84 books like Essence of Ninjutsu

By Masaaki Hatsumi,

Here are 84 books that Essence of Ninjutsu fans have personally recommended if you like Essence of Ninjutsu. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Across the Nightingale Floor

Henry Lien Author Of Future Legend of Skate and Sword

From my list on readers seeking unique Asian fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I had a tough time finding books with characters who looked like me after moving from Taiwan to America. That’s usually bad for most kids. However, I was a hideously self-absorbed kid. Having to read about characters who didn’t look or live like me made my childhood infinitely richer. Since becoming an author, I’ve written books that draw from my heritage and lectured about East Asian storytelling at various universities and writing programs. I do this as a love letter to my own heritage but also as a thank you letter to America for sharing its culture with me. Here’s a bit of mine in return.

Henry's book list on readers seeking unique Asian fantasy

Henry Lien Why did Henry love this book?

This book, the first in the rollicking The Tales of the Otori series, has been called “Shogun meets The Lord of the Rings.” The first book centers on a young man with some special abilities who is groomed to become an assassin due to one special talent — the ability to walk silently across a special floor composed of boards that chitter like birds when stepped on, which warlords sleep in the middle of as an alarm system. The series is one of the most gripping, wildly entertaining, and moving fantasies I’ve ever read. It is proof that it is possible for an artist to come to understand a culture deeply enough to honor its spirit, even if they weren’t born into that culture.

By Lian Hearn,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Across the Nightingale Floor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The most compelling novel to have been published this year' - Amanda Craig, "Observer". In his palace at Inuyama, Lord Iida Sadamu, warlord of the Tohan clan, surveys his famous nightingale floor. Its surface sings at the tread of every human foot, and no assassin can cross it. But 16-year-old Otori Takeo, his family murdered by Iida's warriors, has the magical skills of the Tribe - preternatural hearing, invisibility, a second self - that enable him to enter the lair of the Tohan. He has love in his heart and death at his fingertips...The stunningly powerful bestseller, "Across the Nightingale…


Book cover of The Book of Five Rings

Chris Bradford Author Of The Way of the Warrior

From my list on samurais and ninjas.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a black belt martial artist and top ten bestselling children’s author with a life goal of ‘getting kids reading’. As an author, I practise what I term ‘method writing’. For my Young Samurai series, I trained in samurai swordsmanship, karate, ninjutsu, and earned my black belt in Zen Kyu Shin Taijutsu. This ensures my books are not only authentic but have the impact of a flying front kick. Hopefully, my stories will knock you out!

Chris' book list on samurais and ninjas

Chris Bradford Why did Chris love this book?

A classic of the ages and essential reading for any martial artist, The Book of Five Rings is a guide to self-discipline and learning. But you have to read between the lines, listen to the silences, and practice the way of the warrior yourself in order to get the most from it. The legendary swordmaster Miyamoto Musashi is the blueprint for Jack’s sensei and guardian Masamoto in my Young Samurai book.

By Miyamoto Musashi,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Book of Five Rings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The complete and official edition of the original Japanese text. Translated by Prof. Nabiki Imagawa and Prof. James Ashcroft in 2019 to fix all the previous mistakes present in the old public editions. This is the recommended edition for university specialists and experts in Japanese history who want the full uncensored version of The Book of 5 Rings as the samurai Miyamoto Musashi wrote it in 1645.


Book cover of Samurai William: The Adventurer Who Unlocked Japan

Chris Bradford Author Of The Way of the Warrior

From my list on samurais and ninjas.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a black belt martial artist and top ten bestselling children’s author with a life goal of ‘getting kids reading’. As an author, I practise what I term ‘method writing’. For my Young Samurai series, I trained in samurai swordsmanship, karate, ninjutsu, and earned my black belt in Zen Kyu Shin Taijutsu. This ensures my books are not only authentic but have the impact of a flying front kick. Hopefully, my stories will knock you out!

Chris' book list on samurais and ninjas

Chris Bradford Why did Chris love this book?

This historical biography reads like an adventure story. A brilliantly researched and wonderfully written book on William Adams, one of the few foreign samurai to have ever been bestowed such an honour. This figure is not only the starting point for my series (with William Adams re-imagined as a boy in Japan) but also the template for the most classic samurai novels of all time, Shogun by James Clavell. There is so much in this book by Giles Milton that I can’t recommend it highly enough!

By Giles Milton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Samurai William as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1611 an astonishing letter arrived at the East India Trading Company in London after a tortuous seven-year journey. Englishman William Adams was one of only twenty-four survivors of a fleet of ships bound for Asia, and he had washed up in the forbidden land of Japan.

The traders were even more amazed to learn that, rather than be horrified by this strange country, Adams had fallen in love with the barbaric splendour of Japan - and decided to settle. He had forged a close friendship with the ruthless Shogun, taken a Japanese wife and sired a new, mixed-race family.…


Book cover of Samurai: The World of the Warrior

Chris Bradford Author Of The Way of the Warrior

From my list on samurais and ninjas.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a black belt martial artist and top ten bestselling children’s author with a life goal of ‘getting kids reading’. As an author, I practise what I term ‘method writing’. For my Young Samurai series, I trained in samurai swordsmanship, karate, ninjutsu, and earned my black belt in Zen Kyu Shin Taijutsu. This ensures my books are not only authentic but have the impact of a flying front kick. Hopefully, my stories will knock you out!

Chris' book list on samurais and ninjas

Chris Bradford Why did Chris love this book?

Stephen Turnbull is one of the foremost authorities on the samurai and this book covers all of their military history. Beautifully illustrated and full of intriguing facts about the samurai and their world, this was my go-to book when writing the Young Samurai series. A fascinating read, this makes a beautiful gift for anyone with an interest in samurai or Japan.

By Stephen Turnbull,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Samurai as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The world of the samurai, the legendary elite warrior cult of old Japan, has long been associated solely with military history and has remained a mystery to the general reader. In this paperback edition, Stephen Turnbull, the world's leading authority on the samurai, goes beyond the battlefield to paint a picture of the samurai as they really were. This book explores the samurai within the context of an all-encompassing warrior culture that was expressed through art and poetry as much as through violence. Using themed chapters, Turnbull illuminates the samurai through their historical development and their relationship to the world…


Book cover of The Mystic Arts of the Ninja

Martin Schiller Author Of The Faceless Man

From my list on spy/detectives with strong female characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

There is an adage that urges the writer to write about what they know, and I have followed this to the letter. In addition to being an author, I have worked as a private investigator. I have also trained at two martial arts schools that specialize in Ninjutsu; Genbukan Yamato Dojo, and Bujinkan. Moreover, as a patrolman, and an ambulance driver, I have had the privilege of serving with female partners, lending me a valuable insight into the struggles that they face in otherwise male-dominated fields. But this is not all; I am also an occultist, making me familiar with things that most people would not even believe exist.😊

Martin's book list on spy/detectives with strong female characters

Martin Schiller Why did Martin love this book?

Every good book requires research, and in the case of my book, I feel that the best source for information concerning the legendary Ninja of Japan, and their shadowy Art, comes to us by way of Stephen K. Hayes, who introduced this subject to the West through his many books. The Mystic Arts of the Ninja not only showcases the weapons and the martial arts of the Ninja (which was vital in building my character, Ms. Adelaide DeMarcy) but provides a valuable insight into their mystical practices.

By Stephen Hayes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mystic Arts of the Ninja as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ninja . . . that single word conjures up images of mystery and power. The ability to move swiftly and silently, to mesmerize one's victim, to strike infallibly, and then to disappear into the night--this is the legend of the ninja. These nearly sorcerous aspects of the ninja, as well as the exotic weapons they use, are the focus of The Mystic Arts of the Ninja. Its author, Shidoshi Stephen K. Hayes, is the sole American to be granted teaching credentials by the 34th grandmaster of the Togokure School of Ninjutsu in Japan. Going beyond the basic conditioning and training…


Book cover of Real Ultimate Power

Beau Johnston Author Of Sleep with One Eye Open

From my list on books that you’re going to hell for laughing at.

Why am I passionate about this?

By now you are probably wondering why the author of a dark and violent tale set in the Zombie Apocalypse is recommending humorous books. The answer lies within the five elements of survival: Shelter, Fire, Food, Water, and Mindset. A positive mindset can get you through a lot of dark and dangerous times, and being able to find the funny in the darkness will help you maintain that mindset (especially if you are injured or scared). 

Beau's book list on books that you’re going to hell for laughing at

Beau Johnston Why did Beau love this book?

This is the sort of book I wish existed when I was a teenager. No hoity-toity “interpretation of what the author meant” required here, just childish, immature drivel. The first time I read this masterpiece I laughed so hard I nearly vomited. I had to keep closing the cover just so I could stop laughing long enough to catch my breath. Be warned, a warped sense of humor is a prerequisite for reading this gem.

By Robert Hamburger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Real Ultimate Power as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dear Stupid Idiots,

A lot of you have been saying that I don’t know anything about REAL ninjas. But that’s a bunch of bull crap! You dummies don’t know anything. And maybe YOU should get a life. I bet a lot of you have never even seen a girl naked! You idiots believe that ninjas had some “code of honor.” Yeah right! If by “code of honor,” you mean “code to flip out and go nuts for absolutely no reason at all even if it means that people might think you are totally insane or sweet,” then you are right.…


Book cover of The Battle Begins

Kit Falbo Author Of The Crafting of Chess

From my list on feeding your inner nerd.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an autistic unapologetic writing nerd who has spent most of their life using fiction and pop culture to connect better with the world. It has always been the tool, escape, and comfort for me when I feel overwhelmed. As I bite my tongue to keep from monologuing, I always strive to share, introduce, or connect with my passions. Now I use that and my degree in psychology to try to craft worlds that people can feel emotional about in my writing and poetry.

Kit's book list on feeding your inner nerd

Kit Falbo Why did Kit love this book?

Another Litrpg, Seth enters a Virtual Reality game set in a fantasy feudal Japan as the technology allows him to function better while recovering from an injury taken during a martial arts tournament. For me, the setting got me worked up. I spent a decade of my gaming life playing Legend of the Five Rings, a similarly feudal Japan-inspired game world. Clans, factions, betrayals, and samurai. It brought me back to my youth in a way that few pieces of media do. 

By Nikita Thorn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Battle Begins as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How Often Do You Get a Second Chance in Life?
Seth Kinnaman’s dream has always been to become the best fighter the world has ever seen. After spending his entire life training, he’s finally ready to test his skills in the biggest tournament on Earth where hundreds of the fiercest competitors vie for the supreme title.

In the semi-finals, Seth is getting the upper hand when his opponent uses an illegal blow to take him out. Upon waking up from a coma, Seth finds out he’s lost his sight. He’s become blind and he’s completely devastated. All his dreams are…


Book cover of The Three Ninja Pigs

Lori Degman Author Of Cock-a-Doodle-Oops!

From my list on humorous pictures in rhyme.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always written funny, rhyming poems so, when I began reading picture books to my kids, I decided to give writing one a try. I now have seven published books (six are in rhyme). I love creating humorous, alliterative stanzas – I think that’s what makes rhyming picture books so much fun to read aloud! Here's an example from my book Cock-a-Doodle Oops: “I know that I’m quiet, but I’d like to try it. Here goes said a shy little sheep. / Her cock-a-doodle baaaa didn’t travel too faaaa. In fact, she made barely a peep.” I hope you enjoy reading the books I’ve listed and other humorous, rhyming picture books!

Lori's book list on humorous pictures in rhyme

Lori Degman Why did Lori love this book?

When asked to bring his favorite book to school, I had hoped my grandson would bring one of mine, but instead he brought Three Ninja Pigs because it was his favorite! The rhyme and meter are amazing, and it’s loaded with tons of ninja-related words to add extra depth! Dan Santat’s illustrations are fantastic!

By Corey Rosen Schwartz, Dan Santat (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Three Ninja Pigs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

Practice makes perfect in this kick-butt fractured fairy tale.

Why does this wolf think he can come to town and blow all the houses down? These three little pigs just aren't going to take it from that bully anymore! The first starts aikido lessons—he'll make mincemeat out of that wolf! His brother learns a little jujitsu—he'll chop that guy to pieces!

But when the wolf actually appears, it turs out these two pigs aren't quite ready after all. Good thing their sister has been training every day to master some serious karate moves that save the day. KIYA!

Corey Rosen…


Book cover of The Ninja

Richard Doetsch Author Of The 13th Hour: Chaos

From my list on thrillers break the mold with characters and story.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an adrenaline junky—years of kitesurfing, skydiving, bungee jumping, Zero Gravity training—I have a passion for thrills and adventure, coupled with the love for my soulmate, Virginia, since we were kids, I live what I write and write what I live. Of course, I filter it all through my vivid imagination to raise the stakes and pull you in. When I look for a great book, it’s tough to get my blood flowing, to get me excited, but these books are the nearest thing to the thrill of freefalling and having your first chute fail to open (been there, done that. Thank, God for the reserve chute!). These books are truly unique, putting you on the edge of your seat and leaving you wanting more.

Richard's book list on thrillers break the mold with characters and story

Richard Doetsch Why did Richard love this book?

This was the first book I read twice. It was groundbreaking back in the ’80s. A mixture of cultures, assassins, adventure, thrills, love, sex, and passion. A huge bestseller at the time. His detail of Japanese philosophy, fighting styles, honor, and code in a modern-day world is beyond captivating.

While he went on to a huge success with dozens of bestsellers, nothing topped this. It was a lifetime of daydreaming and research that he poured out onto the page.

I read it in two days on the beach under the sun and stars. Five days later, I read it again. I couldn’t get the story out of my head.

By Eric Van Lustbader,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ninja as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this New York Times–bestselling thriller, a martial artist’s past returns to haunt him—in the form of a murderous ninja.
 
Raised in Japan by a British father and a Chinese mother, young Nicholas Linnear felt at home only in the dojo, where he gave himself over to mastering ninjutsu—the ancient art of the ninja. Over years of training, he ascended to the highest ranks imaginable—until a confrontation over the very meaning of ninjutsu changed his approach to martial arts forever, sending him on a journey that would take him across the globe.
 
Now, after years of success in the advertising…


Book cover of Mind Bullet

Iris Bolling Author Of S.I.B.s: The Society of Intellectual Beings

From my list on saving mankind from itself using fantasy elements.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Black woman who writes stories that will give readers an insight into areas of corporate and governmental politics, with a touch of reality, suspense, humor, and romance. Oh, let me add…a touch of fantasy. At times, I will mix the genres simply because that is where the story takes me. Writing is a passion; messaging is a responsibility (I aim to intrigue you!), and humor is my way of balancing the intense topic. I have a degree in Organizational Management, 30 years of working in state agencies, and a vivid imagination to share. I'm enjoying the second chapter of my life by doing what I love…writing stories that entice your mind.  

Iris' book list on saving mankind from itself using fantasy elements

Iris Bolling Why did Iris love this book?

I can appreciate an author who can inject humor into a story that is not traditionally a comedy. In Mind Bullet, we follow the life of an assassin who has the ability to kill with his mind and his artificial intelligence sidekick Bubbles (who frequently asks for a name change throughout the book). Make no mistake, there is plenty of fast-paced, action-packed scenes as Jonas tries to stay one step ahead of the ninjas (yes ninjas!) in between the funny appearances of Bubbles. The mixture of danger and humor is all-consuming as you go along for the ride. This story had me laughing while sitting on the edge of my seat. 

By Jeremy Robinson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mind Bullet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A telekinetic assassin’s quest to avenge his parents’ murders triggers an all-out war between an eccentric cast of killers, from the New York Times bestselling author of INFINITE and THE DARK.

Jonas kills people…with his mind. He reaches out, focuses for a moment, and feels a snap of pain between his eyes. Then his target falls over dead, a hole in the center of their brains. The cause of death is unknown to all aside from Jonas, and his lone companion: Bubbles, a sarcastic AI with aspirations to be more human, or a serial killer. One of the two. Maybe…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in ninjas, Samurais, and martial arts?

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