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HARO BORA


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BIOGRAPHY


Haro Bora was born in 1686 in Kyuno, Japan, just outside the Iga Province.

Although the details of Haro's childhood have been lost to time, his name appears in written accounts of the raid on the Iga Ueno Castle Raid in 1706., which belonged to the Todo Clan (part of the Ueno Domain). According to legend, Muza, master of the Iga Ueno Castle, had argued with the neighboring provence of Kyuno for years over the border the two provinces shared. From 1700-1704, multiple skirmishes between the two took place. In a meeting between the two factions, Muza infamously remarked that the border between Ueno and Kyuno should be easy to determine, as the women of Kyuno were "as ugly as cows." When word of this insult made its way back to the citizens of Kyuno, a small group of soldiers retaliated by wrapping kimonos around cows, powdering their faces white, and setting them loose near the Iga Ueno Castle. This of course infuriated Muza, and after a late night meeting with his council, the Todo Clan swore to launch war against the Kyuno Province the following morning.

Kyuno was no match to Iga Ueno's army, but it did have one advantage: ninja (or, more accurate, shinobi). A small team of shinobi, led by Haro Bora, infiltrated the Iga Ueno Castle late that night. Muza always slept with his sword by his side, but on this night the silent shinobi had the element of surprise on their hands. Haro Bora is credited with single-handedly scaling the castle's wall using shuko and ashiko (hand and feet spikes), squeezing through a small window, and personally slitting Muza's throat with his own sword as two other shinobi stood guard. Because of his ability to slide in and out of small places, Haro was given the nickname "Snake".

When morning arrived and Muza did not emerge from his room for his morning tea, guards quickly discovered what had happened. The Todo Clan's revenge on Kyuno was swift and devestating. Nearly the entire province was set on fire. Men, women and children were methodically slaughtered by Todo soldiers.

In an attempt to spare the lives of his children, one Kyuno farmer revealed the secret hiding place of Haro and his clan of shinobi. Soldiers quickly descended on the area (located just outside of town) and set it on fire. When the shinobi emerged from the burning building they were met with a barrage of arrows. The only man to escape the attack was Haro himself. Through a series of acrobatic flips, rolls and twists, Haro managed to avoid the surprise attack and escaped into the nearby woods, never to be seen or heard from again. It is because of his attack on the Iga Ueno Castle and his acrobatic escape that his clan of shinobi are now often referred to as the (translated) "Acrobatic Team".