How ninjas went mainstream

  • Published on:  10/9/2018
  • Ninjas are overrat---just kidding, they’re amazing. But how did they become famous around the world?Check out Vintage Ninja to learn more: to our channel! this episode of Overrated, Vox’s Phil Edwards gets nunchucked in his heart by ninjas. But why are these secret killers known around the world?The history of ninjas is, fittingly, one with many hidden twists and turns. It starts with the real historical ninjas in feudal Japan, who really did practice what we call ninjutsu. Their mixture of espionage, assassination, and combat was similar to what ninja-fans might imagine, though the reality was more about traveling incognito than looking cool in a black jumpsuit.From there, the ninja quickly became a myth in Japanese culture, entering kabuki theatre as well as manga and novels of the time. Already, the exaggeration of the ninja in Japan had begun, a trend that continued with myth-making Japanese films that vaulted the imaginary ninja into public consciousness.Finally, the ninja traveled to the West from these Japanese films, first showing up in James Bond, and then becoming part of a ninja-sploitation trend. Soon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles proved the ninja was so famous it could take on postmodern incarnations.But nearly from the beginning, the ninja was as powerful an idea as a reality, a myth in both Japanese and western culture. And, perhaps most importantly, every version of the ninja — real or not — turned out to be awesome.Overrated is a series that takes a look at the things we all know — the books, the trends, and the ideas that have become iconic — and answers the question: “Why is this so famous"? is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out our full video catalog: Vox on Facebook: Twitter:


  • Zach Ryder
    Zach Ryder 10 months ago+1244

    Plot twist: Every country has ninjas, we only know about the Japanese's because they're the worst

  • Felipe Revuelta
    Felipe Revuelta 10 months ago+677

    First things, first RIP Jiraiya sensei.

  • Nicholas Nubin
    Nicholas Nubin 10 months ago+1377

    No Naruto references what a shame

  • brandon johnson
    brandon johnson 10 months ago+693

    Please do pirates

  • ElyssaAnderson
    ElyssaAnderson 10 months ago+322

    Being a Writing Ninja is hard. I'm so stealthy, no publishers or readers ever see my work. 😉

  • adarsh sirsat
    adarsh sirsat 10 months ago+1107

    Kage Bunshin no jutsu?

  • Harry Dean
    Harry Dean 10 months ago+302

    Fun fact: In Australia, people(mostly kids) first became obsessed with ninjas and samurai in the 1960s when a japanese show called The Samurai Braodcasted. It quickly gained massive cult followings in Australia and New Zealand and nowhere really else. When the main lead came to visit fans in Australia he was greeted by tens of thousands of people(once again mostly childen), more people than when the Beatles first came to Australia.

  • Haze Draco
    Haze Draco 10 months ago+832

    No... not the fortnite playing ninja...
    a real ninja

  • Bob Builder
    Bob Builder 10 months ago+303

    Teleports behind you nothing personal kid

  • Rei Ozawa
    Rei Ozawa 10 months ago+539

    "Why are ninjas such a big deal?"
    Not even a question to me.

  • TheFlauxPas
    TheFlauxPas 10 months ago+196

    Fun Fact: The name of the Turtles show was in Austria and Germany "Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles", because Ninja was to violent.

  • Versaucey
    Versaucey 10 months ago+602

    The only ninja we know and love is Justin Y.

  • maninredhelm
    maninredhelm 10 months ago+119

    I don't understand this video. All I see are a bunch of random landscape scenes and occasionally someone falling over dead for no reason.

  • incel destroyer
    incel destroyer 10 months ago+117

    Go ninja go ninja go

  • flopps135
    flopps135 10 months ago+221

    No mention of Naruto. sad :(

  • Findecanor
    Findecanor 10 months ago+26

    In real life, ninja was a role that a soldier took: going undercover to perform espionage, not a warrior class .
    BTW. "Ninjutsu" are the arts of espionage, not special martial arts, except for maybe a few dirty tricks. The martial arts are samurai arts. There is nothing magical about it, except for old-fashioned Japanese superstition.

  • Arafat Khan
    Arafat Khan 10 months ago+113

    Any naruto fans here?

  • Our Founding Liars
    Our Founding Liars 10 months ago+77

    Justin Y comes to mind

  • Richard Indi
    Richard Indi 10 months ago+47

    Ask a ninja.
    I'm old.

  • Unsaidrumble The man of 1000 worlds

    KAGE BuUsHin No JuTSu