known as the silent warriors, are shrouded in mystery. Many false ideas and myths have arisen from lack of knowledge of ninja history, “peer into the murky shadows of ninja history, separate fact from fiction”. Are ninja the subjects of supernatural suspicion, or is there truth behind the mask?
myths about the ninja were that they were “7 feet
tall, able to fly, Able to become invisible, able to walk through walls, Shape shifters, three-headed, and Ghosts”.
In the past due to the secretive and deceptive ways of the ninja, historians left out the evidence of the ninja in many documents. If
written about, they were merely portrayed as terrifying supernatural beings, or described with contempt and disgust.
“The actual term ninja derived from the word shinobi, an alternate reading of
the Japanese character for nin; Which Literally, means
one who is concealed, or one that endures’”. “The first
recorded appearance of ninja activity dates from about the mid-10th
century in Japanese history”. “The Japanese legend of Prince Yamato is often considered the first ninja story… he
used deception, dressing as a woman to attract two barbarian chieftains. When the chieftains had been lulled into a false
sense of security, Yamato drew a hidden sword and killed them both”. In an affair of the successor of prince Yamato; a man was clutched
by the collar, dragged out, and slew with a sword. These
are examples of “the primary role of the ninja, and the one for which they
are most well known and feared, was that of an assassin”
regions of Iga and Koga in Japan
are considered by many to be the birthplace of the ninja as a major force in Japanese
warfare” (Howstuffworks.com). There the
ninja would work for hire; “their skill demanded high prices”
(Perry). “Almost all famous daimyo [which are
feudal lords] had ninja, or a ninja-like
group under his control and they served as their eyes and ears, sometimes as their hands. Some daimyo were reportedly ninja themselves”
Unlike the samurai,
who lived by a code of honor, ninja conducted missions free from restraint of such
morals. They worked for whoever paid them the most. It wasn’t uncommon
for the ninja to work for a clan that they were assigned to attack years before. This disloyalty became a trademark of the ninja.
“It is popularly believed that the ancient ninja were
peasants, who were forbidden under law from studying the samurai swordplay techniques
because of a restrictive caste structure. However, most ninja were also samurai,
operating as spies in the service of their daimyo”.
in Japanese history ninja lived in villages which appeared normal; however traps,
fake walls, trap doors, and secret passageways protected their houses. Getting
into a ninja’s home was no easy task.
In most ninja homes there were also special floor boards that were meant
to squeak, signaling an intruder had entered the house.
Ninpo means “laws of ninja”. “The severest crime
is leaving a ninja family without authorization and never coming back. He or she
would be called nukenin and his or her family members would be tasked to bring
him back, dead or alive” . The ways of the ninja
were secret and sacred. Often the skills were passed down from father to son.
Not just anyone could become a ninja; it was rare for anyone who wasn’t of
a ninja descent to be taught the secrets of the clan. Every clan had their own
secrets and style of ninjutsu. Even
other ninja couldn’t be told. During
missions if a ninja were caught, he would kill himself rather than divulge any
information. Such secrecy kept the nature of ninja in the dark, making researchers
documents on the ninja detailed in haze.