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Berserker's avatar

Who, or what, characterized the ninja as we see them in entertainment?

Asked by Berserker (33454points) August 16th, 2012

TV and movies always over glorify everything, use little fact and exaggerate. So it’s no surprise then, that the entertainment ninja barely represents anything that a ninja actually was. Some core elements remain, but for the most part it’s probably all pretty inaccurate. Thing is, I don’t really know any movies about ninjas, besides stuff like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Except when I do see them in video games and movies, I wonder, who or what made them like this?
I understand why this happens…but who did it? Who revolutionized the entertainment ninja?
I was reading that plays and novels about the ninja have existed for quite a long time though, especially in Japan, loooong before television ever existed. Is there anyone famous known for making ninjas what we see them as today? How did they end up like this?

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20 Answers

PhiNotPi's avatar

I’ve heard that it was influenced by the way that Japanese puppeteers would dress. They would wear all-black clothing to try to blend in with the background, and the audience would pretend that he was invisible as he controlled the puppets. In popular culture, the whole “people in black are invisible” idea just got transferred over to ninjas, since it conveyed stealthiness.

Berserker's avatar

Interesting. I read that ninjas didn’t really wear all that much black, and instead dressed up to mingle in crowds, or at least go by unsuspected, and get their deeds done.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I came across a couple of books written by Japanese warriors that explained the code they live by when I was young. Hollywood totally messed it up.

Berserker's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe What did the books say? Sounds pretty neat.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

One was the Ninja, one was the Samurai. The Ninja was more spiritual, absorbing it into every bit of their being. The clothing could be part of it, but didn’t need to be all of it. The Samurai was more of the code of the warrior.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Symbeline Does that give you the answer? I can look for the books if you’d like.

Judi's avatar

The first time I eve heard of Ninjas was the mini series Shogun in 1980

King_Pariah's avatar

Ninja’s never wore black when they had to pull off some night time operation anyway. A dark grey blends in better with the darkness than black.

ucme's avatar

The Dalai Lama suffers from frequent involuntary convulsions brought on by an allergy to the colour orange, you could say he virtually invented kung-fu, karate, ninjarism.
Some cynics cast doubt on this theory, as the commercial says….“I can’t believe it’s not buddha!”

Berserker's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe If you remmeber them, that could be interesting. I think ninjas and samurais didn’t really see eye to eye, when it came to methods and stuff.

@King_Pariah That’s the second time I hear that, heh.

Only138's avatar

@Symbeline Hey – yo Girlie…..My earliest memories of Ninja all go back to a movie called “Enter the Ninja”. This was the first of many movies starring Shô Kosugi. I believe he studied Ninjitsu. These movies showed a great many of the weapons that they used, and alot of their hand signs that signify a bunch of different shit. All in all, Enter the Ninja is a pretty neat movie. Watch it on Netflix. :)

Berserker's avatar

Hey they have that on the PSN for rent. So you reckon it? Didn’t know about the hand signals…but that’s pretty cool.

’‘hand gesture’’ Go kill that guard.

’‘replied hand gestured’’ no u


So I’ll give that movie a rent then.

Only138's avatar

@Symbeline I know you will like it. Sho Kosugi is a bastard in it….hell, he was even in the new “Ninja Assassin” movie. Go here, and you can see the Ninja magic hand signs….but don’t be castin’ no “hocus pocus” on me!!! ;)

Berserker's avatar

I saw that ’‘Ninja Assassin’’ movie. Didn’t even know that dude was in there, but I don’t know much about Asian actors.
Also, kick ass site…it has all this cool info. So ninjas even found ways to see in the dark…man that’s messed up.

Only138's avatar

@Symbeline Yah, kinda freaky, eh?

Berserker's avatar

After reading a few things about ninjas…do you agree with me that killers like Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees would make excellent ninjas? :D

Only138's avatar

@Symbeline I think they ARE ninjas. They have an incredible mastery of a wide variety of weapons, They can sneak into anywhere, They have the ability to be invisible to anyone NOT staring at a movie screen, plus they can dissapear at the drop of a dime. I say that “them be some bad assed mother fucka’s”.

Berserker's avatar

Yeah, and although Jason has the tendency to bust through doors, him and Mikey, should they wish not to be detected until the killing blow is dealt, will not be detected.

Good point about the weaponry…I heard ninjas were supposed to be able to kill with pretty much anything they found, if their own equipment wasn’t, for some reason, readily accessible. Denno how true that is, but I wouldn’t be surprised much.

Only138's avatar

Plus, they wear masks to hide their identity. LOL

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