People of Japan gearing up to celebrate “National Ninja Day”, on February 22!

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Ninjas are an integral part of Japan’s history and culture. Acting as mercenaries in feudal Japan, they were originally hired to carry out covert operations, such as espionage and assassination. Unlike the samurai’s penchant for open and fair combat, the ninja are known to be masters of stealth and surprise attacks. A stock character in the western pop culture, they are often portrayed as masked crime-fighters, blessed with superhuman powers, like flight, the ability to walk on water and even invisibility. What is more, come Sunday, the entire country will come together to celebrate what is being called the “National Ninja Day”.

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Though not an official holiday, the occasion aims to acknowledge the status enjoyed by ninja as historical and cultural icons. For those wondering, the date “2/22” is quite significant. It based on a clever play of words, involving the number two, which in Japanese, is called “ni”. In addition to its obvious connection with the “ni” of ninja, the sound refers to the Japanese word “Shinobu”, meaning stealth, endurance or patience. Leading the celebrations are the cities of Iga and Kōka. The Iga province and neighboring Kōka, both located in present-day Mie Prefecture, were two of the major regions with rampant ninja activity, back in 16th and 17th centuries.

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While the “Ninja Day” itself is quite new, the country is looking to promote the holiday through widespread media coverage. A number of banners and posters, referring to the occasion, have also been set up in places across Japan. Recently, the employees of Kōka’s city hall came to work, dressed in traditional shinobi outfits. With several ninja-related events having already taken place since the beginning of this month, the people of Japan are currently gearing up for a spectacular finale on February 22.

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Via: Kotaku

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