Have you really pondered whether ninjas exist?

Few parts of Japanese history have captivated and enthralled a worldwide audience as much as the ninja. The 1967 cinematic debut of James Bond’s “You Only Live Twice,” based on the popular Ian Fleming novel of the same title, cemented the ninja’s position in popular Western civilization, where it has stayed ever since. For a couple of years, it appears that ninjai have maintained a high level of international interest, appearing in dozens of movies, computer games, and most famously as motion graphics, which include four reptiles named after Italian Renaissance artists, but how accurate are these representations to what has been recognized regarding genuine warriors?

The Spirituality of the Ninja

Within the Buddhist faith, the mountains around Iga Province are considered holy. Local villages still have Buddha sculptures from the Heian period, proving that Tantric Buddhism of the Tendaischool of Buddhism was originally practiced there. The Fujibayashi and Hattori clans were two of Iga’s most famous ninja families, both of which professed Shintoism and worshipped at temples that are still alive today. The Tejikara-jinja Shrine was a place of devotion for the Fujibayashi Clan. Fujibayashi Nagato, a commander of the Iga ninjas during the 16th century, was exceptionally skilled in fire-based activities, which are remembered each year at the shrine with a fireworks celebration.

The Ninja’s Ascension and Fall

The ninja rose to prominence during the turbulent period between 1336 and 1600. In a state of perpetual conflict, ninja talents were critical for both sides, and they played an important role in the Nanbukucho Wars (1336–1392), the Onin War (the 1460s), and the Sengoku Jidai, or Warring States Period—where they supported samurai in their internal power struggles. During the Sengoku Period (1467–1568), the ninja was both a useful instrument and a destabilizing force. When warlord Oda Nobunaga became the greatest daimyo and attempted to unite Japan in 1551–1582, he saw the ninja strongholds at Iga and Koga as a threat, but despite being easily conquered and co-opted by Koga ninja troops, Nobunaga had more problems with Iga.

Are ninjas real?

Ninjas are prominent figures in today’s media. For Halloween, children start dressing as warriors. They have been the subjects of films, television shows, and literature. The term “ninja” appears in discussions involving teenage mutated turtles, kitchen appliances, and motorcycles. But if you like ninjas, you’ll be glad to hear that they were genuine. The true ninjas of the past, on the other hand, were most likely nothing like today’s version. In fact, they weren’t even referred to as ninjas! Shinobis was the old Japanese term for ninjas. The term “ninja” comes from the Chinese. It was not utilized until the twentieth century. What about the masks and all the ensembles? They are a contemporary invention. The shinobi would have dressed in regular attire to blend in wherever they went. An all-black suit would have helped them stick out from the crowd on occasions.

After the 17th century, the shinobi vanished. Legends grew up around them. People shared stories about their extraordinary skills. They said the shinobi could walk on water and be invisible. Our modern-day ninja is based on these old legends. You now understand why the actual shinobi were so distinct!