Mie University, located in Iga, Japan, established the world’s first research centre focused on ninja studies in 2017 and launched a graduate course in 2018.
Iga, located in central Japan, is a mountain-shrouded city once home to many ninja.
Mie University established the world’s first research centre focused on ninja in 2017 and launched a graduate course in 2018.
To enroll in the course, students have to take an exam on Japanese history and a reading test on historical ninja documents. Around 3 students enroll every year.
Yuji Yamada, a professor of Japanese history at the university who also takes part at the ninja research centre, comments on the course:
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.
Mie University has given its first ninja studies degree to a 45-year-old graduate named Genichi Mitsuhashi. He has spent two years honing his martial arts skills and learning traditions of the feudal martial arts to complete the master’s course.
He told Japan Times:
I read that ninjas worked as farmers in the morning and trained in martial arts in the afternoon. With this combination, I thought I could learn about the real ninja,
Mitsuhashi now teaches ninja skills at his own dojo and runs a local inn while pursuing his Ph.D.