Portrayed by None
|Socked By:||Sockers needed|
|Introduction:||September 11, 2005|
Public service announcement: Ninja flip out and kill people.
No, really, they do. I'm not just quoting a t-shirt here. STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM NINJA.
Ninja were first documented in Japanese literature in the fifteenth century, a period of intense warfare between rival clans battling for control of Japan. One group of ninja, known simply as The Hand, has been around for much longer. Many Japanese believe that they are just a medieval myth, a Boogeyman-like superstition. Simply mentioning the names of the supposed leaders, though, is enough to send shivers down the spine of even the most hardened politician.
on-screen: September 11, 2005
|Matsu'o Tsurayaba|| sorcerer.
PB: Tak Sakaguchi
|Noburu Hideki|| Mariko Yashida, but double-crossed her and poisoned her. He was in turn killed by the Silver Samurai.
- countless other unnamed ninja
For the first few hundred years of their existence, The Hand served as spies and assassins. But unlike most ninja, they rarely lent out their services to daimyo (feudal lords). Rather, their goal was too amass power of their own and to one day overthrow imperial rule to claim Japan as their own. So while they often secretly assisted one lord against another, they would turn on their "ally" the moment they showed an exploitable weakness, destroying said clan.
But with the significant social and political changes of the Meiji Restoration in the 1860s, The Hand had to change tactics. They became organized criminals, leaving the forests and mountains and setting up shop in small towns and farms. They often assisted the defeated followers of the Tokugawa Shogunate, and are believed to have been responsible for many of the rebellions against the Imperial Throne that ocurred during the late nineteenth century. It was during this time that The Hand first came into conflict with the Yakuza, especially the Yashida Clan that was located in and around Tokyo. The two factions have remained at war ever since.
Members of The Hand are trained in the ways of ninjutsu as well as magic that stems from a demon known only as The Beast (kemono, 獣). In Hand mythology, The Beast stands at a rank equal to Amaterasu-omi-kami, the sun goddess and progenitor of the imperial line. He is a denizen of the underworld, probably the offspring of Izanami (and therefore half-sibling to Amaterasu). His magic is almost always direct manipulation of the orderly forces of nature to release chaos, for example spontaneous combustion and transmutation.
The Hand are currently led by Matsu'o Tsurayaba, whose second-in-command (until May, 2006) was his blood brother, Noburu Hideki.
In 2009, manipulated by the Silver Samurai's spy in their midst, the Hand began seeking a way to bring their demon lord Kemono to the earthly realm. Harada leaked the existence and potential magical power of the sanshu no jingi to The Hand, knowing that mutant deaths would attract the X-Men and bring Shiro to their attention. He then leaked the possibility of using a mutant energy source to fuel the ritual, and plotted to "detonate" Shiro when The Hand summoned Kemono. However, The Hand discovered Harada's spy just before the events of Clause 16, and instead decided to abduct Walter Lawson for their failed scheme. After the discovery of Harada's spy and discovering his plan to create a disaster that would prompt the Japanese government to create a SHIELD-like group of their own, Matsu'o decided to adapt the plan for his own ends: rather than launching a mutant terrorist strike on Japanese territory, they will attack a neighboring country (China or North Korea) and expose Japan's secret plans to develop their own SHIELD/ Alpha Flight. This blatant violation of their constitution would result in severe international condemnation and possibly military retaliation by the victim country, ultimately collapsing the Japanese government and allowing The Hand to have the opportunity to pick up the pieces. The plan failed, however, when Shiro recovered his sanity enough to call in the X-Men and his friend Jean-Paul Beaubier, who managed to contain him before it was too late.