Ninjas are invariably portrayed in comic books and movies as dressed all in black, with only their eyes showing, using a Ninja Mask. This was not the case, though. The romanticized black clothing of the Ninjas comes from the Kabuki theater.
Real Ninjas wore dark navy blue clothing at night, and dressed to blend in with their enemies and targets the rest of the time, which was imminently sensible. The whole idea was stealth, subterfuge, and invisibility. Therefore, it was essential to blend in for successful missions in espionage and assassination.
Ninja Tools and Weapons:
Traditional Ninja tools and weapons included:
The bo and naginata---war staves and pikes; and
Martial arts like karate.
Special equipment such as the shuko, which is an iron hand-crampon used for climbing, and the tessen, a sharpened metal fan, were also utilized by Ninjas.
To correct a popular misconception: Ninjas did not use throwing stars.
Ninjutsu is a very practical art. If a technique, weapon or tactic is effective, then it is deemed acceptable for use.
The Eight Methods taught in many ryu, or Ninja schools were:
Blade throwing knives
Use of fire and water
Fortification and strategy
Many of the weapons used by Ninjas were modified farm implements or equipment like sickles, scythes, saws for cutting wood, pruning shears, and so on. Besides being plentiful and easy to obtain and modify for fighting, these weapons had the added advantage of subterfuge in that they didn’t give away a Ninja’s identity to the enemy.
There were a multitude of expert prisoners within the ranks of the Ninjas. Poison was sometimes secretly added to food, or applied to a dart or blade.
There were some clever Ninjas who disguised themselves as musical mystics, with flute in hand. The innocuous flute could then be used as a club or poisonous blow dart tube.