Download: 12 Deadly Ninja Facts

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A dangerous network of secret spies.
12 Deadly Ninja Facts
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1. Ninjas often did not wear black.

When they wanted to engage in stealth they wore dark blue. Wearing black makes you appear more as a silhouette, and more noticeable.

They often wore chain armor beneath their cloths, which gave people the idea that they were daemons, and couldn't be killed by a sword thrust.

2. Iga and Koka are where most ninja were born. Often the ninja was born into it through the family system under Japanese feudalism.

A charming and fairly remote area of rolling hills, forests, valleys, streams, and rice paddies.

3. Ninja comes originally from the Chinese and is a vague Japanese pronunciation for "one who endures."

Shinobi remains the Japanese way of talking about them, the Chinese speak of them in a higher-status or ninja.

4. Most of the time a ninja would look like everyone else.

They had day jobs, cover stories and a whole false life to keep them from looking suspicious.

Monks, peasants, farmers, blacksmiths, dancers, performers... ninja could be anyone!

5. Secretiveness was something the samurai pretended to despise, but in fact the ninja were vital to military activity.

And quite often the samurai doubled as ninja during the night.

6. Ninja wanted what was called "right-mindedness, or Shugendo, which is really mountain asceticism.

It demanded that you undertake training in the mountains and along the streams to hone your body and mind until you are absolutely fit enough to carry out ninja activities.

There were no martial arts involved, but clearly if you can survive sitting under waterfalls or walking many miles in forests in extreme adversity, it helps you in your training to be a fighting spy.

7. Ninja used shuriken, or small throwing stars, as a distraction to ward off a purser, or thrown at the ground to be stepped on.

8. Ninja also carried a sword, called the ninja-to, as well as whatever tools like climbing spikes, brass knuckles, daggers or garrotes.

Ninja were also some of the first snipers, using guns, explosives and precision archery when necessary to kill from a distance, or to set a home on fire as a way to create panic and sow chaos.

9. Ninjas were often a spy network, like the CIA, spying and passing along information through handlers, making them look omnipotent.

Often they were not deadly assassins, but rather spies; direct bloody conflict could blow their spy operation.

10. In the Edo period, about 100 years after ninjas just weren't a thing in Japan anymore, playwrights were looking for a good trick to show off how sneaky the ninja was.

Audiences had already been conditioned to ignore stage hands, who wore all black. So the idea was that a ninja would simply look like a stage hand.

Thus when you realized he was part of the play and not just moving the background, it came as a complete surprise.

11. The idea of the ninja was most likely modernly popularized by You Only Live Twice, the James bond movie who featured ninjas.

The idea of the art of invisibility, or how to disappear like a ninja has been mostly made up since 1945.

12. Ninjas died out when Japan was unified by the great warlord Odo Nobunaga.

There were two great invasions of Iga and Koka which finally ended in the late 16th century with the complete takeover and the end of the ninja.

13. They had to have the correct attitude in order to undertake what they did in defense of their villages, their masters and themselves.

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12 Deadly Ninja Facts