If your dream in life is to be a ninja, well, you don’t have to wait until Halloween or ComicCon to make it come true – you just have to head to Japan, where you can get an actual degree you can use to convince people you’re a ninja.
Or at least prove that you know how to be one.
The course of study was pioneered by Genichi Mitsuhashi, who spent two years honing his martial arts skills and learning about the other traditions observed by the feudal agents.
He was 45 when he completed a master’s course at Mie University in central Japan, where ninjas are generally regarded as having emerged.
Mitsuhashi said in an interview,
“I read that ninjas worked as farmers in the morning and trained in marital arts in the afternoon.
With this combination, I thought I could learn about the real ninja.”
So, he grew vegetables and worked on his martial arts techniques, in addition to reading everything about the ninja he could get his hands on.
What he learned is that, in addition to being lethal, ninjas had some serious survival skills.
In 2017, Mie University set up the world’s first research center devoted to the ninja, and opened their graduate course a year later.
Yuji Yamada, a professor of Japanese history at the university, is in charge of the ninja center. He’s been very impressed with Mitsuhashi’s dedication and learning.
“We provide historical classes and courses on ninja skills. But I didn’t expect him to engage to this extent.”
To enroll in the course of study, students have to pass a test of Japanese history and another that proves they’re capable of reading historical ninja documents.
They get about three students a year.
The professor does warn, though, that you shouldn’t come expecting something they don’t offer.
“We get many inquiries from overseas but I have to say one thing: this is a course to learn about the ninja, not to become one.”
They give you the knowledge; gaining the skills is up to you.