University of Ninja

University of Ninja

A Japanese university is planning what it says will be the world’s first research center devoted to ninja — the black-clad assassins known for secrecy and stealth. While mostly confined to history books and fiction, ninja have been enjoying something of a resurgence as Japanese authorities increasingly deploy them to promote tourism ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Now, Mie University in central Japan — the region considered the home of the feudal martial arts masters — has announced the establishment of a ninja research facility. It plans to compile a database of ninja and encourage cooperation between scholars from different disciplines who study ninja, according to Yuji Yamada, a professor of Japanese history at the university.

“We’ll conduct research on ancient documents and collaborate with science researchers to be able to apply the wisdom of ninja to modern society,” said Yamada, who is setting up the center.

“For instance, ninja burnt Japanese incense before going out to avoid evil things. We assume the incense could boost concentration, and thus ninja could avoid injuries,” he said, adding that research on such fragrances might prove useful in today’s world. The facility will be in Iga, 350 kilometers southwest of Tokyo. The mountain-shrouded city was once home to many ninja. Yamada also said the center plans to publish its research in English as well as Japanese to make it accessible for interested researchers and fans overseas.  Agence France-Presse