Samurai vs. Ninja
While both Japanese samurais 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 stem from one historical story. A man, Prince Yamato, disguised himself as a woman and was able to lure two men enough to let their guard down. Once they were comfortable Yamato murdered both men with a sword. 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 and militia in Japan’s culture. Perhaps part of this outlook was the samurai’s 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 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 covering their legs, their arms, and torso, with a metal helmet as well. Because a ninja was meant to be kept secretive, these men wore a ninja-yoroi. This outfit was all black covering their legs arms, and even head, all that was intended to show was the eyes of the ninja. Their coverings were meant to help hide them in at night. Some also believe that the ninja was fully covered because they were not a high class mercenary, like a samurai, and they did not need to be seen.
The samurai and ninja are different on most levels. Each was used for a different form of attack, dressed different, and were of different classes. Yet the beliefs of both seem to stem from one man’s historical actions.
1.Both samurai and ninjas were mercenary warriors. A samurai was of an elite class and the ninja was considered of a low class.
2.Both samurai and ninja recognize the historical tale of Prince Yamato as the beginning of samurai and warrior ways.
3.The samurai utilized weapons for hand to hand combat, including the samurai sword. The ninja preferred to use a sneak attack on his opponents, but would use smaller weapons like the ninja star.
4.Samurai wore metal clad suits of armor. Ninjas wore black outfits of cloth covering all but their eyes.