What’s a ‘Shinobi’ Anyway?

Ninja fans will already know the answer to this one, but for those not already in the know:

The word “ninja” comes from a Japanese word which is written using Kanji, or characters, borrowed from the Chinese. The Chinese pronunciation of the characters is “nin sha”  – or “ninja” in the Western derivation.

The Chinese pronunciation is sometimes also used in Japan, but the native Japanese pronunciation of the characters is “shinobi.

TL;DR: A Shinobi is a Ninja.

Bamboo 2

The different pronunciations enable me to offer the entertaining explanation that shinobi is “the Japanese word for ninja.” (Think about it for a minute. You’ll get the joke.)

Did you know that Shinobi and Ninja meant the same thing? Do you have a favorite foreign word or unique translation you enjoy? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

3 thoughts on “What’s a ‘Shinobi’ Anyway?

  • January 5, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    Learn something new everyday 🙂 . I did not know the two were actual synonyms.

  • January 5, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    wait a minute… they are not synonyms… just the same word pronounced differently depending on the language… Faaaaaancy!

    • January 5, 2013 at 11:28 pm

      Exactly! Even better than synonyms!

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