Why are female Ninja called "Kunoichi"?

I recently ordered eight DVDs from Amazon.com, CDJapan and YesAsia. Last Thursday, "Ninjaken The Naked Sword" arrived. It stars Kaede Matsushima as Murasame a Kunoichi whose assignment is to kill the Daimyo Daizen Osakabe. "Kunoichi Ninpo Cho San" starring lovely Miyuki Komatsu has been shipped... show more I recently ordered eight DVDs from Amazon.com, CDJapan and YesAsia. Last Thursday, "Ninjaken The Naked Sword" arrived. It stars Kaede Matsushima as Murasame a Kunoichi whose assignment is to kill the Daimyo Daizen Osakabe. "Kunoichi Ninpo Cho San" starring lovely Miyuki Komatsu has been shipped an e-mail tells me. I've owned "Kunoichi: Deadly Mirage" a few years. It stars pretty Miho Kiuchi as the leader of the last five Hiryu Kunoichi. I also have had "Lady Ninja Kasumi #3" a while. Marin Akizuki plays Kasumi the Kunoichi who steals a powerful scroll and is ordered to be killed by Hattori Hanzo, but the great swordsman Miyamoto comes to her rescue.
I've heard several theories about the name "Kunoichi". I studied Chinese and Japanese at San Francisco City College. I have three Japanese dictionaries. A small Random House one says "Kuno" means "Agony or Anguish", but it could be 'Ku No" . "Ku" can mean such things as "Phrase", "Agony or Pain", "District or Zone", "Ward" or the number "9" (also Kyu). "No" can mean "Field", "Brain" or a traditional "Theater", and it can be a particle meaning "At, For, In, Of, From" with inverse word order or a possessive, i.e. "Garetu no Udedokei" is "My Wristwatch" or "Wristwatch of Garrett". "Ichi" can be "Market", "Fair", "Position or Location", "Situation", "Beginning", "Best" or simply the number "1", i.e. I shop some at Ichiban (#1) in Japan Center on the second floor of the Tasamak Building or Miyako Mall. So, what do you think "Kunioichi" means literally, and what does it denote?
Update: Acies has a good answer I think, so Thumbs Up for him. A man has openings for 2 eyes, 2 ears, 2 nostrils, 1 mouth, 1 anus and 1 urethra totalling 9 ... if we don't count the navel. A female has an extra one for childbirth, so she has 10 of them. Murasame uses her 10th orifice effectively in the movie. So does Kasumi. show more Acies has a good answer I think, so Thumbs Up for him. A man has openings for 2 eyes, 2 ears, 2 nostrils, 1 mouth, 1 anus and 1 urethra totalling 9 ... if we don't count the navel. A female has an extra one for childbirth, so she has 10 of them. Murasame uses her 10th orifice effectively in the movie. So does Kasumi.
Update 2: @PJB, I have three Japanese dictionaries, two grammar books and two books about idioms, so I can provide the language studies myself without asking anyone. I seek esoteric info that concerns martial arts more than languages per se, so I think you are wrong. I have dictionaries for Japanese (3), Chinese (3), French... show more @PJB, I have three Japanese dictionaries, two grammar books and two books about idioms, so I can provide the language studies myself without asking anyone. I seek esoteric info that concerns martial arts more than languages per se, so I think you are wrong. I have dictionaries for Japanese (3), Chinese (3), French (one huge Larousse), German (1), Italian (3), Spanish (1) and Russian (2).
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