Meet the first-ever ninja studies degree holder

Published July 8, 2020, 3:13 PM

by Jules Vivas

Well, what do you know, the first person to ever own a master’s degree in ninja studies is Japanese

Genichi Mitsuhashi in training

Two years ago, Mie University established the International Ninja Research Center in the mountainous province of Iga in Japan. They became the first school in the world dedicated to ninja studies.

Now, Japan has produced its first-ever ninja studies graduate in 45-year-old Genichi Mitsuhashi. The course he completed involved learning basic martial arts, climbing mountains in stealthy ways, and studying the history, traditions, and everything about the mysterious agents of feudal Japan.

Ninjas, known as the black-clad assassins, are known for their high levels of skill and secrecy.

Genichi, throughout his studies, came to realize that the masters of stealth, espionage, sabotage, and guerrilla warfare in the 14th century were also independent farmers. “I read that ninjas worked as farmers in the morning and trained in martial arts in the afternoon,” he explains.

“Iga is where the ninja used to live. The climate of this area has created the very nature of the ninja,” said Genichi who runs a local inn and farms his own rice and vegetables in the area. The Kung Fu and Shorinji Kempo expert also has his own dojo where he teaches martial arts and ninjutsu.

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“It is important for modern Japan to live independently for your own survival and prosperity,” the ninja studies degree holder said. “The world for each of us is not global, but local. The era of globalism is over.”

Ninja studies professor Yuji Yamada vouched for the new graduate, mentioning that Genichi is a dedicated student who literally devoted his life to the ninja way. “We provide historical classes and courses on ninja skills. But I didn’t expect him to engage to this extent,” like a real living ninja, Yuji says.

Aspiring students of the school would have to take an exam on Japanese history and a reading test on historical ninja documents. “About three students enroll every year. I think there’s demand,” the professor reveals. “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.”