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Ninja, also called Shinobi, were a caste of elite warriors in ancient Japan. Historical investigations about the ninjas are difficult since they were a secret society.

Ninjas can be distinguished from samurai warriors because ninjas relied more on stealth. It was not uncommon for ninjas to engage in clandestine/covert attacks. In some ways, ninjas were precursors of special force warriors in modern militaries. In addition, the ninjas are known for having spy networks.

Popular Culture

"Ninja" have been glamorized as an icon of alternative pop culture in recent years.[1] They appear frequently in video games, as well, alongside samurai as an alternative warrior caste.[2] The "ninja" in modern pop culture is secretive, killing by stealth, and employing deception as a means to achieve their goals.

Some ninjas were mercenary assassins, but historians are divided on how many political assassinations the ninja committed.

Famous modern day depictions of the ninja include Anime such as Naruto and Ninja Scroll.


The first Day of the Ninja was held on December 5, 2003.


  1. See, e.g.,
  2. See, e.g., Final Fantasy XI.