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This article refers to Japanese spies and assassins known as "Ninja". For other uses, see Ninja (disambiguation)

Ninja information in this article or section has not been verified and may not be reliable.
Please check for any inaccuracies, and modify. Ninja left no witnesses to cite as sources

Ninja (忍者?) were agents of a fourteenth century Japanese secret mercenary organization for stealth operations. They acted in feudal Japan, from Kamakura period to Edo period. Their missions included scouting, espionage, sabotage, and assassination, usually for feudal rulers (daimyo or shogun).

Verifying information about ninja is a very difficult task. The secrecy in the organization and operations makes any related subject difficult to verify; with ninja, this is further compounded by the specific circumstances of its occurrence in distant lands using a different language, and the myth arisen around them.


[edit] Etymology

Ninja is a Japanese compound derived from the two kanji used to write shinobi-no-mono (), one of the native Japanese words for people who practice ninjutsu (sometimes transliterated as ninjitsu 忍術). Ninja and shinobi-no-mono, along with shinobi, another variant, became popular in the post-World War II culture. The kanji 志能備, has been traced as far back as Japan's Asuka period (538-710 CE), when Prince Shotoku is alleged to have employed one of his retainers as a ninja.[citation needed]

The underlying connotation of shinobi (忍, pronounced nin in Sino-Japanese compounds) is "to do quietly" or "to do so as not to be perceived by others" and—by extension—"to forebear," hence its association with stealth and invisibility. Mono (者, likewise pronounced sha or ja) means "person." The nin of ninjutsu is the same as that in ninja, whereas jutsu (術) means skill or art, so ninjutsu means "the skill of going unperceived" or "the art of stealth"; hence, ninja and shinobi-no-mono (as well as shinobi) may be translated as "one skilled in the art of stealth." Similarly, the pre-war word ninjutsu-zukai means "one who uses the art of remaining unperceived."

[edit] Historical period of origin

The ninja's original use of guerilla tactics against better armed enemy samurai and their eventual use as hired spies does not mean that they were limited to espionage and undercover work, that is simply where their actions most drastically differed from the more accepted tactics of samurai. Their weapons and tactics were partially derived from the need to conceal or defend themselves quickly from Samurai, which can be seen from the similarities between many of their weapons and various sickles and threshing tools used at the time. [1]. Ninja as a group first began to be written about in 15th century feudal Japan as martial organizations predominately in the regions of Iga and Koga of central Japan, though the practice of guerilla warfare and undercover espionage operations goes back much further. At this time the conflicts between the clans of daimyo that controlled small regions of land had established guerilla warfare and assassination as a valuable alternative to frontal assault. Since the samurai code Bushido forbade such tactics as dishonorable, a daimyo could not expect his own troops to perform the tasks required, and thus had to buy or broker the assistance of ninja to perform selective strikes, espionage, assassination, and infiltration of enemy strongholds (Turnbull 2003).

There are a few people and groups of people regarded as having been potential historical ninja from approximately the same time period.

Though typically classified as assassins, many of the ninja were warriors in all senses. In Hayes's book, Mystic Arts of the Ninja, Hattori Hanzo, one of the most legendary ninja, is depicted in armor similar to that of a Samurai. Hayes also says that those who ended up recording the history of the ninja were typically those within positions of power in the military dictatorships, and that students of history should realize that the history of the ninja was kept by observers writing about their activities as seen from the outside.

[edit] Historical organization

Early in their history, ninja groups were small and structured around families and villages, later developing a more martial hierarchy that was able to mesh more closely with that of samurai and the daimyo.

While ninja are often depicted as male, and nearly all military and related professions were typically limited exclusively to males, females were supposedly ninja as well. A female ninja may be called kunoichi (くノ一); the characters are derived from the strokes that make up the kanji for woman (女). They were sometimes depicted as spies who learned the secrets of an enemy by seduction; though it's just as likely they were employed as household servants, putting them in a position to overhear potentially valuable information. In either case, there is no historical support for the modern image of female ninja assassins, and they were more likely employed as spies and couriers.

As a martial organization, ninja would have had many rules, and keeping secret the ninja's clan and the daimyo who gave them their orders would have been one of the most important ones.

For modern hierarchy in ninjutsu, see: Ninjutsu

[edit] Historical garb, technique, and image

There is no evidence that historical ninja limited themselves to all-black suits. Some ninja may have worn the same armor or clothing as samurai or Japanese peasants; it is hard to say.

According to legend, a ninja would disguise himself to suit his surroundings, sometimes as a priest, or a samurai. They also learned to fight using whatever was available, as weapons that were obviously ninja devices would identify the bearer as a ninja himself.

The stereotype of ninja continually wearing distinctive black outfits (shinobi shozoku) comes from the Kabuki theater. [2] Prop handlers would dress in black and move props around on the stage. The audience would obviously see the prop handlers but would pretend they were invisible. Building on that willing suspension of disbelief, ninja also came to be portrayed in the theatre as wearing similar all black suits. This either implied to the audience that the ninja were also invisible, or simply made the audience unable to tell a ninja from the many prop handlers until the ninja distinguished himself from the others in the play by attacking, either as part of the script, or assassinating an audience member.

Another fact that suggests the absence of any standard ninja outfit or easily identifiable weaponry is that if caught or seen recognizable items would have marked them as enemies, which would have resulted in capture, torture, and probable execution. Good ninja would have sought to avoid recognition, capture, and death; thus, these spies and assassins were far more likely to be disguised as samurai, priests, or peasants rather than wearing any standardized ninja uniform.

Ninja boots (jika-tabi), like much of the rest of japanese footwear from the time, have a split-toe design that improves gripping and wall/rope climbing. They are soft enough to be virtually silent.

[edit] Speculation about camouflage and disguise

In addition, dark green, brown, blue, and soft combinations of nature-like colors almost always act as better camouflage than a pure black outfit, as they break up the silhouette, and thus those colors would have been more likely to have been used, although sometimes the pure black outfit would have suited the surroundings. It did, however, depend on the environment, as it is believed that during snow, ninja would wear white to help disappearing into their surroundings [3].

Disguises were selected on the basis of their unobtrusiveness in a given environment. Some ninjas were said to have disguised themselves as Fuke monks and used the traditional flute of the zen sect, the Shakuhachi, as a powerful blunt weapon. Many government agents and ninja disguised themselves as komusō, since one could travel about in complete anonymity and gather information. There were even short pieces that were supposed to be played by one komusō greeting another. These suizen melodies tended to be very difficult to outsiders of the sect. If the second komusō did not respond, the first would know that the other was probably a spy.

[edit] Modern costume

The actual head covering suggested by sōke Masaaki Hatsumi (in his book The Way of the Ninja: Secret Techniques) utilizes what is referred to as Sanjaku-tenugui, (three-foot cloths). It involves the tying of two three-foot cloths around the head in such a way as to make the mask flexible in configuration but securely bound. Some wear a long robe, most of the time black for stealth. Beginning in the 1980s, it was a common practice in North America for people to make a ninja mask out of a t-shirt [4].

[edit] Associated equipment

The assassination, espionage, and infiltration tasks of the ninja led to the development of specialized technology in concealable weapons and infiltration tools.

[edit] Tools and weapons

Ninja are said to have made use of weapons that could be easily concealed or disguised as common tools, the bo and handclaws (shuko, neko-te tekagi) probably being the most famous, except for the shuriken (throwing stars), which have more recently been popularized by comic books and mail order advertisements. Kunai (a gardening tool) were also a popular weapon as they could be hidden easily or carried if the ninja was disguised as a gardener. It was the equivalent of a utility knife, often used to pry or cut rather than fight. The makibishi (tetsu-bishi), a type of caltrop made of iron spikes, is also famous. It could be thrown on the ground to injure a pursuer's feet or thrown out on an enemy's escape path so that the targets could be cut down or shot down with bows and arrows while they looked for another escape route, but it could also be covered with poison so the victim would die slowly.

In popular folklore, ninja also used special short swords called ninja-ken (or ninja-tō see below for explanation), or "shinobigatana" (Note the avoidance of the term 'ninja', but inclusion of the term shinobi, a synonym). Ninja-ken are shorter than a katana but longer than a wakizashi. The ninja-to was often more of a utilitarian tool than a weapon, not having the complex heat treatment of a usual weapon. Another version of the ninja sword was the shikoro ken (saw sword). The shikoro ken was said to be used to gain entry into buildings, and could also have a double use by cutting (or slashing in this case) opponents.

The nunchaku also may have been used, although all witnesses were killed or rendered unconcious before this was documented. However, most historians believe that ninja would use the flail, which was used in farming "punishment rice."

One known tool used by ninja is irogome (literally, "colored rice"). Irogome was uncooked rice seeds colored in five or six different colors: red, black, white, yellow, blue, and sometimes brown. They would be placed on the ground or handed to a ninja from a ninja. Each combination carried certain meanings like "all clear" or "an enemy check point is ahead". When cooked, irogome would become a delicious and colorful rice snack that could sustain a ninja on an extended mission; however, reports of special powers that could be gained by eating such a meal, such as increased speed or semi-transparency, were most likely the result of hallucinogenic mycotoxins sometimes found on the brown grains.

[edit] Specialized weapons and tactics

Ninja also employed a variety of weapons and tricks using gunpowder. Smoke bombs and firecrackers were widely used to aid an escape or create a diversion for an attack. They used timed fuses to delay explosions. Ōzutsu (cannons) they constructed could be used to launch fiery sparks as well as projectiles at a target. Small "bombs" called metsubushi (目潰し, "eye closers") were filled with sand and sometimes metal dust. This sand would be carried in bamboo segments or in hollowed eggs and thrown at someone, the shell would crack, and the assailant humiliated or blinded. Even land mines were constructed that used a mechanical fuse or a lit, oil-soaked string. Secrets of making desirable mixes of gunpowder were strictly guarded in many ninja clans. Other forms of trickery were said to be used for escaping and combat. Ashiaro are wooden pads attached to the ninja's tabi (thick socks with a separate "toe" for bigger toe; used with sandals). The ashiaro would be carved to look like an animal's paw, or a child's foot, allowing the ninja to leave tracks that most likely would not be tracked. Also a small ring worn on a ninja's finger called a shobo would be used for hand-to-hand combat. The shobo (or as known in many styles of ninjutsu, the shabo) would have a small notch of wood used to hit assailant's pressure points for sharp pain, sometimes causing temporary paralysis. A suntetsu is very similar to a shobo. It could be a small oval shaped piece of wood affixed to the finger by a small strap. The suntetsu would be held against a finger (mostly middle) on the palm-side and when the hand that was thrust at an opponent, the longer piece of wood would be used to hit the pressure points.

[edit] Historical myths about ninja

There are many myths and legends concerning ninja. Their special abilities are also often exaggerated, among them becoming invisible, multiplying themselves, turning into animals, jumping over buildings, the ability to fly, stick to the walls and foresee the future. These myths were caused by the secretive nature of ninja, and confusion with Tengu and yamabushi. The myths of these abilities would have been reinforced by the actions of ninja during their operations, such as calling forth from nearby a previously unseen ninja ally upon being discovered, which could eventually have led to stories of multiplication abilities. Ninja encouraged rumors that made people believe they had magical powers to increase their advantage of fear and surprise in the event of discovery or combat.

Ninpō refers to various skills used by ninja, but mostly supernatural and fictional. Ninja are said to have actively encouraged such superstitions about their abilities to inspire fear in their enemies.

[edit] In modern fiction

Ninja appear in both Japanese and Western fiction. Depictions range from realistic to the fantastically exaggerated.

Western popular culture generally depicts ninja as supremely well-trained martial artists and assassins, clad in head-to-toe black or dark blue suits, using many kinds of exotic equipment and skills to accomplish their missions. Western fascination with the ninja bloomed in the 1980s, especially in the United States. The idea of a Westerner being granted entry to the secret ranks of the ninja has long been a subject of particular fascination for Western writers. For example, The Ninja (1980) series of thriller books by Eric Van Lustbader features a half-Japanese, half-Caucasian character who received ninjutsu training in his youth. The Japanese rhythm and blues band Thee Michelle Gun Elephant wanted to release a three-hour, five-disc fictional concept album devoted to a popular Sunday morning ninja fighting themed anime show, Aknito and Mr. Saito. The album was scrapped after the show was suddenly cancelled in 1997. However, Mr. Saito (Aknito's mentor) was given his own show on TV Asahi (the fourth biggest cable network in Japan) and proved to be a big success. Despite being disbanded, Thee Michelle Gun Elephant provides voices for Mr. Saito's new students: Anrito, Deeku, Snarfasu, and Rivayama.

Modern entertainment has shown ninja as both expendable redshirts attacking in large numbers and as nearly invulnerable solitary warriors. An example of both depictions can be found in the American Ninja and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, where a small group of protagonists (ninja) easily defeat waves of incompetent enemy ninja on multiple occasions only to have far more trouble when facing a more competent lone ninja. The satirical Inverse Ninja Law draws from this paradox.

[edit] In books

The Japanese novelist, Ryotaro Shiba wrote a novel and a collection of short stories, based on ninja, called Fukuro no Shiro and Saigo no Igamono. Both were made into successful movies. In the series Tales of the Otori The Tribe is made of five families of ninjas with powers such as: invisibility, splitting themselves temporarily, a stare that induces sleep, sharper hearing and eyesight, faster reflexes etc.

[edit] In comic books

Ninja appear often in comic books, and in many different incarnations. In the Marvel Universe, a group of ninja known as The Hand employ both traditional ninjutsu as well as powerful mystical arts to achieve various (generally evil) goals. The Hand have been employed by several villains and evil organizations in the Marvel Universe, including The Mandarin and Hydra, but also operate independently. They are frequent adversaries of numerous heroes, including Wolverine, the X-Men, Spider-Man and Daredevil, in whose comic book series they first appeared.

Several heroes in the Marvel Universe have also been trained as ninja, among them Elektra Natchios, and the X-Men Psylocke and Kitty Pryde.

Ninjas are also common to the D.C. universe, with prominent characters, most notably Batman, being given ninja training in most versions of his history. Another character who is portrayed in a fashion similar to a ninja is master martial artist and assasin Lady Shiva.

The G.I. Joe series of comic books featured ninjas far more than the cartoon series, and many story arcs revolved around Scarlett, Snake Eyes, Jinx, Firefly and the Arishikage ninja clan, which consisted of an extended family of ninja characters never featured in the toyline or cartoon, such as The Blind Master, The Hard Master, The Soft Master, and the mystic sword smith. Other characters in the comic who recieved ninja training from the Arishkage clan and their associates were Cobra Commander's son Billy, and the shapeshifter Zartan.

Frank Miller's Sin City comic books feature a ninja-like girl named Miho, who often utilizes shuriken, martial arts, stealth, and other methods associated with ninjas.

Ninjas are also the main characters in the Japanese Manga series Naruto, featured in Weekly Shonen Jump

[edit] In movies

Ninja-based films and books became a popular culture craze in Japan during the 1950s and early 1960s. As a result, a TV series called The Samurai was created in 1962 to cash in on the fad. Although only seen in Japan and a few other countries, the series was notable for its screening in Australia in 1964-65, as it was the first Japanese TV show ever broadcast there. The Samurai rapidly became one of the most popular programs ever screened on Australian TV, gaining a large audience among pre-teen children; its success even led to star Ose Koichi and a troupe of performers touring there in a specially-produced show in 1966. The series introduced the ninja concept to Australian audiences and the ninja soon became a cult favourite, with children dressing up as ninjas and making their own toy ninja weapons, notably the shuriken or "throwing stars". Several American ninja movies starring Sho Kosugi were released in the 1980s as well. Kosugi is to be in the upcoming movie The Return of the Ninja, which is to be released in 2006. Sam Firstenberg's American Ninja, a low budget movie released in 1985, was undoubtedly the most successful film in the genre produced by an American company, Cannon. Former model Michael Dudikoff, who played the lead character Joe Armstrong, was dubbed as "the James Dean of the Ninja movies". The story depicts the adventures of an amnesiac soldier who discovers he had received ninja training when he was a child. Eventually, he uses his skills against a drug lord in the Philippines. The movie proved to be a smash hit, and spawned four sequels: American Ninja 2: The Confrontation, American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt (Dudikoff was replaced by David Bradley here), American Ninja 4: The Annihilation (Dudikoff and Bradley are paired together in this one), and the straight-to-video American Ninja 5 (a spin-off aimed at children). The first two American Ninja are regarded as cult classics.

Perhaps the first cinematic mixing of two martial arts 'worlds' occurs in the Hong Kong movie Ninja in the Dragon's Den, in which a young Ninja flees to China - both to evade the revenge of the clan he's betrayed and to seek one of the men he believes responsible for his father's death - and encounters a young Kung fu fighter in combat.

In the early 90s there were two ninja movies about three young boys who come to live with their grandfather. While there, he teaches them ninjutsu; later, they get into a mess of trouble, and must use their skills to extricate themselves. The first was simply titled 3 Ninjas. Its sequel was 3 Ninjas Kick Back.

For the upcoming GI JOE live action movie, Richard Walke will be playing Snake-Eyes, and is one of the few people officially signed on to the picture. Screenwriter Micheal Gordon handpicked the up and coming Walke because he "is the personification of everything Ninja." There is heavy speculation that Walke himself is undergoing rigorous ninja training in order to futher prepare himself for this role.

[edit] On TV

The Master was a ninja action-adventure TV series which aired in 1984 on NBC. The show starred Lee Van Cleef as John Peter McAllister, an aged American veteran and ninja master who returns to the United States in search of a daughter he didn't know he had. The show also featured Timothy Van Patten as Max Keller, his young short-tempered pupil, and Sho Kosugi as Okasa, McAllister's former pupil, who has sworn to kill his former master for abandoning the ninja code. The short-lived series only lasted 13 episodes.

When G.I. Joe, a traditional American series of military action figures, was relaunched in the 1980s, the collection included a few ninja characters, such as Snake-Eyes, a Vietnam war veteran who had studied the ninja arts after the death of his family, and Storm Shadow, a member of a clandestine ninja clan. The massive popularity of the ninja characters completely overtook the more conventional army characters, and creator Larry Hama was pressured by Hasbro to create more ninja for the series.

Two seasons of Power Rangers had ninja-based powers and zords: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers season 3, and Power Rangers Ninja Storm, respectively based on the two Super Sentai series' Ninja Sentai Kakuranger and Ninpuu Sentai Hurricanger.

The smash hit animé series, Naruto, is the most famous ninja-themed animé worldwide. It is the story of a young boy who is training to be the top ninja of his village, the Hokage, and to finally receive recognition. To do this, Naruto must rise through the ranks of genin, chuunin, and jounin, and complete many trying missions. Based on the manga by Kishimoto Masashi, the series touches every aspect of ninja, including the weaponry, as well as the use of special techniques and strange powers combined with martial arts. Naruto is currently around episode 211 and the manga currently has about 37 volumes. There are also 3 movies, and the show is not letting up any time soon. The franchise has spawned many video games, gadgets, toys, toy weapons, and more.

Yet another animé series, Basilisk, utilizes the mythology and such behind the ninja, giving them strange powers and jutsus to carry out missions. In this show, there are two rival ninja clans who have been coexisting solely because of a peace treaty. Two ninja, one from each clan, were to marry. They had hoped this would allow the clans to make peace among the members, but when the treaty was expired, a new proposal was put foreward. The names of 10 elite ninja from each clan were put on a hit list for the other clan. The first clan to kill all 10 people are the supreme clan. The two lovers must now face the reality of the war and come to grips that both of their names are on the lists.

[edit] In video games

In fighting games, ninja are typically quick to strike but lack power and defense.

One of the most successful games ever on the Commodore 64 computer was The Last Ninja, developed by System3. In the Nintendo Entertainment System games titled Ninja Gaiden, the player takes the role of Ryu Hayabusa, a ninja whose clan has been savagely murdered. Ryu is also a character in the Dead or Alive fighting games that feature multiple ninja characters.

The Metal Gear Solid series features the reccuring theme of having a ninja character in almost every game. These characters include Cyborg Ninja I (Gray Fox), Cyborg Ninja II (Olga Gurlukovich), Raiden, and Null. In addition, the theme of the game (tactical espionage) is very similar to a modern version of the ninja's role.

Sega's Shinobi, Shadow Dancer and Revenge of Shinobi were popular video games of the 1980s featuring the ninja Joe Musashi. In keeping with the idea of magical ninja powers, Musashi could perform a smart bomb attack using magic in the former two games and could use other forms of magic in the latter.

In most Worms games a weapon called Ninja rope allows players to swing around the terrain.

Mortal Kombat includes several ninja-like characters with supernatural powers which seem to have been exaggerated from ninjutsu-related techniques or literature. Notably the character Scorpion is a lone ninja master who has risen from the dead in spectre form to battle against any who would interfere with his peace. Other notable ninja-type characters in the series include Sub-Zero (though he once referred to himself as Lin Kuei and thus not a ninja), who can create and manipulate ice, Mileena, a female ninja proficient in the use of sai, and Ermac, a ninja capable of using telekinesis. In a similar game series called Soul Calibur, a character named Taki can use a skill that gamers called the ninja cannon where Taki jumps high into the air then lands a distance away, an obvious exaggeration of ninjutsu. Another figure is the ninja/samurai character named Yoshimitsu who can be seen in all of the Tekken-series as well as in Soul Calibur I, II, and III. Yoshimitsu ,soley a ninja in the tekken series, differed from the other characters in that he was the only playable character to use a sword. This may be the reason why he got a spot in the first Soul Cailbur in the first place evolving from a ninja to a ninja/samurai to make him feel more similar to the character named Mitsurugi (who is solely a samurai).

In the RPG Final Fantasy III (Famicom), near the end of the game is possible to get two new jobs, one being the Ninja ("The supreme Warrior") and the other being the Sage ("The supreme spellcaster"). The FF3 Ninja can equip any kind of weapon, offensive item or armor (except the Rusty Armor), and also possesses the best attributes such as speed, stamina, life and others. An exaggeration about the Ninja's power in the game is the power shuriken (Throwing star), portrayed as the strongest piece of weapon in all the game (About twice stronger as Excalibur and Ragnarok combined), and considered a must against the final boss, who has lots of hit points. However, those are scarce and rare to find, and a secret NPC sells them for 65000 gold each, making it the most expensive weapon in the game and probably one of the most relatively-expensive ammunitions ever seen in a game. The amount of throwing stars one can throw indicates a noticable quirk. One can equip up to two throwing stars, one in each hand, and they disappear after use. However, when "using them," it's possible to throw several stars at a time (up to 99, using Haste, or having reached a high level) at the cost of just one or two stars. It can be a simple hardware limitation or, less probably, another exaggeration of Ninja powers. However, the fact that only a ninja in the game can wield a shuriken that sells at a high price by a sage implies that the throwing stars are magical.

In the MMORPG Final Fantasy XI it is possible to get a new job as a Ninja. With this job you get more magic (known as Ninjutsu in game) and the ability to wield dual weapons. In this game, the ninja was regarded by some players as overpowered, receiving a spell at a low level that creates "copy images" of the player which absorb 3 attacks from any enemy, no matter how strong the enemy is, allowing for a total of 6 free turns when used properly, and at a slightly higher level a second spell that adds to the shadow count, and makes the ninja nearly invincible in many situations. As with FF3, the Ninja in FFXI is the only class who is able to wield shurikens. Shurikens have some of the highest damage per second in the game, and are the most expensive way to do battle, as with FF3 as well. Also, in the Final Fantasy video games and movies, a character named Yuffie is a shuriken-wielding kunoichi.

There are various fighting games based off of the Naruto television series. This show is an entirely ninja-themed anime, so all of the characters in the game are able to use martial arts, traditional ninja weaponry, and special techniques that are common in ninja mythology.

Tenchu is a popular stealth-game series involving ninja. Although it incorporates sword-fighting as part of the game, the most important aspect is stealth, or sneaking around and getting rid of enemies silently.

In the game James Bond 007: Nightfire, the evil Phoenix Corporation uses ninjas as assassins. In one mission, "Double Cross," the player must fight a ninja who has just killed a traitor in Phoenix. In another mission, numerous ninjas lunge at the player in a space shuttle launch silo. In the game, Rodrigo is the most skilled ninja in the world.

Shinobido: Way of the Ninja is a game involving the Asuka ninja. Three warlords fight for the small province of Utakata, requiring ultimate stealth and espionage.

In the game Kirby Superstar for the SNES, the ablility called 'ninja' can stick Kirby to the walls, turn himself invisible, etc.

In MMORPGs such as world of warcraft, ninja can be used as an adjective to describe a player who has stolen another players item. This can be in a number of ways. Firstly in a party instance where a player selects the need option on an item that they should have selected greed for. Another way this term is used is if a player tricks another player into giving them their items in return for a service involving these items. A player is said to be a ninja if they do not hold to this agreement and keep the items traded to them. If a player is labelled an ninja in MMORPG they are often rejected by the community and find it difficult to join guilds or raid parties.

In Age of Empires III ninjas are powerful mercenaries that can be obtained for a certain amount of coin from a saloon. They are able to inflict heavy injury upon explorers, warchiefs, and other mercenaries, and have the ability to conceal themselves (stealth).

In the fighting game series Guilty Gear, the character Chipp Zanuff takes up the fighting style after being saved from the mafia by a ninja master.

In the first person shooter Red Steel for the Wii, the player will have to fight ninjas towards the end of the game.

[edit] In Music

There are many ninja bands around the world, with two main types: 1. bands that sing songs about the ninja lifestyle and are typically dressed as ninjas during performances. Examples include Fist of Dishonor

2. bands that have ninja in their name and may or may not dress as ninjas. Examples include Vanilla Ninja,14 Ninjas,Surrounded by Ninjas,Jonny Vs. The Ninjas

There has also been a recent number of musical festivals to celebrate the ninja: Ninjafest and Ninja Rock Festival are two prime examples.

[edit] On the Web

There have been innumerable popular websites dealing with ninja, three of the most well-known including Ninja Burger (which was made into an RPG, card game, and book), Ask A Ninja (which features weekly podcasts themed at asking ninja-based questions), and Real Ultimate Power. There has also been a recent movement on the world wide web to celebrate International Creep Like a Ninja Day on December 5th.

Recent internet spoofs have often pitted ninja against pirates and asked which would win in a Pirates versus Ninjas fight.

[edit] References

Hatsumi, Masaaki (June 1981). Ninjutsu: History and Tradition. Unique Publications. ISBN 0-86568-027-2.

Turnbull, Stephen (Feb 2003). Ninja AD 1460-1650. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-525-2.

[edit] External links

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