Ninjas vs. Samurai
    Samurai and ninjas have long been a part of what has made Japanese culture unique and awesome. These two warriors that lived during ancient Japanese times may seem like the same thing to most people, but actually there are a number of differences between samurai and ninjas.

    One of the major differences between the samurai and the ninja is who they exactly are. Samurai were warriors that belonged to the noble classes of ancient Japanese society. On the other hand, ninjas were often mercenaries, spies, and assassins, and would often belong to the lower classes of ancient Japanese society. This is the reason for the second difference between the samurai and the ninja. Because of the fact that they are part of nobility, samurai warriors are often depicted wearing full clad kimonos, (kim-oh-nose) which is the traditional attire of the ancient Japanese. (It basically looks like a dress, no offense to anyone who wears a kimono...) Ninjas are often clothed in relatively tighter clothing and tend to be fully clothed, with only their eyes showing. Also, the outfits of samurai warriors are colorful with symbols and pictures on them, while ninja outfits are often plain black in color. Another major difference between the samurai and the ninja is the manner on how they fight. Samurai are guided by an ancient code of ethics which is called the bushido. (boo-shee-daw) That being the case, they make sure that they stick to certain rules even while they are in combat. In contrast, ninjas do not follow any code of ethics when they fight, so their fighting style is considered to be unorthodox. In fact, the way ninjas fight is the complete opposite of samurai. For instance, samurai find it more honorable to fight face to face. Ninjas specialize in ambush, espionage, sabotage, infiltration and assassination. This is why ninjas use a variety of different weapons that samurai do not use such as the ninja stars.

    Finally, there is the difference on who they fight for. Samurai are often warriors who served the emperor during the period when feudalism was the form of government in Japan. Samurai also often worked until the very end without asking for a fee. Ninjas serve pretty much anyone and everyone who was willing to pay their price. In modern days, they are thought to be like hired gunmen and assassins whose fighting skills are used to kill rivals.
While both Japanese samurai and ninjas may seem similar, their differences are great. Both were widely used in Japanese history, but for entirely different reasons. Oddly enough however, both the history of the samurai and of the ninja come from one historical story. A man, Prince Yamato, disguised himself as a woman and was able to persuade two men to let their guard down. Once they were comfortable, Yamato murdered both men with a sword. (We won't go into detail here...) While the definition of a ninja or samurai does not include the female disguise they both recognize the actions of Prince Yamato to be the start of their warrior ways.

    A samurai warrior is of an elite class developed in the Japanese military around 794 A.D. These men were viewed above all other warriors in Japanese culture. Perhaps part of this outlook was the samurais adherence to a high code of honor called the Bushido, or the fact that their loyalty was to their master, typically a high government official. The samurai is different from a ninja because a ninja is a low class mercenary, seen in history as far back as the 15th century. Ninjas were also not considered a high class warrior, rather a low class recruit paid for their quiet existence by anyone who could hire them. Both the samurai and the ninja were experts with different Japanese weapons. The samurai was skilled in using the spear, bow and arrows, and the sword named for these warriors, the samurai sword. It was known that a samurai was used for quick and effective hand to hand combat with any weapon available. A ninja however, used a different form of attack. While ninjas had a weapon for their attacks, the ninja star, they was not sent out for hand to hand combat. They performed their duties in secret, and were better known for sneaking up on someone for a surprise assassination, or having great espionage skills.

Naturally, since the warriors had different tasks and different methods of performing these tasks, their clothing was also different. A samurai, as a high class warrior, wore full body suits of armor. These suits were made of metal plates tied together with leather or silk straps, and covered their legs, their arms, and their torso. They also had a metal helmet. Because a ninja was meant to be kept secretive, these men dressed different, had different weapons, and were of different classes.

Comparing Diagram


-Belonged to the lower status of Japanese society and follow an unorthodox style of fighting.
-Hired mercenaries that would be willing to serve anyone who is willing to pay them their asking price in return for their services.
-Preferred sneak attacks, and smaller weapons such as Ninja Stars.
-Wore black outfits of cloth covering all but their eyes.


-Noblemen that followed the bushido code when they engaged in combat.

-Warriors that serve the ruling emperor without requiring a fee for their services.
-Considered an elite class.
-Use hand-to-hand combat weapons, including Samurai Swords.
-Wore metal clad suits of armor.


-Ninjas and Samurai were both warriors of Japan.
-Ninjas and Samurai were both feared by many villages because of their ability to plunder and kill.