The Koka ,or Koga, province had a strong independence like Iga in the middle ages but the form of the organization in Koka was in contrast to that of Iga. Koka's organization has social mobility. In Koka, members often came in and out of the community because of the location of Koka. The land of Koka is comparatively plane and Koka is close to Kyoto (京都) and Oumi (近江) which represented the capital of Japan and a famous commercial city. As many types of people and information came in and out of Koka, many shinobi left the province in order to get fame outside of Koka. The structure of Koka's organization was much looser than that of Iga.
The Iga and Koka clans often cooperated with each other, performed missions together and exchanged information. Although the Koka's traditions included ritual magic and spirituality more than Iga's traditions.
Koka had lords called the Rokkaku-family (六角氏) who were Daimyos (大名). Koka signed a treaty with the Rokkaku-Family which states that as long as the Rokkaku Family doesn't interfere with Koka, the Koka-mono would cooperate with the Rokkaku-family when wars broke out.
Legend has it that at the Rebellion of Tairano, a military commander named Mochizuki, raised his exploits and he was given this land from the Imperial Court (朝廷). The Mochizuki family has governed Koka ever since. During that time, there were many Shugendo pracitioners called Yamabushis (山伏) in Koka. According to legend, it is said that the beginning of the relationship between the shinobi and the Mochizuki-family started when a man from the Mochizuki family called Iechika was taught shinobi no jutsu by a shinobi living in Koka. Since then, the Mochizuki-family became the leaders of Koka.
Eastern Medicine Edit
The Koka-mono were quite knowledgeable when it comes to medicine. Medicine and poison are two sides of the same coin. Every medicine is a poison depending on the dosage. Many herbs grow in Koka there so people can get the ingredients for potions so easily. There are lots of Yamabushis (山伏) in Koka and they can be regarded as the forefathers of shinobi. It is said that Yamabushis made their living peddling medicine. Koka-mono utilized medicine for various purposes. They had herbal mixtures which put an enemy to sleep, herbs which kept themselves awake and potions which made their enemies fall into a frenzied state.
Guerrilla Warfare Edit
Koka gained its fame at the battle of Magari-no-Jin (鈎の陣),1487. Their master Rokkaku Takayori confronted Shogun Ashikaga Yoshihisa (足利義尚). Takayori became the enemy of Yoshihisa because he took hold of territories around shrines and temples by continuing the Onin War (応仁の乱).
When Yoshihisa's force came close to Takayori's castle, Takayori ran away into mountains with his army. The army chased after Takayori while Koka-mono held them back. When Yoshihisha's army assaulted the shinobi on a peak, the shinobi hid themselves under the valley, and when the force attacked the valley, the shinobi returned to the peak. Yoshihisa's army was exhausted and the shinobi repeatedly made surprise night raids. The shinobi delivered a fatal blow to Shogun-Yoshihisa and his army. Even after this war, the Rokkaku-family were raided by another Shogun and the Daimyo Oda Nobunaga (織田信長) many times, and each time, the Koka-mono saved the Rokkaku-family.
The Koka-mono specialized in offensive and defensive castle tactics and were hired under Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川家康) who would be the first shogun of the Edo-shogunate (江戸幕府). When Ieyasu had difficulty raiding a hostile castle, shinobi would perform surprise raids, thin enemy ranks and cause chaos by setting fires. After the war ended, Ieyasu gave a testimonial to Koka-mono and gave them the role of protecting Edo-castle (江戸城). The watchman-group became the Koka hundred Corps (甲賀百人組) ".
Koka's Shinobi Decline Edit
After the Warring States period the peaceful Edo-period came to Japan. Among all the Koka-mono, those who could share in glory were few. Some became lower Samurai, fire works experts or herbalists while the others got the very bottom jobs which did not belong to any regular social class. In 1637, The Shimabara Rebellion occurred in Kyusyu. It was brought about by poor christian farmers. Their leader was Amakusa Shiro aged only 16 years old. Shougun Tokugawa, Iemitsu (徳川家光) offered Koka-mono the opportunity to end the revolt but they were unsuccessful. Almost all Koka-mono at that time were already beyond manhood. The time of the shinobi had already gone thus, Koka-mono faded out of Japanese history.