As for the ninjas, they would have come from Iga and Kōga and would have secretly walked freely in enemy castles. They observed hidden things and were considered friends. [30] « Ninja. » Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Retrieved 9 November 2022. The historicity of the armor specially designed for ninjas cannot be determined. Although portions of light armor allegedly worn by ninjas exist and date from the right time, there is no hard evidence of their use in ninja operations. Depictions of famous people who are later considered ninjas often show them in samurai armor. There were types of light and concealable armor made of kusari (chain armor) and small armor plates such as karuta that could be worn by ninjas, including Katarria (jackets) hidden with armor between layers of cloth. It is also speculated that shin guards and arms as well as metal-reinforced hoods form the ninja`s armor. [60] Explosives imported from China were known in Japan at the time of the Mongol invasions in the 13th century. [117] Later, explosives such as hand bombs and grenades were taken back by the ninja.

[100] Soft shell bombs were designed to release smoke or toxic gases, as well as fragmentation explosives filled with iron or ceramic shards. [84] The most notorious cases of assassinations involve famous historical figures. The deaths of famous people have sometimes been attributed to murder by a ninja, but the mysterious nature of these scenarios has made it difficult to prove. [14] The assassins were later often identified as ninjas, but there is no evidence as to whether any were specifically trained for this task or were simply hired thugs. In 2020, Genichi Mitsuhashi, 45, became the first student to complete the master`s program in ninja studies at Mie University. For 2 years he studied historical archives and martial arts traditions. Just like the original ninja, he was a farmer during the day and grew vegetables while studying ninja and practicing martial arts in the afternoon. [53] Mountain ascetic clothing (yamabushi) facilitated travel, as it was common and could travel freely between political boundaries. The loose robes of Buddhist priests also made it possible to conceal weapons such as the tantō. [87] Minstrel or Sarugaku outfits could have allowed the ninja to spy on enemy buildings without arousing suspicion.

Ninja stories are usually based on historical figures. For example, there are many similar stories about a daimyo challenging a ninja to prove his worth, usually by stealing his pillow or gun while sleeping. [142] Novels have been written about ninjas, such as Jiraiya Gōketsu Monogatari, which has also been adapted into a Kabuki play. Fictional characters like Sarutobi Sasuke have finally found their way into comics and television, where they enjoy the status of cultural heroes outside of their original media. Suddenly, the ninja I had been on was no longer visible. The title of ninja has sometimes been retroactively attributed to the 4th century semi-legendary prince Yamato Takeru. [19] In the kojiki, young Yamato Takeru disguised himself as a charming girl and murdered two chiefs of the Kumaso people. [20] However, these recordings take place at a very early stage in Japanese history, and are unlikely to be related to the shinobi of later narratives.

The first documented use of espionage took place during the occupation of Prince Shōtoku in the 6th century. [21] Such tactics were considered unsavory even in the early days, when, according to the 10th century shōmonki, the young spy Hasetsukabe no Koharumaru was killed for spying against the insurgent Taira no Masakado. [22] Later, the 14th century war chronicle Taiheiki contained numerous references to shinobi,[19] attributing the destruction of a castle by fire to an anonymous but « highly qualified » shinobi. [23] A ninja (忍者, Japanese pronunciation: [ɲiꜜɲdʑa]) or shinobi (忍び, [ɕinobi]) was an undercover agent or mercenary in feudal Japan. A ninja`s duties included reconnaissance, espionage, infiltration, deception, ambush, bodyguard, and their fighting skills in martial arts, including ninjutsu. [1] Their secret methods of waging irregular wars were considered dishonorable and honored to the samurai. [2] Although actual shinobi appeared as specially trained spies and mercenaries in the 15th century during the Sengoku period,[3] precursors may have existed as early as the 12th century. [4] [5] A distinction must be made between the ninjas of these regions and ordinary people or samurai who are hired as spies or mercenaries. Unlike their counterparts, the Iga and Kōga clans produced professional ninjas specially trained for their roles.

These professional ninjas were actively hired by the daimyo between 1485 and 1581,[24] until Oda Nobunaga invaded Iga Province and annihilated the organized clans.[24] [31] The survivors had to flee, some to the Kii Mountains, others arrived before Tokugawa Ieyasu, where they were well cared for. Some former members of the Iga clan, including Hattori Hanzō, later served as Tokugawa`s bodyguards.[32] [33] However, some ninjutsu books describe exactly what tactics ninjas should use to fight, and the scenarios in which a ninja might find themselves can be inferred from these tactics. For example, in the manuscript of volume 2 of Kanrin Seiyō (間林清陽), the original book of Bansenshūkai (万川集海), there are 48 points of ninja fighting techniques, how to make Makibishi from bamboo, how to make shoes that do not make sound, fighting techniques when surrounded by many enemies, Precautions when using swords at night, How to hear small noises, Kuji-Kiri, which prevents guard dogs from barking, and so on. [17] [18] Naruto, the main character of one of the world`s most popular series, which aired between 1999 and 2014, is an eccentric teenager determined to become the strongest ninja in his village. Ninjas may seem mysterious, but the origin of their name is not. The word ninja is derived from the Japanese characters nin and ja. Nin originally meant « to endure, » but over time it evolved into the expanded meanings of « hide » and « to move secretly. » In Japanese, the combined form of sha is meaning « person. » Ninjas originated in the mountains of ancient Japan as practitioners of ninjutsu, a martial art sometimes referred to as the « art of stealth » or « the art of invisibility. » They often served as military spies and were trained in disguise, obscuration, geography, meteorology, medicine, as well as the arts of combat and self-defense, which we associate with modern martial arts. Popular legends still identify them with espionage and assassinations, but modern ninjas are more likely to learn ninjutsu to improve their fitness and self-defense skills. While the image of a black-clad ninja (shinobi shōzoku) is widely used in popular media, there is no written evidence of such clothing.

[92] Instead, it was much more common for the ninja to be disguised as civilians.