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Back in 2003, Ninja Burger created International Ninja Day on December 5 as a way to celebrate the Ninja “speed” with which their burgers are delivered. Aside from that, ninjas are awesome. We all love them and secretly wish we were one. On this day, wear a ninja mask to work to plague your co-workers with ninja-ness and throwing stars! Got the day off? Dress like a ninja at the mall or run wild in the streets.
History of International Ninja Day
It’s said that December 5 was chosen for the first International Ninja Day because the Tom Cruise movie “The Last Samurai,” which featured a ninja-vs-samurai battle, was released on that day. In the years since the celebration has grown and gained press in stages, its creators playing on the fascination Americans have always had for the black-clad assassins, from the original issues of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” back through swordplay-focused games like the old table-top “Dungeons and Dragons,” not to mention a slew of Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris films from the 60s and 70s.
But the satirical website and its creators’ motivations are secondary to the intention: December 5 is the one day a year where you won’t catch strange looks for saying “Haiii-yah!” as you swoop in and grab a donut out of the box in the meeting room. Get in fake-karate fights, throw paper clips as if they’re shuriken, heck, grab a cup of sake after work. On Day of the Ninja, you hold the key to the mystical power!
International Ninja Day timeline
The “Ninja Burger” site is created, purporting that a sect of noble ninjas has taken to delivering fast food anywhere, anytime.
The first International Ninja Day is celebrated, eventually to rival “Talk Like a Pirate Day” for the spotlight in terms of times to act goofy in public.
The 2nd edition of the “Ninja Burger” RPG is released, using Atomic Sock Monkey Press’ “prose descriptive qualities” (PDQ) ruleset.
G4 Network’s “Attack of the Show” replaces their regular host, Kevin with the “Ask a Ninja” ninja for one episode.
International Ninja Day FAQs
This sounds hilarious. Are there videos attached to the joke?
Yes. A quick online search will lead you to Ninja Burger’s vlog series, “Ask a Ninja,” among other sites and videos. You can also start with the official page, dayoftheninja.com.
What other materials are available?
There are comic strips, several short films, the above-mentioned role-playing game, a card game, a multimedia CD, and a book titled, “Ninja Burger Honorable Employee’s Handbook.” All are fun, but here’s an insider tip: start with the 2001 first-edition role-playing game and see what it reminds you of…
Are there many real ninjas around these days?
We don’t know for certain, but there are reports that suggest there are still one or two surviving ninjas left in Japan.
HOW TO CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL NINJA DAY
Take a martial arts class
Thinking of maximizing those natural ninja talents of yours? A couple of karate, judo, or ninjutsu classes can't hurt. Or can they?
Dress like a ninja
We think black sweats, headband, and hi-tops with a sleeveless black T would do the trick, sort of a “Mortal Kombat” look. But of course, your ninja costume will be unique. Don’t get caught!
Play the “Ninja Burger” RPG
In the 2nd edition, you can choose specific roles within the Ninja Burger franchise you’ll be working at, like “driver,” “baker,” and so on. Give it a go for the retro value.
FIVE AMAZING FACTS ABOUT REAL NINJAS
The first of his kind
The very first historically confirmed ninja was Otomono Sahiti, who worked as a spy under Japanese Prince Shotoku.
From the stories of old
In Japanese mythology, the first ninja was descended from the spirits and appeared as a half-man, half-crow.
“Those who cannot…”
In the year 1162, Japan’s first ninja school was founded when a fallen samurai decided not to kill himself as custom would dictate, but rather to spend his retirement teaching.
Last of a dying breed
According to Smithsonian’s research, an engineer named Jinichi Kawakami is likely the last living ninja and one who complains about teaching that students cannot try out murders or poisons.
Passed down through generations
Not unlike other tradesmen of their era, ninjas would pass their skills (in this case martial and espionage knowledge and methods) down to their sons and daughters, who would in turn teach their children, on down through time.
WHY WE LOVE INTERNATIONAL NINJA DAY
The word can be used as a compliment
In a sales office, you might hear someone speak of the top seller, “She’s our ninja.” Or if a friend of yours dropped something but caught it before it hit the ground, you might chuckle, “Ninja!” Comments like these are especially appropriate on December 5.
Ninjas are mysterious
Aside from the fun of the Ninja Burger satire, real ninjas inspire us the way the antihero or the underdog always does in film and in books. The image of the lone figure with a life-and-death job to do, it just speaks to us. Today, contemplate why that’s true.
It’s nice to let your guard down
It can be quite tiring and cause a lot of anxiety to keep up your “game face,” day in and day out. That’s why we talk about a holiday every single day here at National Today. “Let your hair down,” is a phrase we believe in, and there’s no better day to do so than International Ninja Day.
International Ninja Day dates