Team 3D (Brother Devon and Brother Ray) of Team Tomko in the contest. Two featured bouts were scheduled on the undercard. The first was an Intergender Tag Team match pitting the team of Robert Roode and Payton Banks against the team of Booker T and Sharmell. Booker T and Sharmell were the victors in the match. The TNA X Division Championship was defended in the 2008 TNA Xscape match by Jay Lethal against Consequences Creed, Curry Man, Johnny Devine, Shark Boy, and Sonjay Dutt. Lethal won the competition to retain the championship.
Lockdown marked the fourth time the Lethal Lockdown and Xscape match formats were used by TNA. 55,000 was the reported figure of purchasers for the event by The Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Lockdown had an attendance of 5,500 people. Chris Sokol of the professional wrestling section of the Canadian Online Explorer rated the event a 6.5 out of 10, higher than the 2007 event's ranking of 5.5 out of 10 also by Sokol. (Full article...)