Wednesday, June 24, 2009


For what is a city but an opportunity? There are ninja here in NYC. At night they speckle the skyline silhouette, tiny dark figures, nearly invisible, crouching, darting, killing beneath the moonlight, the neon signs and the skyscrapers. Of course, we hardly ever see them and their existence hasn’t been proven, but I believe they are here, working as they did in centuries past, assassinating.

Yeah...when I first heard about ninja in NYC, I was just as critical as you're probably being right now. The whole idea seems ridiculous at first!

The main problem is public perception of ninja. Because of pop culture, ninja do not seem like historical figures. They are as fictional and ridiculous as Mickey Mouse or Captain Planet. It is easy to forget that ninja, like pirates, were once real and could always be real, as much as we've saturated them with fiction and legend.

I’ll tell you right now, there is no definite proof of ninja on these streets. And in a city where myths and legends run rampant, you've always got to cast a doubtful eye on even the tamest of rumors. But still, I assure you, there are ninja in our nights. How do I know? I don’t. But I have thought a lot about the subject and now…well I may not know anything still, but I believe. And I'm just a normal guy from Manhattan--I am not a nut!

Some people point to the lack of solid evidence. First and foremost, if there were real ninja in NYC, there wouldn’t be any solid evidence. If there were hoaxing goons running around in ninja costumes, the number of sightings would be off the charts.

Of course, there are some sightings; ninja twittering along telephone wires, scaling buildings like spiders, darting across rooftops, whooshing by windows—and all sorts of extraordinary in between. Some tales are, understandably, more credible than others. I’ve talked with many of these witnesses first hand, (the interviews which I'll include in later posts) and some of them are indeed frauds—there’s no doubt about it—but others are…respectable people in deathly earnest.
The diversity of the eyewitnesses, from a thirty five year old female teacher, to a fifty four year old Queens plumber, to four eighty-year old black gentlemen playing cards on their porch, is a great argument for the legitimacy of the ninja argument. Are these people lying? Why would they? No, they are sincere—they are just normal people--they are not nuts! Sightings are rare; as of now, there have only been a handful of them. The city has nearly 8 million people in it. That's what I call good stealth! As for myself, I have never seen a ninja. But, we’ll get to that. This is all just so fantastic.

Another reassuring fact is how the first witnesses never used the word “ninja.” "Darkly clad men" were seen atop roofs. "Darkly clad men" were seen lying flat on fire escapes. "Darkly clad men" were seen curled up beneath water towers. “Ninja” were never mentioned. It was only over time, that people started thinking.

Here's what we sort of know. In Japan, there exist many phony ninjutsu schools that claim authenticity. But the real ninjustu schools claim nothing, because nobody even knows about them. These schools have koryuu origins, which means they’ve descend from the real deal—the true ninja families of old. These are not cheesy rip offs where they teach students how to do fancy flips. The graduating students are as deadly as ninjutsu is deadly—as deadly as the ninja from history books were deadly. This sounds fanciful, but it is all fact. From generation to generation the training and skills and knowledge of true stealth and assassination were passed down. And the ninja never died out—they only stopped working.

It’s anyone’s guess why the ninja, who first appeared in fourteenth century feudal Japan, have been inoperable for so long . One can only assume that the changing time’s forced them out of business and complacency kept them out; the Japanese are very conservative. But look at our city. Really, look at it closely and tell me there isn’t an opportunity. Tell me there isn’t a market for ninja out there in our corrupt city! Nobody hiring for assassination, espionage, and sabotage these days? Not in this economy? No mafia, corrupt business men, or even more corrupt politicians to speak of?

The issue then is not whether modern day ninja possess a reason to exist, but whether modern day ninja can exist. A lot has changed since the fourteenth century. How would ninja operate in a mega metropolis like NYC? The answer to this question, at least the one I’ve come up with, may surprise you. Ninja would operate even more efficiently in a current urban setting than they would in Old Japan.

I understand that this is going to be a tough pill for many of you New Yorkers to swallow, but I'll fully explain myself in upcoming posts. I've got about seven great reasons why shinobi would thrive within the Big Apple. Until then, try to think of the reasons yourself.

One more thing, if any of you out there have seen ninja (and NO HOAXERS ALLOWED) please contact me, or send your pictures or videos and I'll include them on the blog for the benefit of the New York people. Thank you. Keep your eyes open out there and maybe we'll get to the bottom of this thing together. (Note: Pay special attention to the fire escapes and go down any and all dark alleys you can find, unless you have enemies.)

And, oh yeah, I'm not crazy! Start talking to your neighbors and maybe you'll see just how many people are starting to believe...that there are ninja in New York.

-- Manhattan Joe

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