Ninja History Student Gets Top Marks for Writing Essay in Invisible Ink

A Japanese student of ninja history was recently commended by her teacher for handing in a blank sheet of paper on an assignment that required her to write an essay on ninjas.

Ninjas were famous for their covert operations, so when Eimi Haga’s ninja history teacher at Mie University asked her to write an essay about a visit to the Ninja Museum of Igaryu, she decided to do it in a way that would reflect her passion for everything ninja. Plus, the teacher said he would reward students for creativity, so she had extra motivation to come up with something that would make her assignment stand out. Her essay was so ingenious that it left even her teacher scratching his head for a while.

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Beware the Shadows, Ninja Day Is Coming!

If you happen to be in Japan this Sunday, chances are you’ll be seeing a lot more ninjas than usual. That’s because February 22nd is National Ninja Day in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Although not yet an official holiday, Ninja Day has been getting a lot of media attention in Japan, ever since the cities of Iga and Koka started organizing ninja-themed events to boost tourism. Both historical ninja strongholds, they feature a variety of themed attractions, like ninja villages and schools, but authorities go all out on Ninja Day, to really bring out the spirit of the skilled assassins that once thrived there.

Ninja-Day

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Jinichi Kawakami – Japan’s Last Real Ninja

As the 21st head of the Ban clan, a line of ninja that can be traced back 500 years and the only living person who learned all the skills that were directly handed down from ninja masters, Jinichi Kawakami is considered by many the last real ninja in all of Japan.

63-year-old Kawakami, a retired engineer, says he started practicing the art of Ninjutsu at the age of six. He was just a young boy when he began training under master Masazo Ishida, a man who dressed as a Buddhist monk, and didn’t even realize what he was learning until years later. He was required to endure extreme heat and cold, as well as pain and hunger. To improve his concentration, he would have to look at the wick of a candle until he got the feeling he was inside it, and practice hearing the sound of a needle falling on a wooden floor. He climbed walls, jumped from great heights, learned chemicals and making explosives and even studied weather and psychology. “The training was all tough and painful. It wasn’t fun but I didn’t think much why I was doing it. Training was made to be part of my life,” Jinichi told AFP. Just before turning 19, he inherited his master’s title, along with his old scrolls and tools. Although he doesn’t claim the title of “last ninja” for himself in order to avoid disputes with other claimants and doubters, he is recognized as Japan’s last real ninja master.

Jinichi-Kawakami

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Thousands of Iranian Women Training to Become Ninjas

Ninjutsu is considered to be one of the deadliest forms of martial arts in the world. But this doesn’t deter the 3,500 odd Iranian women who are currently receiving official training in the sport.

In fact, when I saw a video of these women in action, I was awestruck by their agility and the ease with which they performed gravity-defying stunts and back flips. I couldn’t even tell that the ninjas were female until they removed the masks from their faces.  Iran, like many other Islamic countries, has stringent rules regarding the freedom and conduct of women. The laws severely restrict them from participating freely in society; perhaps this is where they derive their quiet strength from. The Ninjustu school in Iran was started in 1989 by Sensei Akbar Faraji. This was the first time the martial art was introduced to the country. While the club now has over 24,000 members, the number of female participants is slowly on the rise. According to Faraji, in Ninjutsu, men are called ninjas, while women are addressed as kunoichi.

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