Genichi Mitsuhashi becomes the first-ever person to graduate with a master’s degree in Ninja Studies.
Mie University in central Japan started the first-in-kind center of study entirely devoted to the Ninjas in 2017. By the next year, a master’s degree was introduced. The university is located in Iga – 350 kilometers (220 miles) southwest of Tokyo which was once home to actual, living ninjas.
Like other Master’s degrees, Mitsuhashi, 45, spent two years of extensive studying and fine-tuning his martial arts skills to graduate with an exotic degree. He shared in addition to indulging in the study of Ninja History, he made it a point to cultivate the heart of a Ninja.
“I read that ninjas worked as farmers in the morning and trained in martial arts in the afternoon,” he told Agence France Presse. He would do that same, grow veggies, and shed sweat with lessons in the classroom. “With this combination, I thought I could learn about the real ninja,” he said.
Genichi Mitsuhashi is now pursuing a Ph.D. while running a small inn. Being a Kung Fu and Shorinji Kempo (Japanese martial arts) he teaches ‘ninja skills’ at his own Dojo.
Yuji Yamada, a professor of Japanese History at Mie University is in charge of the Ninja Studies course, speaks highly of his student who just graduated. He said while they provide extensive material to learn about the lives of the Ninjas, he did not expect this much dedication like Mitsuhashi, who was literally living like one.
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Real Ninjas were no Ding-Ding Ding
Ninjas are that to Japan what is probably Superman to the West. In Ninja’s case, it is just more ancient and alluring? Roughly, 15th Century Japan started to see the rise of specially trained mercenaries (a kind of waged worker) during the Sengoku period. It was a time of vehement social upheavals in Japan. The times were chaotic.
These Mercenaries were known for their extreme strength and agility. They could launch a surprise attack at lightning speed, were clean at espionage and deception. At times supernatural powers were attached to them including having control over natural elements. They were most active in Japan’s Iga province, where the Mie university is located. The majority of the conclusions about Ninjas are drawn from the folklores and anecdotes of this region.
By the time Japan saw the advent of another social system — this time a military government — the Ninjas started to fade into oblivion. When Monarchy was again restored in Japan during the Meiji restoration, the Ninjas was a topic of imagination and mystery.
Most of the otherworldly capabilities of Ninjas were associated with them during this time. Consequently, the heroic image of the Ninjas in the pop culture (Ninja Hattori) was drawn mostly based on the hearsay and legends of the restoration period, then their reality of the Sengoku period.
Professor Yamada who presides over the Ninja Studies center of Mie University says there is the demand for the course, but he makes a point to remind that this course is meant to learn about the Ninjas, not to become one.
Here’s an episode of Ninja Hattori for you. now that you have read about the real ones.
What do you think about the graduation course? The professor also told quite a few international inquiries have come. Would you like to apply?