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Can a ninja follow the code of bushido, and still be considered a Ninja?

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Can a ninja follow the code of bushido, and still be considered a Ninja?

Post by Artless_Artist on Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:37 pm

Alright; so through my random mind, i came up with a character who is a ninja that follows the code of bushido...and while i was creating him...

Could a ninja follow the bushido; and still be considered ninja?

After all; the code of the Bushido is: Moral Righteousness, Courage, Benevolence, Respect, Honesty/Complete Sincerity, Honor, and Loyalty in that order.

And, while Ninja might be able to follow maybe one, or two; there are several that i think might conflict with a ninja's core being, which a secretive, dishonest occupation, conflicting with the code. 

What does everyone else think?

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Re: Can a ninja follow the code of bushido, and still be considered a Ninja?

Post by Riley Oran on Wed Apr 16, 2014 2:33 pm

I think that this is an interesting topic of conversation. 

Before we start with this, we should probably look at what a Samurai (follower of Bushido) is versus a samurai. A samurai was a warrior that worked for the ruling class of Japan (or the rich). They followed Bushido even during combat, according to historical records. They weren't mercenaries, and typically loyal to a single individual or governing body. They almost always came from the upper class. 

The Ninja typical came from the poorer classes-- farmers, peasants, ect. They had no set code of ethics, and were total mercenaries that may have existed as early as the twelfth century. Later, they became covert operatives of the many Japanese governments that warred for control(around the fifteenth century). They primarily used sabotage, infiltration, and assassination to get the job done.

While Ninja had no set code of ethics, being secretive doesn't necessarily mean you are dishonorable. Rather, the way it is presented makes me think that going behind a person's back is dishonorable, but not in a way the implications things such as "righteous theft" where a person takes something back, though that is a morality issue and up to debate and interpretation.

In fact, only the first tenant of the code can be debated, since moral righteousness varies from places to people to whole groups. Without being romanticized, it is entirely possible that a ninja could exist who acts stealthily yet is courageous, benevolent, respectful, honest, honorable, and loyal. It might be a struggle finding a good balance, but not beyond reason. 

There are several shinobi manuals that exist, however. Most of which were published between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. A very popular example is the Bansenshukai (1676). Most of what we believe about ninja is based on the folklore surrounding them instead of actual facts that can be derived from works like these (as I'm sure you know).

That's my take on it, anyway.

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