With a lifetime’s worth of ninja-geekery and ten years of material to draw from on this site, we celebrate VintageNinja‘s TENTH ANNIVERSARY with this exhaustive historical timeline of the 1980s worldwide ninja craze. The first nuggets to escape Japan in the 1960s. The pioneers of the 1970s. The absolute explosion of the character idiom in the 1980s. The boom’s premature end and the post-craze re-defining of it all in the 90s.

The martial artists. The movie moguls. The books, magazines and comics. The toys, the games, hell… the perfume. There wasn’t a corner of popular culture ninja didn’t infiltrate commando-style in the 80s and we tried to net it all here year-by-year.

Click the image above or here for a Master-Ninja’s Degree in how a black-hooded pop culture volcano swells, erupts and cools to form lands anew.

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Curator of this site Keith J. Rainville is a Los Angeles-based graphic designer, marketer and entertainment industry consultant with special interest in all things ninja, 70s and 80s sci-fi-fi, vintage toys, Mexican horror and lucha libre. He's had screenplays turned into theatrical features, multiple books published, vet of the comic book, animation and toy industries, but cannot for the life of him make a throwing star stick in a board.