Ninja vs. Samurai

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Difference between Ninja and Samurai

We've all seen action movies, like karate kid, fist of fury, Bruce Lee, etc. We have all wondered at one point or another, what the difference is between a samurai and a ninja? Who is a better fighter? Where do they fall in far eastern history? Samurai and ninjas are both warriors, trained to fight their enemies using unique fighting tactics. Each warrior has his own unique fighting strategy; they both are well recognized in Japan's history. However, this is where all similarities end. Samurais and ninjas, have different objectives, social status, and vary in popularity.


Social Status

Samurais were well respected warriors in Japan's history. They were honorable warriors, who believed in honor and originated basically from the upper class in the Japanese society. Samurais were known to be an elite class of warriors. On the other hand, ninjas were considered mysterious assassins who were recruited from lower class citizens, they were trained and hired to assassinate people; they specialized in espionage and trickery. Unlike samurais, ninjas don't believe in fighting with honor.


Ninjas throughout Japanese history were not as popular as the samurai. Since ninjas were recruited from lower Japanese societies, Japanese people throughout history had little or no admiration for ninjas; therefore, little or no historical data is available on ninjas. On the other hand, samurais were highly admired by Japanese people and there are countless references to samurais in Japan's historical archives.

Fighting Style

If a ninja and a samurai were to go head to head, a samurai will win hands down. This is because a samurai is far better trained at combat than a ninja would be. Being a samurai is not only being a warrior, but being a samurai is way of lifestyle. A samurai eats, breaths, and basically lives according the customs of samurai. To simplify this: a ninja is trained to stab it's victims in the back, while a samurai is trained to win combat face to face. 

Good and Evil

Samurais were considered good, because they fought with honor, and always lived their life according to the code of a samurai. While a ninja was considered evil because a ninja was often involved in espionage, trickery, back stabbing, etc. throughout history good has mostly prevailed over evil, therefore, good has had the upper hand.

Similarities and Differences

  • Ninjas and samurais are not fictions characters; they really did exist in Japan at one point in time- and perhaps still do.
  • Samurais are considered an elite class of honorable Japanese warriors, while ninjas are considered to be dishonorable lower class warriors/assassins.
  • Samurais have rich history behind them, because they were well admired throughout the Japanese history due to their social status, while ninjas were ignored literally, and not much historical data exists about them.
  • Samurais are far better trained than a ninja, since samurais come from an elite class of warriors; much more attention is vested in proper training and skill development. While ninjas come from lower class society, not much emphasis is put on training; therefore, a samurai can easily defeat a ninja.
  • A samurai is considered a good warrior, while a ninja is considered evil.

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