How the Mysterious Mythology of the Japanese Ninja Became So Popular Within Western Culture

In an enigmatic video essay for the Vox series Overrated, host Phil Edwards takes a look at how the mythology of the mysterious Japanese ninja so pervaded Western culture despite the highly secretive nature of these traditionally trained assassins. Edwards also takes a look at how the public concept of ninjas has evolved over many years, right up to the point where it has become well embedded within the lexicon of the English language.

In this episode of Overrated, Vox’s Phil Edwards gets nunchucked in his heart by ninjas. But why are these secret killers known around the world? ….But nearly from the beginning, the ninja was as powerful an idea as a reality, a myth in both Japanese and western culture. And, perhaps most importantly, every version of the ninja — real or not — turned out to be awesome.