By Staff Sgt. Jamie Witt
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
CAMP IMAZU, Japan (11/7/12) - Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team out of Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, along with Japanese Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) members watched in awe as performers demonstrated the weaponry and skill of ninjas during a presentation on Nov. 5 at Camp Imazu, Japan. The show was part of the first of two culture days, an important part of Orient Shield 12.
The four performers demonstrated the use of weapons including throwing stars, swords and the kusarigama, a chain and sickle combination that consists of a weight on one end of the chain and a sickle on the other. The ninjas exhibited the weapons through explanation and performance of their capabilities. Upon completion of the show, the U.S. Soldiers and JGSDF members practiced throwing stars and took photos with the performers.
Ninjas, more commonly known as shinobi in Japanese culture, hold both historic and mythical significance. The ninjas were present in feudal Japan during the 15th century, fulfilling roles such as espionage and assassination. Although there are historical records of ninjas, those facts are difficult to separate from legends and myths.
Sgt. Sidney Dodson of Arlington Heights, Ill., with the 2nd Battalion, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, was one of the audience members.
“It was awesome,” he said. “I really enjoyed getting to see them in action, especially the exploding throwing star and the rope.”
Dodson said training with another nation’s force during Orient Shield was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, especially because he was working as an interpreter.
“I never did this kind of job before coming here,” he said. “It just blew my mind. It was an honor.”
Orient Shield is a field training exercise designed to enhance interoperability between U.S. and Japanese units at the lowest level, emphasizing combat readiness of both forces while strengthening their relationship. Orient Shield 12 is slated to end Nov. 7.