A university in Japan has awarded the world's first degree in Ninja studies. Ninjas were black-clad assassins, famed for their skills in secrecy and stealth with impeccable survival skills. It is believed that feudal lords hired Ninjas as mercenary spies to infiltrate castles and obtain information. Their origins date back to the early 14th century.
Genichi Mitsuhashi, 45, a master's student spent two years perfecting his skills in martial arts, and simultaneously, he examined historical documents about Ninja stealth fighters and their unique traditions, while he just fell short of becoming one.
After he read about Ninjas, he bought a wooden two-story house in the birthplace of the Ninjas -- the Iga province, Mitsuhashi himself started cultivating rice and vegetables on the land, practicing their traditions, because Ninjas also worked as farmers in the morning, while in the afternoon they were involved in martial arts training.
"With this combination, I thought I could learn about the real Ninja," he told AFP.
'Real Role Model'
Mitsuhashi was one of the three students to get enrolled in the master's degree at Mie University's International Ninja Research Centre in 2018. The University had set up the world's first research center uniquely dedicated to studying Ninja in 2017.
Classes were held three times a week, and passionate Mitsuhashi wrote a thesis on how Ninjas managed mountain forests in the region of Iga, the mountain-shrouded city and home to the warriors between the 17th and 19th centuries.
In March, he completed the course after "fulfilling two years," pursuing research in his own way, as he started a Ph.D. program hoping to connect more visitors with the local community in the area, reports Independent.
He is a "real role model" for those in Ninja graduate studies, according to his professor, Yuji Yamada, "because of the way he blended in with the local community." The professor also warned that the course only aimed at studying Ninjas, but "not to become one."