The Ninja Hierachy and Roles

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Ninjas were sometimes the opposing force of the samurai. And while some samurai were also ninja, the code that governed ninjas was ninjutsu, not bushido. Yet, this didn’t mean that a ninja organisation lacked order.

Kunoichi, female ninja, disguise as geisha (illustration purposes)

Hierachy of a Ninja Organisation

The general structure of a ninja organisation is headed by the jonin (literally ‘high ninja’), followed by some chunin (‘middle ninja’). Finally, under each chunin were several genin (‘low ninja’).

Ninjas usually receive their missions from feudal lords. Depending on the mission, jonin would pick chunin to choose necessary manpower from the genin. If the mission requires small units, the group of ninja would be less structured. On the other hand, other ninja groups deployed, may be structured like the army. The leader would then likely be called the ‘general’, rather than jonin.

The Roles of Male and Female Ninja

Most ninjas are portrayed as men, but there certainly were women ninja as well. However, the roles of male and female ninja differed vastly.

Male ninja, also known as shinobi, partook in dangerous professions that resulted in fatalities. For example, assasinations. While female ninja, known as kunoichi, were spies who gathered information through seduction or the disguise as a household servant of the enemy. Thusfar, there are no historical evidence of any kunoichi who did assasination missions.

Logen L.

Photo retrieved from Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/90933305@N00/64756990/