1. What images spring to mind when you hear the country Japan?
2. What are the good things and bad things about Japan?
3. What is Japan famous for in your country?
4. Would you like to visit Japan, or live there?
5. When is the best time to visit Japan?
6. Who are the most famous Japanese people you know?
7. What do you think about Japanese fashion, music, movies and manga?
8. What is your idea of a typical Japanese person?
9. What do you know about Japanese food?
In this episode of Overrated, Vox’s Phil Edwards gets nunchucked in his heart by ninjas. But why are these
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.