A ninja or shinobi was a mercenary warrior class that originates from 15th century Japan. Some of the basic operations of the ninja included infiltration, espionage, sabotage, assassination and also open combat if needed.
In the troubled times of the Sengoku period, between 15th and 17th century, a class of mercenaries and spies for hire emerged in the Province of Iga and the surrounding area of the village of Kōga. The contemporary knowledge that we have on ninjas is provided from the clan records of these two areas.
The figure of the ninja poses a central character in a number of folklore tales and legends, and as a consequence it is often difficult to tell the difference between historical fact and myth. Among the extraordinary abilities attributed to the ninja were the control over the elements in nature, invisibility and the ability to walk on water.
That, in turn, twisted the perception of the ninja in western popular culture in the 20th century. The view on these warriors of the night is ever so often based on various legends and folklore rather than on the historical facts about them.
Watch this documentary and see the truth behind the legends of the ninja warriors. Discover the mindset of people that devoted themselves to such a lifestyle of danger and discipline.
Jeremy Scahill is one of the best reporters in the United States. He is the founding editor of The Intercept, an online news publication, and author of some of the best US mi...