Culture and Society

What kind of clothes did ninja wear?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. The ninja were Japanese warriors who prided themselves on stealth, secrecy and deception. Their clothing, though simple in concept, embodied some of those considerations. The usual ninja uniform, known as a ninja-yoroi (ninja armor), included a black shirt or jacket, black pants, and a black hood that covered the head and lower part of the face, leaving just the eyes visible. Not only would the attire have looked fearsome to opponents, but it would also have made the ninja harder to spot at night. Some ninja would put on light armor underneath their shirts, and some wore black uniforms with red accents to conceal any blood drawn by an enemy (again looking for any edge that would help them deceive their foes). In snowy conditions, the ninja may have worn white uniforms, and if one of the warriors wanted to get information or blend easily into a crowd, he'd disguise himself as a dancer, baker, merchant, farmer or priest in order to look like an ordinary person.

    Thanks to Hollywood and history, it's probably no secret that ninja warriors followed up their effective clothing choices with a stunning array of weaponry. First and foremost, the ninja had a number of weapons, such as the ninja-to (the short, iconic sword they wore on their backs), brass knuckles, tiger claws, short knives, knives mounted on bamboo poles, blow guns and throwing stars known as shuriken. Although the stars were not particularly accurate, they served to delay any pursuer brave enough to chase a ninja. Some of their other equipment could be thought of as very early James Bond and included foot spikes, rope ladders, grappling hooks, sharp tacks, smoke bombs, hollow tubes to be used for breathing underwater, one-person boats that could be folded and healing herbs in case the ninja suffered an injury.

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