Fact from Fiction: Shinobi vs Ninja

At signings, I’m often asked why I refer to my ninja detective, Hattori Hiro (or Hiro Hattori to those who put surnames last), as a “shinobi” instead of a “ninja.” The answer is simple: the two are one and the same. Many Japanese words are written using Kanji, or characters, originally borrowed from Chinese. In Japanese, the word many English speakers pronounce as “ninja” looks like this: The Chinese pronunciation of those characters is “nin sha” – from which the English language derives the word “ninja.” That pronunciation is used in Japan, but more often, the Japanese pronounce those characters

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