When you think of Japan, you can’t help but think of Ninja. Japan is a country rich in cultural heritage and known for preserving its old traditions. In a first of its kind endeavour, Mie University has decided to set up the world’s first research centre devoted to ninja. Ninjas, who have for decades ruled the imagination of people around the world, were black clad assassins known for secrecy and stealth. While mostly confined to history books and fiction, the ninjas have been enjoying renewed interest in the wake of the 2020 Olympic games slated to happen in Tokyo. Mie University is situated in a region which is considered the home of the ninja masters. The university said that the Ninja Research Centre would be set up in July.
Yuji Yamada, a professor of Japanese history at the Mie University, said that the University plans to compile a database of ninja and encourage cooperation between scholars from different disciplines who study ninja. He said that the researchers at the centre would study ancient documents and collaborate with science researchers to develop ways to implement ninja wisdom to modern society.
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He gave an example of burning incense by Ninjas before going out to avoid evil things. Yamada believes that the incense boosted concentration in Ninjas and thus helped them avoid injuries. He said that research aimed at these fragrance.
According to Yamada, the research facility will be located in Iga which is 350 km southwest of Tokyo. Iga is a city surrounded by mountains and was once home to many ninja warriors. He also said that the research conducted at the centre would be published both in Japanese and English so as to benefit followers from overseas as well.
As part of the renewed interest in the ninja history, Aichi prefecture last year hired full-time ninja, including a foreigner, to promote tourism in the area which is also famous for the historic Nagoya castle. In 2015, governors and mayors from prefectures around the country traded their usual business suits for ninja costumes to announce the launch of a “ninja council”.