Prided on its stealth and array of ceremonial rituals, the Ninja were feared and respected in equal measure. The Ninja legend lives on in fictional action heroes of B-movies, comics and computer games.
But even in Japan today, any association with the Ninja ancestry is regarded as shameful - as opposed to the blemish-free image of the loyal Samurai.
This new and exclusive one-off documentary unearths the true history, unique military skills and ancient traditions behind the infamous Ninja, a small band of rebellious Japanese mountain villagers, who struck fear into ordinary people's lives and were a constant thorn in the side of the battle-hardened Samurai warrior clans.
Then there's the intriguing story of Ninja Tanba, who was trained by his grandfather to become one of the most feared warriors in ancient Japan. Ninja: Shadow Warriors follows Tanba's life from boyhood to old age with the help of historic re-enactments, elaborate costumes and original Ninja weapons, supported by incredible CG animation.
Featured experts include UK and Japanese historians as well as the exclusive appearance of Master Kawakami, one of the last (if not only) surviving masters, who demonstrates the unrivalled tricks the Ninja used to fool their enemies.