Ninjas were covert warriors and mercenaries who used the shadows to perform surprise attacks and were skilled in the arts of deception and espionage. Their practices were often considered dishonorable by the standards of the samurai, but there were effective nonetheless. So much so, that their legacy is weaved into the pop cultures of Japan, Europe, and the United States. There’s even a holiday dedicated to ninjas known as International Ninja Day, and it’s a day celebrated on December 5th.
The History Of The Ninja In Pop Culture
In Japan, ninjas first entered pop culture between the 17th and 19th centuries—during the Edo Period of Japanese history. Although these figures are based upon real military advisors, assassins, and thieves who formed their own caste outside the feudal system in Japan, some of the folk stories that began to circulate made them into legendary warriors that had supernatural abilities. In these stories, they were said that they could control the forces of nature, turn invisible at will, jump incredible distances and even change into monsters. Although ninjas eventually faded into the background in Japanese culture during the beginning of the 20th century, they reemerged with even more popularity in Japan during the 1950s and 1960s.
The ninja would make its appearance in Western culture in 1967 when the James Bond Movie “You Only Live Twice” hit theaters. From that point on, the popularity of the ninja continued to rise. This is partly due to books written by American martial artist and writer, Stephen K. Hayes who wrote such books as Ninja: Spirit Of The Shadow Warrior, The Ninja & Their Secret Fighting Art, and Legacy of the Night Warrior. It’s also due to a variety of ninja-inspired action movies that were released during the 1980s including Enter The Ninja, Return Of The Ninja, American Ninja, and Shogun’s Ninja.
Sneaky Ninja Facts
Are you ready for some fun and fascinating facts about ninjas? Below are some of the facts we’ve uncovered during our extensive research on these elusive warriors and this holiday. Let’s check them out.
- Ninja Burger invented International Ninja Day in 2003 to advertise their burgers.
- Kunoichis are female ninjas or practitioners of ninjutsu.
- Every ninja clan had its own trade secrets that they carefully guarded.
- Ninjas were the masters of disguise and could blend in with the locals of the area in which they were working.
Observing International Ninja Day
This holiday can be observed by enjoying some of the fine ninja media that currently exists. This can be a ninja movie such as Pray For Death, or one of the many documentaries about ninjas that can be found on channels such as National Geographic. While observing this holiday, don’t forget to use the hashtag #InternationalNinjaDay to let every know that it’s time to break out their shurikens and Tabi socks, and celebrate this holiday in style.
When is International Ninja Day?
|This year (2023)||December 5 (Tuesday)||Multiple dates - more|
|Next year (2024)||December 5 (Thursday)||Multiple dates - more|
|Last year (2022)||December 5 (Monday)||Multiple dates - more|