Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ninja Facts

I still love ninjas. I grew up where at least half of my buddies dressed up like a ninja for Halloween every year. Maybe it's the mystery, or perhaps the awesome weapons that makes ninjas so cool. For me, it's their butt-kicking abilities that I admire.

But there's so many ninja myths out there propagated by Hollywood, especially by cheesy ninja movies (which we'll get to later).  So what's the truth about ninjas?  Did ninjas actually even exist?

Here are some interesting ninja facts:

1) Ninjas DID exist, but the time period is hazy. Most agree they emerged by at least the 14th century. Ninja, or "shinobi," were excellent spies and assassins. They were mercenaries, a natural foil for the Japanese elite samurai class. In fact, many ninjas were disgraced samurais. The samurai nobles also employed ninjas to do their dirty work.

2) Ninjas didn't wear black. They wore navy blue at night. But they were masters of camouflage. They worked to blend in. They dressed as peasants and other normal people. That makes sense, since sneaking around town in an all black uniform would make you look silly AND easy to spot.

3) Ninjas didn't wear masks. This is not to say that they didn't wear them. But it really wasn't a part of the uniform. Not like it's depicted in the movies, anyway.  Again, you go around wearing a mask, you're just going to draw attention to yourself.

4) Women were ninjas too. They were called kenoichi. And they often dressed as servants or concubines to infiltrate an enemy's estate. Women were mostly used as spies, but they could kick some ass when needed.

5) They didn't throw "Chinese stars." First of all, ninjas are from Japan. Second of all, these shuriken were used mostly for slashing and distraction. Ninjas were very good at disappearing and escaping. They would throw the shuriken in order to throw off an opponent.

And for fun, I bring you a great scene from the cheesiest ninja movie ever, Ninja: Silent Assassin. The best part...the fact the ninjas wear headbands that say "ninja" on them. I especially love how doing a disco move makes your ninja uniform suddenly appear on your body.

14 comments:

Tiyana, aka "Yoyo" said...

This is awesome! Quite interesting. (That YouTube video had me rollin'.)

Do you happen know of any good movies that feature kenoichi spies? :D

Riann Colton said...

Cool info, Jay. Much thanks. Some of this I kinda needed to know. Not that I have ninjas running amok in my story but weaponry wise...

Wait...according to the music...Crockett & Tubbs are ninjas. How did I miss that growing up?

Jay Noel said...

Tiyana, Kunoichi: Lady Ninja is a good period piece. American Ninja 3 also has a female ninja - but the movie is pretty campy.

Riann, I was hoping someone would notice how this movie ripped off the Miami Vice theme!

Laura Eno said...

OMG...I'm glad that clip was short! Too funny!

Mark Andrew Edwards said...

What brought up ninjas? :) I was always drawn to the mystery of them. The physical feats from reality were always stunning enough without the goofy ninja magic. They were hard, bad people in a hard, bad time.

The 'Tales of the Otori' series by Lian Hern have a lot of fictional, fantasy ninja's too. Including some female ninjas that kick ass (and a main character I hated so much that I'm considering just giving the frelling books away). If you can deal with the MC, they might appeal.

Jay Noel said...

Laura, I love that clip. It's so awful, it's great.

Mark, My current WIP features a ninja. Tales of the Otori...hmmm...I'm going to look that up. Thanks!

Phats said...

Pretty cool post, my JH tennis kids play a game while waiting for the bus called Ninja it's quite interesting.

What do you think about the Open? Serena looks really good, and Roddick let his mouth get him in trouble again. I think my new fav player is Andrea Petkovic though she does an awesome dance after she wins haha :)

amauryons said...

Very interesting facts shared by you. Good post sharing. Thanks.

Watch Movies Online

Jay Noel said...

Phats,

Does the game involve chopping up vegetables? Oh wait, that's Veggie Samurai!

I'm liking "The Djoker" and Serena. They both look good and primed to win the Open.

Anonymous said...

So i am going to be giving a "ninja" demo and i am kind of lost on what facts and things to do any ideas?

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