What is a Yatate?

In the book Nariko’s Map, our heroine uses her yatate to fight against opposing samurai. But a yatate is not a weapon. What exactly is a yatate?

Yatate are travel writing sets. Constructed either as a box or a metal pipe-shaped object, they contain a shaft for storing a calligraphy brush, and a compartment for ink. The ink was typically a soaked piece of cotton or a small pot with a lid.ninja-museum-yatate

In researching Nariko’s Map, I traveled to Japan to learn more about ninja and medieval history. I photographed historical yatate among the other artifacts at the ninja museum.

Literacy was rare in the time period of the book, especially among women. With intelligence, literacy, and a dose of bravery, Nariko becomes a valuable agent for the kunoichi. Her yatate is a perfect weapon to wield in a war of information and secrets.

The Beginning

All stories begin somewhere. That first mention of a character, somebody who we know nothing about. That first setting, a place where we have never been. We read on, tingly with excitement as we start to understand the way the world works and the challenges this character will face. By the time the story is complete, the stranger has become our hero, and the strange place has become our home.

We are tingly with excitement as we ready for the launch of Nariko’s Map, a historical adventure story inspired by legends of Japanese female ninja, known as the kunoichi. Nariko and the others are eager to make your acquaintance, and the dangerous world of the kunoichi harkens you to take your first curious look.