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  • Ninja are awesome.

  • Mysterious shadow figures appearing in a split second, neutralizing a megalomaniacal feudal lord with some exotic contraption, and vanishing into the darkness immediately after.

    神祕的影子人物,在一瞬間出現。用一些異國情調的裝置制服一個自大狂的封建領主。 並緊接著消失在黑暗中。

  • Great movie material, no doubt.


  • But what sounds good doesn't have to be true.


  • Ninja are known all around the world, but most of what we believe to know about them is misrepresented, made up, or simply a lie.


  • That starts with the name.


  • Two characters: "endure" or "hide", and "person", which can be read in two different ways.

    兩個字。"忍 "或 "藏 "和 "人",可以用兩種不同的方式來讀。

  • "Ninja", by far the dominant one, likely for Western audience pronunciation reasons,

    "忍者",到目前為止占主導地位,可能是由於西方觀眾的發音原因。或 "Shinobi no mono",簡稱:"Shinobi"。

  • or "shinobi no mono", in short, "shinobi", which had been, until the 1950s, the clear standard reading.


  • Doesn't mean that ninja is wrongboth readings are legitimatebut that ninja, in the time they actually existed, were barely ever called ninja.

    這並不意味著 "忍者 "是錯誤的 --兩種讀法都是合法的 - 但是,在他們實際存在的時候,忍者幾乎沒有被稱為忍者。

  • I, by the way, say ninja with no "-s" in the plural form because in Japanese, singular and plural, usually identical.


  • In other languages, one can certainly use an "-s"; I just don't.


  • So much for the name, now we should maybe learn what it stands for.


  • Turns out, not so easy.


  • Because official ninja, who, after passing their ninja exam, would receive a ninja ID from their local ninja office, never existed.

  • The maybe most sensible definition of ninja would be:


  • "A person who, in the Japan of the Sengoku and the Edo era, used special skills for convert intelligence gathering and combat."

  • Simplified: "historical, Japanese secret special operatives".


  • Activities include: Espionage, infiltration, arson, sabotage, general adversary confusion, assassinations, and, very simply, eavesdropping and telling.

  • The reason the list's so long is that the term ninja is used for very different groups, from underclass mercenary to shougun guard, from provincial resistance fighter to regime informer.


  • Only similarities being the execution of covert operations and the ninja myth resulting from all of these groups.


  • One part of that myth is the typical black uniform from head to toe, with only the eyes left uncovered.


  • On first glance, pretty useful.


  • Covert operation is usually at night, so black uniform for staying unseen.


  • But ninja also operated during they day, where that kind of camouflage quickly sticks out.

    但忍者也在白天行動,這種 "偽裝 "很快就會被發現。

  • I can see you, mate.

  • Like hell you do!

  • In reality, only one instance of such a black uniform is documented, which puts it just above nonexistent.

    在現實中,只有一個這樣的黑色制服的例子被記錄下來,這使得它僅高於 "不存在"。

  • Real, typical ninja clothes would be simple dark peasant or monk outfits.


  • That way, you're hard to spot at night and blend in during the day.


  • Like the uniform, the most famous ninja weapon, the throwing star⏤"shuriken" in Japanese, is more story than history.

    像制服一樣,最著名的忍者武器--投擲星,日本的 "shuriken"。是故事多於歷史。

  • Shuriken means all kinds of throwing objects that can distract or harm an enemy in a fight.


  • Generally, those came in various shapes, but longer, pointy ones were more effective than star-shaped ones.


  • And in the few cases they'd actually come into use, they were carried by openly fighting samurai, not ninja.


  • When your main objective is to stay hidden, you don't start hurling christmas decorations at enemies.


  • And since we're

    既然我們是--嗯 -

  • And since we're already talking about fighting,


  • ninjutsuthe "nin" of ninja plus "jutsu", techniqueis, in contrast to all claims, not a martial art, but simply an umbrella term for skills helpful in covert operations.

    忍術--"忍者 "的 "忍"+"術":技術--與所有主張相反。不是國術。 但這只是一個總稱,指的是有助於祕密行動的技能。

  • These are documented for posterity in a handful of manuals, which feature, aside from disguises, infiltration techniques, and more or less helpful equipment,


  • also lots of esoteric nonsense that has nothing at all to do with what ninja did.


  • In the seventh lunar month, the lucky days are the Horse and the Hare.

  • Dude.


  • There are two types of ninja in this world.


  • The historical ninja, without a single, unbroken tradition, made up of all kinds of different groups that, in secret, infiltrated, scouted out, and burned down castles,


  • and, thanks to 400 years of romantization, commercialization, and artistic distortion, the pop-culture ninja, flying above the rooftops in his black uniform, pelting enemies with throwing stars.


  • Every ninja has a right to exist.

    每個忍者都有權利存在 --"請你離開鏡頭,好嗎?

  • Can you get out of the shot, please?


  • Thanks a bunch.

  • As long as you don't forget that the ninja on the silver screen doesn't share much more with the ninja in history books than the name.


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