December 5th is International Ninja Day.
Espionage, Assassination, Guerrilla warfare, and sabotage, these are the skills of the ninja. Clad in their signature black, they appear from the depths of the night like a hawk on stolen wings, striking their quarry and disappearing again without leaving a trace. They are rumored to be the masters of Kuji-Kiri, an eastern magical practice that made them capable of combining their natural ability to move like ghosts with supernatural powers. International Ninja Day is dedicated to remembering and honoring these ancient warriors of China and Japan.
To truly understand the history of International Ninja Day, one must first understand the history of the Ninja. The original Ninja were warriors of the Iga Province of Japan during the Sengoku period. These warriors were raised from the basic people of the countryside, without access to proper armor, weapons, or training to use them.
This is why so many of the weapons of the Ninja are drawn from agricultural roots, such as the Kunai and sickles, they were also weapons that disguised themselves. No sir, no infiltration-focused assassin here, just a humble farmer working his fields.
The “traditional” black clothing of the ninja actually came about as a result of how Ninja was represented in theater. Being the everyday people of their province, they were invisible to the ruling class. You could not identify them by clothing or weapons, banner or nationality, they were the people of their country and therefore invisible.
In Theater this was represented by the stagehands playing the part of the Ninjas, they wore black clothes that covered them from head to toe, and made them invisible against the black background of the stage. Also, those who frequented the theater were used to the presence of these stage-hands, and their sudden inclusion in the play came as a shock.
FIVE AMAZING FACTS ABOUT REAL NINJAS
The first of his kind
The very first historically confirmed ninja was Otomono Sahiti, who worked as a spy under Japanese Prince Shotoku.
From the stories of old
In Japanese mythology, the first ninja was descended from the spirits and appeared as a half-man, half-crow.
“Those who cannot…”
In the year 1162, Japan’s first ninja school was founded when a fallen samurai decided not to kill himself as custom would dictate, but rather to spend his retirement teaching.
Last of a dying breed
According to Smithsonian’s research, an engineer named Jinichi Kawakami is likely the last living ninja and one who complains about teaching that students cannot try out murders or poisons.
Passed down through generations
Not unlike other tradesmen of their era, ninjas would pass their skills (in this case martial and espionage knowledge and methods) down to their sons and daughters, who would, in turn, teach their children, on down through time.