Who hasn’t wanted to be a ninja at some point in their lives?
We all know that ninjas are incredibly cool, but did you ever stop to wonder if they might still be around today? Are there still ninjas hiding in the shadows, waiting to spring into action at a moment’s notice?
A ninja is a covert agent or mercenary in Japan. The functions of the ninja included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, and assassination. Their covert methods of waging irregular warfare were deemed “dishonorable” and “beneath” the samurai-caste, who observed strict rules about honor and combat. Ninjas operated in small groups that were highly trained in unauthorized killing.
Ninja vs. Samurai
Ninjas were actually considered to be lower than samurai in the Japanese caste system. This is because samurai fought openly and with honor while ninjas used underhanded tactics like poisoning, sneaking around at night, and hiding in shadows. However, both samurai and ninjas did engage in combat and often times they were fighting each other!
The main difference between the two warrior groups was that ninjas were mercenaries while samurai served a lord or daimyo. Samurai had to abide by a strict code of conduct known as bushido which defined their behavior both on and off the battlefield. Bushido translated roughly to “the way of the warrior” and it put great emphasis on concepts such as courage, honesty, loyalty, and reverence. In contrast, ninjas had no such code to live by which is part of what made them so dangerous.
Not much is known about ninjas since they preferred to stay hidden from history. But we do know that they were fierce warriors who employed cunning tactics to defeat their enemies.
Do Ninja’s exist today?
It’s a question that has baffled historians and other experts for centuries.
Seriously though, the jury is still out on whether or not ninjas are still around today. There are certainly those who believe ninja clans are alive and well, carrying out secret missions for the highest bidder. There are the skeptics, who say that ninjas are like like unicorns and bigfoot and are nothing more than mythical creatures.
Unfortunately, we may never know for sure. But it sure is fun to speculate!