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Pure Heart: Ninjutsu Chronicle

Japanese Title:

清心 ~ 忍術年代記


Historical drama, semi-fiction, ninja, war, family saga, folklore, martial arts

Starting Date

October 2008 - November 2009 (hiatus); 2011 - 2018 (Hiatus)

Stories Completed


The Kanji symbols for Iga (above) and Koga (below)

Pure Heart: Ninjutsu Chronicle (清心 ~ 忍術年代記, seishin: ninjutsu nendaiki), also called Seishin Series (清心シリーズ) and Seishin Ninpōchō (清心 忍法帖), is a Japanese historical fiction (a Jidaigeki) and family saga (家サーガ) series authored by MGW. It began in October 2008, and then was put on hiatus on November 3rd, 2009. Before the hiatus, five chapters were made. In 2010, it was decided that Seishin will be an anthology series.


Inspired by Japanese history and the author of the Ninpōchō series Futaro Yamada (山田 風太郎), MGW wanted to develop a long series depicting ninja contrary to their superhuman image from media. She diligently researched ninja, but some information turned out to be scarce or unclear. Initially, MGW wanted to turn down the use of magic or paranormal influences in the story, but instead decided to feature Shinto spirits and inhuman abilities at a limited level. Furthermore, she wanted to form a large ensemble cast and, for the first time, she also wanted to include strong violence, sexual content such as shudō and prostitution, and other mature themes.

In 2013, MGW made it her goal to shoot for "108 stories", the number having a wide symbolism in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism. The stories are mostly vignettes.

About the title

While planning the series, MGW had various ideas for the title. At first, she wanted to use the Japanese words for "chronicle" or "annal" (年代記; nendaiki) and "whirlwind" (旋風 ; tsumujikaze). However, once deciding the story's purpose of creating a deeper image of ninja, MGW wanted to use the word "heart" by all means. She was also inspired by the word "ishindenshin" (以心伝心), which means "tacit understanding" or "empathy".

The first full title was "Intrepid Heart". The word "seishin" plays an important role to the development of the characters. Seishin (正心 OR 精神) means "the right heart" or "spirit"; but in the title, the two Kanji letters are changed to mean "pure" or "cleansed" (清; sei), and "heart" (心; shin; it also means core/spirit). The entire idea comes from the Bansenshukai (萬川集海), which is said to be the core text of ninja principles.[1]. It is used to deeply evaluate a person's thoughts. Thus, Seishin series or "Pure heart" (清心シリーズ).

Another name thought of is Gōketsuninden (豪傑忍伝) or Chronicles of the Great Shinobi. Ninpocho, or "Ninja Scrolls" is from Futaro Yamada's own works, which in part inspired MGW to do the series. Also Seishinden (清心伝) or "Seishincho" (清心帖).


MGW's initial plan was to make Seishin a novel with at least ninety or one-hundred chapters. The first design had five chapters set in the year of 1565 (Eiroku 8), but MGW was unsure on how the story would develop. She wanted to cover a few historical events, with the Iga Tenshō no Ran being one of the most important. MGW was not pleased with the results, put the story on hiatus, and undertook to further research.

There was also the trouble with character backgrounds and keeping history, fiction and non-fiction, as tenacious as possible. To make things more comfortable for herself and to avoid confusion, she thought of producing sketch stories and flash fiction to promote her novel-turned series. This way, instead of going in order, various readers can read about the characters during different timelines and events.

Synopsis & Setting

Main article: Setting of Seishin
Main article: Timeline of Pure Heart: Ninjutsu Chronicle
Main article: Aptitude Measurements in Seishin

Pure Heart is a collection of stories that include popular figures from both Japanese folklore and Japanese history. The stories are often set in the Warring States Era and expand through many years, as ninja became beneficial tools for infiltration and espionage. Most stories start with a very short introduction, like an epigraph, describing the main character or main setting. This is referred to as a "Scroll", written as if it were told by another character.

The Iga Ninja and the Koga Ninja are the most popular shinobi schools, both residing in the Iga Province (present day Mie Prefecture and Omi Province respectively. Another school is the Fūma ninja of the Ashigara Mountain pass in Sagami Province.

Stories and Characters

Main article: List of Seishin Stories and Chapters
Main article: Characters of Seishin
Main article: List of Seishin Groups

Seishin covers a variety of familiar events within Japanese history, or incidents with a large cast of characters both historical and original. Long-living Genealogies and organizations are also included.


See also

External Links


Setting/Timeline Stories | Setting of Seishin | Timeline | Conflicts | Warring States Period | Pre-Modern Terms
Characters / Groups Families and Organizations | Character List | Jōnin Three Houses | Sanada Ten Braves | Oniwabanshū | Iga Ninja | Koga Ninja
Items and Interests Iga vs Koga | Aptitude | Three Great Books of Ninjutsu | Tatsukawa Book Collection | Ninjatō

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