Espionage, assassination, infiltration, guerrilla warfare and sabotage: these are some of the skills that are inherent in being a ninja. Clad in their signature black garb from head to toe, ninja appear from the depths of the night like a hawk on stolen wings, striking their prey and disappearing again without leaving a trace.
Ninjas are rumored to be the masters of Kuji-Kiri, an eastern magical practice that made them capable of combining their natural ability to move like ghosts with supernatural powers. International Ninja Day is dedicated to remembering and honoring these ancient warriors of China and Japan.
So get ready to observe and enjoy International Ninja Day!
History of International Ninja Day
To truly understand the history of International Ninja Day, one must first understand the history of the Ninja. The original Ninja were warriors of the Iga Province of Japan during the Sengoku period.
These warriors were raised up from the basic people of the countryside, without access to proper armor, weapons, or training to use them. They had very little to rely on other than their own skills and abilities. And a few key weapons that were small enough to tuck into a large sleeve or a belt.
Perhaps this is why so many of the weapons of the ninja are drawn from agricultural roots, such as the Kunai and sickles, because they were also weapons that disguised themselves. This allows them to make it seem that it was just a humble farmer working in his field, instead of the true infiltration-focused assassin.
The “traditional” black clothing of the ninja actually came about as a result of how ninja were represented in theater. Being the everyday people of their province, they were invisible to the ruling class. They could not be identified by their clothing or weapons, banner or nationality, they were simply the average people of their country and, therefore, basically invisible.
In the theater, this idea was represented by the stage hands playing the part of the ninjas: they wore black clothes that covered them from head to toe, and made them invisible against the black background of the stage. Also, those who frequented the theater were accustomed to the presence of these stage-hands, and their sudden inclusion in the play came as a shock.
How to Celebrate International Ninja Day
This is a day that can be taken rather seriously by ninja gurus, or made into some silliness. Either way, it can be a whole lot of fun with some of these ideas for celebrating International Ninja Day:
Watch a Ninja Film
An entire genre of film making has practically been built around ninjas. There are thousands of movies about ninjas available today, and some of them could be considered among the best pieces of cinema available in just about any genre!
Try out one or two of these ninja films in observance of the day (or make it a marathon and try them all!):
- Duel to the Death (1983)
As the best swordmaster from China faces off against the best swordmaster from Japan, the audience is kept on the edge of their seats wondering who will win. Created and directed by Ching Siu-Tung
- Lone Wolf & Cub: Sword of Vengeance (1972)
This story features a samurai without a master who has unique adventures as he roams Japan’s countryside with his small child. Directed by Kenji Misumi.
- Ninja: Shadow of a Tear (2013)
One of the more recently made best movies on this list, this film features a ninjutsu master who seeks revenge after his wife and child are murdered. Directed by Isaac Florentine.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie (1990)
Sure, it’s a little tongue-in-cheeky, but it’s still a classic! Protecting New York city from a gang of ninjas, four mutant turtles rise up from the darkness to fight. Directed by Steve Baron.
Host a Little Ninja Get Together
Start the celebration of International Ninja Day by compiling a must watch list and getting together with friends or family members to watch them around a home cooked traditional Japanese or Chinese meal… Or at the very least order take-out from an Asian restaurant.
Listen to Some Ninja Themed Songs
Whether getting together with friends as suggested above, or just hanging out in the shadows waiting for some good to do, try making a little playlist to pass the time. Start with some of these songs:
- Ninja Rap (Go Ninja Go) by Vanilla Ice (1991)
- 21st Century Ninja by The Fold (2015)
- Inner Ninja by Classified (2013)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Theme by The Ninja Turtles (2016)
Dress Up as a Ninja
To add to the madness of ninja history, in celebration of the day, go ahead and dress up as one. Think ahead in October and up a ninja costume during the Halloween sales, or head on over to a year-round costume shop to find one.
Wherever it comes from, go ahead and don that traditional uniform and take to the streets–but be sure to turn it on its head.
As a Modern Ninja, don’t forget to appear unexpectedly to do great acts of charity for the common man. Never forget that ninja were oppressed, hungry commoners before they were the most feared warriors in the world. Give back to their roots to truly honor them.
Or, if it happens to fall on a world day, take this opportunity to just be an office ninja or cubicle ninja, and wear that black costume to work. When coworkers ask why, be prepared to share the love of International Ninja Day!