Ninja 忍者 (Mercenaries of Feudal Japan)
“Ninja” [忍者/にんじゃ] is one of the famous things that westerners associate with Japan. They are depicted in many folklore, anime, pop-culture and more and for many people in the western hemisphere, they are the first thing to think about and they can connect to Japanese history.
“Ninja” means people who are hiding or in disguise. The role of “Ninja” is secret agents or assassins hired by feudal lords. They were lived in secluded mountain villages and received special training. Some of them were mercenaries, but usually they were organized in schools or clans.
There used to be more than 70 groups of ninjas in Japan. The most famous groups are called “Iga” and “Koga” schools. However, they disappeared gradually in Edo period. Because Japan became peaceful country under the Tokugawa shogunate government after the decisive battle of Sekigahara in 1600.
Nowadays, there are many movies and animes, fight with enemies using weapons such as “Shuriken”, “Kunai” and “Sickle and Chains”. And also they are using Ninjutsu (忍術) such as vanishing into thin air and walking on water. They were also able to infiltrate and climb castles with special gear, and were overall physically trained in martial arts, which made them a huge threat in close combat. Nonetheless they did only kill when necessary and as silent as possible. This is why they were the “shadows” in the history prior to the Edo-Period.
Ninja also have a big influence in Pop-Cultures nowadays. Several games feature them, such as Mortal Kombat and the classic Ninja Gaiden [NES]. Naruto, which you can see below is the protagonist of one of the most internationally famous, to date finished Anime and Mangaseries and many people find interests in Ninja culture, because of it.
“Naruto” All Rights reserved :Shueisha & Masashi Kishimoto
There is a interesting “Ninja Trick House” in Shinjuku, Tokyo.
You can throw “Shuriken”, touch the ninja sword and so on.
If you have a chance, please visit it.
Also you can make “Shuriken” by using origami, so we introduce the method by movies!!