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Sep 2, 2018

How to be a ninja

This article will explain how to be a ninja.

If you want to be a ninja, in conclusion, you need to go to the Koka Ninja Village in Japan, and get a certification to be an official ninja.

To do that, you need to go to Japan, and you need to complete the strict training in that village.

There are also some other steps to be a ninja.

If you are not Japanese, and if you want to be a ninja, this article will be helpful for you.

I will start to explain what a ninja is.

Also, I will inform to you hints in order to practice to be a ninja in Japan, and to live as a ninja.

I wrote this article as comprehensive as possible.

I will be glad if this article helps you to be an amazing ninja.

Below is the index of this article.

This is a kind of long article, I recommend you to choose and click the topic which you are interested in.

1. What is a Ninja?

If you write ninja in Kanji, it is "忍者".

Kanji is one of the Japanese characters.

This Kanji character "忍" means "hiding", "doing by stealth", or "bearing".

"者" means "person".

Thus, if we translate directly, "忍者 (ninja)" means "a hiding person".

Why is the Kanji for ninja like this?

In Japan, there is another way to call ninja.

It is "Shinobi".

This word "Shinobi" comes from the verb "shinobu".

This also means "hiding".

This "Shinobu (hiding)" will be an important keyword while you study how to be a ninja from this article.

If you are an anime fan, maybe, you think ninjas are heroes that fight against enemies, using dynamic skills and physical techniques.

Perhaps, that image of a ninja is a little different from the actual ninja.

So, what is an actual ninja?

Let's learn based on their history.

1-1. History

There are many different hypotheses and opinions regarding the origin of ninjas.

One famous hypothesis is that the first ninja was a subordinate of "Shotoku Taishi".

"Shotoku Taishi" was a famous politician in Japan, his face was printed on Japanese bills for a long time.

In the 6th century, he used his subordinate named "Otomo Sainyu".

Sainyu joined the war for "Shotoku Taishi".

Sainyu used sophisticated strategies and his skill, which led his army to victory.

He especially used his skill to creep up on their enemies.

After the war, Shotoku Taishi prized Sainyu's achievement.

Sainyu was given a title.

The title was "志能便 (Shinobi)".

This is just one hypothesis because there are not enough documents in that era.

It is also said, after the 8th century, there were people called "Akuto".

People have speculated that they were the ancestor of the ninjas.

"Akuto" means bad people.

Akuto fought against the people in authority in Japan.

They used the strategy of surprise attack and disturbance.

They also learned their skills from Buddhist monks.

Actually, there is a document mentioning that one of the Akuto trained in a mountain.

After the 14th century, Akuto slowly disappeared.

The Akuto changed their name to "Ji-zamurai".

Ji-zamurai means "local samurai" or "samurai on the ground".

They were called "samurai".

However, their rank was not high.

They were originally from Akuto.

They worked as mercenaries using their skills, and joined the internal wars of Japan.

Their main strategy was still surprise attack at night, or creeping into enemies' villages to set fire ablaze.

In the Edo period, 17th-19th century, they worked for people of authority in Japan.

Their main job was to collect information, and to guard using their skills.

There are some historical documents, including explanations of "ninjyutsu".

Ninjyutsu means the art of ninja.

As I explained above, they learned their skills from Buddhist monks, and trained in the mountain.

Their skills slowly changed, adapting to the environment of each age.

After that, their skills are written in documents, where it began to be called ninjyutsu.

1-2. Ninja's mission

Even if they fought, their main strategy was moving by stealth and performing surprise attacks.

Also, as I explained above, their mission in the Edo period was information collection and to guard.

If you assume ninjas are people that fight against enemies, using physical strength and dynamic skills, maybe it is a little different from this.

Their main task was covert action.

Maybe, it is similar to what we call spies.

1-3. Famous ninja styles

There are two famous ninja styles in Japan.

There is the "Iga" style, and the "Koka" style.

They were rivals in the "Sengoku period" of Japan.

"Sengoku period" means an "age of war".

Both of them were given jobs from men of power during that age.

So they were "competitors" against one another.


This is one of the most famous ninja styles.

Iga is the name of a place.

Iga-style ninja skills are generally used by the ninjas in the Iga area.

They usually worked as farmers and peddlers, and collected information.

Once they received an order, they went to the war zone. There they implemented their clandestine operations.


"Koka" is sometimes called "Koga", too.

Koka is also the name of a place in Japan.

Koka is just on the other side of the mountain of Iga.

Koka-style is one of the most famous ninja style, alongside Iga.

Actually, Koka-style is not just one ninja style.

There are many ninja styles in the Koka area.

Koka-style is just a general name used for the Koka ninja area.

Regarding both Iga-style and Koka-style, there are not so many historical document.

So these were only hypotheses.

However, recently, some documents were found from old buildings, and the research was advanced.

We now know for certain that these kind of ninjas existed, at least, in the Edo period.

If you want to get a certification as a ninja, you should learn the Koka-style ninja techniques.

After the training in the Koka Ninja Village, you can get an official ninja certification.

1-4. Ninja's techniques

・Combat technique

Their martial arts skill was similar to the Samurai's.

However, there were some differences.

One main mission of the ninja was information collection.

So, their martial arts skill was for escaping, rather than fighting and killing.

After they caused damage to their enemy, they sometimes threw sand or ash at enemies' eyes to blind them, instead of causing additional damage to kill them.

・Information collection technique

This technique is for collecting enemy's information, and for distracting enemy using fake information.

This is the most important skill for ninjas.

This technique area is partially similar to the "Strategic technique" of ninja.

For information collection techniques, they used "stealth invasion technique", "disguise technique", and "psychological technique".

They could sneak into an enemy's building using their stealth invasion technique.

Also, they disguised themselves as people from enemy-side.

They then manipulated information on the enemy's side using their psychological technique.

・Pharmaceutical technique

This technique is for making poisons, curative medicine, or gunpowder.

Gunpowder can be used for causing small explosions, making smoke for ninjas to escape.

Also, some researchers say, ninjas usually worked as peddlers selling medicines.

If that hypothesis is true, their pharmaceutical technique was also used for selling medicines.

・Ninja art of escape (Escaping technique)

This technique is for escaping from enemy.

There are 4 types of famous ninja techniques for escaping.

There is "Katon (Fire technique)", "Suiton (Water technique)", "Mokuton (Plant technique)", and "Doton (Earth technique)".

Sometimes, in Japanese anime, these techniques are used for attacking enemy.

However, they are actually techniques used for escape.

Katon (Fire technique):

They used fire and gun powders to escape from enemy.

They used them to make smoke, blinding the enemy.

They also set fire to wood, distracting their enemy, in order to escape.

Suiton (Water technique):

This is the technique to escape from enemies using water.

It includes swimming to escape, or diving into the water to hide.

In Japan, it is famous that ninjas used a bamboo pipe to breathe under water.

Ninjas also had a technique throwing a big stone into water, enemies mistakenly thought the ninja dived into the water.

Mokuton (Plant technique):

Mokuton is also called "Konoha Gakure".

This technique used plants to hide ninjas' body.

They could hide themselves using the forest, grassland, and plowed field.

Also, ninjas would climb a tree to hide themselves.

Doton (Earth technique):

Sometimes, they used the land's form to hide.

They hid themselves using undulating land form.

In addition to that, they could hide using rocks or swamps.

Also, they had techniques to dig a hole in the ground to make a secret passage.

Ninjas had many techniques to hide and escape, accomplishing their mission, collecting enemies' information.

1-5. Ninja's tools

Ninjas had many tools to accomplish their mission.

Below is the most famous of these tools.

Shuriken (dirk):

This is the most famous ninja tool.

It is known as a star-shaped throwing dagger.

However, there were also stick-type Shurikens.

Killing someone using Shuriken seems difficult.

However, throwing edged tools was a great way to make time to escape.

Also, the damage caused by Shurikens made it difficult for enemies to chase escaping ninjas.

Kunai (knife):

This is also a famous ninja tool.

Image source: Wikipedia

Kunai was a two-edged knife used by ninjas.

It was used to climb walls, and to dig a hole.

Kunai was also used to fight with enemies, like a knife.

Sometimes, ninjas threw Kunai as well as Shuriken.

This was a useful, multi-purpose, tool for ninjas.

Tekkou-kagi (claw):

Tekkou-kagi is a tool like an animal's claw.

They wore it on their hands, like knuckle dusters.

But Tekkou-kagi had long edges, unlike knuckle dusters.

Ninja used this as a weapon for assassinations.

They were also used for climbing trees or walls.

Sometimes, they were used when digging a hole, or making a hole in a wall.


A Blowgun is a narrow tube used to emit a small needle by ninjas' breath.

In some hypotheses, poison was put on the needle for assassinations.

Makibishi (caltrop):

Makibishi are small spiked devices, thrown on the ground as traps.

They were not only made of metal, but wood as well.

This was used when ninjas escaped from enemies.

After a ninja threw Makibishis on the road, they made it difficult for enemies to run after the ninja.

One Makibishi had four spikes.

So, one spike always faced upward.

It harmed the sole of the enemies' foot.

Even if it didn't cause a lot of damage, it was enough to mentally prevent enemies from chasing the ninja.


If you write Mizugumo in Knaji, it is "水蜘蛛".

"水" means water, and "蜘蛛" means spider.

So "水蜘蛛" means "water spider".

Ninjas used Mizugumo for Suiton (Water technique).

Image source: Wikipedia

A famous type of Mizugumo is like shoes.

Flat wooden shoes enabled ninjas to walk on the surface of water.

However, the actual shape of Mizugumo is still under discussion among researchers.

Like above, ninjas used a variety of tools in their mission.

Their tools were not only for fighting.

They also used their tools for escaping and hiding, and sometimes, for assassinations.

2. Suitable type of person

We have checked what a ninja is.

So, what kind of person is cut out for being ninja?

If you have physical strength, of course, it is better.

However, it is not the most important point to become a ninja.

As I explained above, their mission was not just a fighting.

Their most important duty was information collection.

They needed to disguise themselves as people from the enemy side, to get information from enemies.

In addition to that, they even distracted enemy using fake information.

It was like spy activity.

To be a ninja, it required outstanding intelligence and sophisticated communication skill.

Only having physical strength was not enough to be a good ninja.

3. How to be a Ninja?

3-1. Mindset

If you want to be a ninja, the most important thing is to have logical judgement, and communication skill.

You need only fight in emergency situations.

If you are a highly skilled ninja, you will not face such a situation.

After your mission, such as information collection or assassination, you should only hide or escape.

As for the mindset of a ninja, you should always avoid unnecessary risks.

Sometimes, your work location is the middle of the enemy's castle.

You just need to concentrate on achieving your mission without unnecessary risks.

So I would like you to remember this, in order to survive as a ninja.

3-2. Physical training

I said, "to be a ninja, the most important thing is logical judgement, and communication skill".

However, physical strength is sill important.

When enemies notice that you are a ninja, you should fight and make a way to escape.

So basic physical strength, and combat skill is also important.

In addition to that, sometimes ninjas have body guard missions.

If you want to receive this kind of order, you should train your body well.

What kind of training should we do to be a ninja?

At first I recommend you to practice the Japanese traditional footwork, named "Suriashi".

Suriashi is generally used for Japanese traditional martial arts.
Such as: Kendo, Judo, and Sumo...

They are all based on the footwork, Suriashi.

"Suri" means rubbing, and "ashi" means foot.

So Suriashi means "rubbing your foot on the ground".

You can learn Suriashi and other footworks from the movie below.

This movie is for Kendo.

(Kendo is Japanese traditional martial arts using a sword.)

However, Suriashi is often used in all martial arts in Japan.

When we watch the movie, Suriashi looks easy.

However, Suriashi uses your core muscles so much.

I recommend you to use this footwork in your daily life.

It will bring you strong core muscles, preparing you for the advanced ninja training.

At the same time, I recommend you to do running and basic muscle-building, to obtain the basic physical strength to be a ninja.

3-3. Place to go

If you want to learn about ninjas, I recommend you to go to the Kinki area in Japan.

The Kinki area includes, Mie-prefecture and Shiga-prefecture.

I have already explained about two famous ninja styles of the Sengoku period: "Iga-style" and "Koka-style".

Iga area is included in Mie-prefecture, and Koka area is included in Shiga-prefecture.

The Iga area is adjoined with the Koka area.

I will recommend you some places to go to learn ninja skills.

International Ninja Research Center:

Researchers of Mie university are professionals of ninja research.

They especially do research about Iga-style ninjas.

If you want to know academic knowledge about ninja, I recommend you to access the link below:
International Ninja Research Center >>

Koka ninja house:

This house was made in the Edo period.

This is the only existing house where ninjas actually lived in the past.

The leader of the Koka-style ninjas actually lived in this house.

In this house, there are many traps and places to hide.

If you are interested in this place, please check this official English web page:
Koka ninja house >>

Ninja Museum of Iga-ryu:

In this museum, there are many historical ninja tools.

You can check for the ninja tools written above.

Also, you can rent ninja clothes here.

Please do your training to be a ninja wearing ninja clothes.

Please check this link for further information in English:
Ninja Museum of Iga-ryu >>

Koka Ninja Village:

In the mountain of Koka, there is a village.

That village is the best place to be a ninja.

You can train your ninja skills here.

If you can finish your ninja training here, you can get an official ninja certification.

You should go here after finishing your basic training.

However, you can't use English here.

So the web page below is written in Japanese.

I recommend you to go there after you study basic Japanese.
Koka Ninja Village >>

3-4. Language

If you want to get the official ninja certification in the Koka Ninja Village, you should learn Japanese language beforehand.

Also, If you work as a ninja in Japan, of course you will use Japanese in your mission.

You need to communicate with your coworkers in Japanese, and the orders from your boss are passed using documents.

The document is called "Makimono".

In Makimono, they use quite difficult Japanese.

Actually, Japanese used by ninjas is a little different from normal Japanese.

For example, in normal Japanese, "I" is "わたし(wa ta shi)".

However, ninjas call themselves "せっしゃ(se s sha)"
 Watashi >>
 Sessha >>

However, once you learn basic Japanese, ninjas' terms are not so difficult for you.

I recommend you to concentrate on learning basic Japanese first.

In Japan, there are three types of characters.

They are Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji.

But if you remember only Hiragana, it is enough to speak and listen.

For further information, please check this:
 Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji >>

What you should do first is to remember the basic Hiragana chart:
  Hiragana chart >>

After that, please check Dull sound, P-sound, and Contracted sound:
  Dull sound >>
  P-sound >>
  Contracted sound >>

Please use the Hiragana quiz to check your memory of Hiragana:
  Hiragana quiz >>

If you finish all of the training, you will remember all Japanese sounds.

After that, please learn more advanced Japanese, using this website "Lingual Ninja".

Also, please let me advise one thing.

At first, you should not spend so much time studying Kanji.

There are so many Kanji characters.

Even Japanese people don't know all of the Kanji characters.

If you study Kanji, I recommend you to study only the very basic ones at first.

Listening and speaking are more important than remembering Kanji if you want to work as a ninja.

Regarding this subject, please check this:
  Listening or Reading >>

3-5. Visa

If you will actually practice your ninja skill in Japan, you need to think about your visa.

There are 27 types of visas to stay in Japan.

You should choose which type you qualify for.

However, there are 68 countries, whose citizens don't need a visa to enter Japan.

Picture source: Wikipedia
Please click the picture to see larger image.

Which color is used for your country in the picture above?

If it's gray, you need to get visa to go to Japan.

If it's deep green, you can stay in Japan without a visa, for up to 6 months.

If it's light green, you can stay in Japan without a visa, for up to 90 days.

If it's light blue, you can stay for up to 30 days.

If it's yellow or light yellow, you can stay for up to 15 days without a visa.

Below is the list of countries, who are approved to stay without a visa:
(This is the information of July 2017.)

Thailand (within 15 days)
Brunei (within 15 days)
Hong Kong

North america

Latin America
El Salvador
Costa Rica
Dominican republic
The Bahamas

Pacific State
New Zealand

Middle East
United Arab Emirates


San Marino
Macedonia (former Yugoslavia)

How was your country?

Do you need a visa to visit Japan?

After becoming a ninja, if you want to work as a ninja in Japan, you need to get a visa.

Basically, if your stay is a fixed term, you can work for limited jobs.

The jobs are: translator, lawyer, doctor, researcher, artist, teacher, and so on.

However, if you do other jobs, it is illegal.

Unfortunately, ninja is not included in this job list.

On the other hand, there are other visas allowing you to get any job.

One example is the permanent residence visa.

However, you need to stay in Japan a long time to get this.

So it is difficult to get.

An easier option is getting a spouse visa.

If you are single, it is an effective option to stay in Japan for a short time, and find a person to be your spouse.

Or it may be better to make Japanese friends of the opposite sex, using the internet or social media.

Another valid option for working as a ninja, is getting a different job.

If you get another job in Japan, you can stay a long time, thanks to the working visa.

There are many companies which help foreign workers to get a Japanese working visa.

At first, you should get that kind of job.

While you work as a normal worker, you can continue to train to be a ninja.

Maybe, you should find a job near the Koka village.

You are reading this article.

So you must be a person who can use English well.

For you, working as an English teacher is a very good option in Japan.

Generally, Japanese people's English skill is quite low.

Even if you are not a native English speaker, you can work as an English teacher in Japan if you can speak English normally.

Also, even if your major in university was not language, of course, you can work as an English teacher in Japan.

Because Japanese people's English skill is quite low, Japan needs more English teachers.

That situation makes it easy for you to become an English teacher.

If you work as an English teacher at first, you don't need to learn Japanese so soon.

Of course, if you can speak Japanese, it helps you to stay in Japan.

However, there are many English teacher who cannot speak Japanese in Japan.

Because they can work and live in Japan using only English.

Actually, my wife worked in Japan for two years, she cannot speak Japanese at all.

If you want to stay in Japan to practice the ninja skill, maybe becoming an English teacher is the most realistic way.

Of course, because you will not be a full-time ninja, there are limitations regarding time.

However, during that time, you can get the basic skills to be a ninja, like language skill and knowledge of the culture.

Also, if it is still impossible for you to get a visa, there is another option.

You can just stay in Japan for a short time.

During that time, you can practice basic ninja skills.

After that, you can continue to be a freelance ninja in your own country.

If you get certain amount of knowledge and skill in Japan, you can start your own business in your country, like training others.

4. Conclusion

If you want to know how to be a ninja, the answer is, go to the Koka Ninja Village and get certification.

However, if you are living in a foreign country, and if you are not good at Japanese, there are some things to do before coming to Japan.

In this case, I recommend you do basic training at first.

As basic training, you can do "physical training" and "language learning".

If you continue to do them both, you can get the base skill to be a ninja.

Especially, regarding Language, I recommend you to use this website, Lingual Ninja.

This web page provides lessons to learn Japanese from zero.

Also, this website includes many example sentences, which can be useful after you become a ninja.

I hope this website helps you to be an amazing ninja.
Thank you for reading this long article!


  1. I have always been crazy over Ninja, Samurai and Ultraman since I was a kid. So I need to learn Japanese well first to become a good Ninja. Otherwise I could be a Godzilla without any language. LOL

    1. Hahaha
      Yes, we can be a Godzilla easily! hehe

      Thank you always for your strong support!!