Costume and Camouflage
Costume and Camouflage


When ninja were at home they wore the same clothes as warriors, but if they had to go on a mission they wore a black costume like you see in the movies. When ninja returned home with information, they thought it would be better to wear clothes That didn’t stand out. The outerlayer of their outfit was tea color or kaki color (Japanese persimmon) and the inner lining was black or grey. In the inside part of the outfit was a special pocket where they put Shikoro, a small double edged-saw, a hand towel or other long and narrow things. The chest area was protected by the copper mirrors, oiled paper, paper treated with astringent persimmon juice and Japanese paper. All that material was bullet proof. Ninja invented different tools to protect themselves from the enemy. If we look at the costume of ninja we can feel all their knowledge and wisdom.


As well as black clothes, clothes of other colors (known as the seven disguises of the ninja) were made especially for the cases when they went to gather information. With those clothes they could pretend to be a Renga poet or Biwa Hoshi. Biwa Hoshi, also known as “lute priests” were travelling performers in the era of Japanese history preceding the Meiji period. Ninja also learned how to play shakuhachi (a bamboo flute), to read sutra, to do magic tricks and to speak in local dialects. In order not to look suspicious, ninja did a lot of training.

In order not to look suspicious ninja travelled, and gathered information while selling various merchandise.
Ninja performed magic tricks. It was a good camouflage from their enemies.
(A Komuso was a Japanese mendicant monk of the Fuke school of Zen Buddhism.)
They wore braided hat and could hide their faces.
Monks were not suspicious at all. Ninja asked for alms and gathered information.
Yamabushi (mountain priest)
Monks were not suspicious at all.
Sarugakushi (actors)
Noh actors were popular during that period. Daimyou who liked the art of Sarugaku invited actors to their homes and ninja had a great opportunity to explore the enemy’s house.
The commoner disguise looked like normal clothes. They call it a "reversible kimono". Ninja wore it to escape from the enemy and disappear in the crowd.