Blogs » J.Q. Tomanek of Victoria » The ninja disguised as a three year old


In our house, constant vigilance is key. Not so much for us as parents, rather the siblings have to have one eye on what they are doing and the other eye searching like the lidless eye of Sauron for the three foot ninja.

Image (Yes, those are underwear he is using for headwear. I promise they are clean.)

It makes you jump. My wife and I are settling down for the evening watching “The Biggest Loser” or “Bones” and out of nowhere this shadow moves. Like Gandalf’s bag of party tricks, he appears with the thunder of “Ha-cha.” As if my wife and I were confused as to what could be a “ha-cha,” we are informed by the next sentence, “I am a ninja.” I am glad he wants to be a ninja, after they wear black and if he wants to be a fire fighting, airplane piloting, paratrooping priest, he will have to get used to blacks duds. Perhaps we need to educate him that ninjas are not really right acting and a better historically honorable defender would be the samurai.

And so the of the samurai, like the priest, is a warrior. Both use the bushido. The former wants to protect the weak from physical harm and the latter to protect the weak from spiritual harm. Like chivalry, bushido is a way of acting in defense, as a gentleman, and with education. Both are on guard because the coward or the devil prowl around seeking someone to devour. The list of virtues of bushido are here.

With a short note from St. Francis Xavier to St. Ignatius of Loyola the culture of the Japanese people has been summed up quite nicely: “In the first place, the nation with which we have had to do here surpasses in goodness any of the nations lately discovered. I really think that among barbarous nations there can be none that has more natural goodness than the Japanese. They are of a kindly disposition, not at all given to cheating, wonderfully desirous of honour and rank. Honour with them is placed above everything else. There are a great many poor among them, but poverty is not a disgrace to any one. There is one thing among them of which I hardly know whether it is practised anywhere among Christians. The nobles, however poor they may be, receive the same honour from the rest as if they were rich.” This was written around the early to mid 1500s and what a culture to have witnessed!

Now if I can only find a bushido master so that my son can take samurai lessons. Trust me, we will only use wooden katanas. I think finding a yoroi for a three year old will be quite the challenge.