Iga Province

Some of the flavor of these tales includes the fact that Ichirō is from Iga Province. Of course, not all ninjas are (or were) from Iga; the Kōka or Kōga region is also well known for ninjutsu. In fact, the two areas together are generally considered the birthplace of ninjutsu.

As mentioned in The Lay of the Land, Iga Province is situated high in the mountains. This makes it difficult for outsiders to get into, and easy for locals to defend. Sort of like Switzerland, whose legendary neutrality is partly made possible by the fact that, being at the top of the Alps, they’re practically impossible to invade.

As a result, the people of Iga generally stick to themselves a lot. They’re not always very trusting of outsiders, and when they go outside the province, they’ll usually take note if they meet a fellow native of Iga. If an Iga-dweller sees that another one is being hassled or threatened by a non-Igan, they’ll often be willing to provide aid or support if it seems necessary.

You can see some of this in Ichirō’s tendency to occasionally note that a given clan-member is a native of Iga (if it should be the case), or his relief at returning to Iga Province every day after work. Iga means safety, a place where the populace will aid and shelter ninjas and discourage any pursuers. Beyond the province’s borders, fellow Iga-dwellers are at least people of like mind, and potential friends.