A Japanese man studying at Mie University has become the first person to ever receive a ninja studies degree.
Genichi Mitsuhashi, a 45-year-old student of Mie University in Tsu, Mie prefecture has completed a master’s course in ninja studies after two years of researching historical documents and taking a more hands-on approach in living life as a ninja, according to AFP via Japan Times
“I read that ninjas worked as farmers in the morning and trained in martial arts in the afternoon,” he said. “With this combination, I thought I could learn about the real ninja.”
Ninjas are shrouded in mystery, with many of their missions not being documented until the Tokugawa era or the Edo period. There are reportedly a small number of ninja clans in Japan, BBC
Mitsuhashi, who teaches at his own dojo and runs a local inn, also learned kung fu and Shorinji Kempo, Japanese martial arts, in the process.
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Mitsuhashi’s devotion to his studies shocked Yuji Yamada, a professor of Japanese history at the university in charge of the ninja center.
“We provide historical classes and courses on ninja skills. But I didn’t expect him to engage to this extent,” he said.
Mitsuhashi was one of the three students who enrolled in the master’s degree at Mie University’s International Ninja Research Centre in 2018, The Independent
He finished the course in March and is now working towards his Ph.D.
“It has been a fulfilling two years because I lived in a mountainous farming village in Iga to study ninja and pursued my research in my own way,” Mitsuhashi told Asahi Shimbun.
The university opened the world’s first research center solely for ninjas in 2017 and opened a graduate course a year later.
In order to enroll, students will have to take an exam on Japanese history and pass a reading test on historical ninja documents.
“About three students enroll every year. I think there’s demand,” Yamada said. “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.”
Feature Image via Getty