Japan university awards first-ever ninja studies degree

Genichi Mitsuhashi, above, became the first student ever to graduate from a Japanese university with a master’s degree in ninja studies. (Courtesy of Genichi Mitsuhashi/AFP)
Updated 26 June 2020

Japan university awards first-ever ninja studies degree

  • Mie University set up the world’s first research center devoted to the ninja in 2017

TOKYO: Japan has produced its first ninja studies graduate after Genichi Mitsuhashi spent two years honing his martial arts skills and absorbing the finer traditions of the feudal martial arts agents.
The 45-year-old completed the master’s course at Mie University in central Japan, the region considered the home of the ninja.
In addition to researching historical documents, Mitsuhashi said he took the practical aspect of being a ninja to heart.
“I read that ninjas worked as farmers in the morning and trained in martial arts in the afternoon,” he said.
So Mitsuhashi grew vegetables and worked on his martial arts techniques, in addition to copious ninja study in the classroom.
“With this combination, I thought I could learn about the real ninja,” he said.
Better known as black-clad assassins famous for secrecy and stealth, ninjas also had “comprehensive survival skills,” he added.
Mitsuhashi, who has also learned kung fu and a Japanese martial art known as Shorinji Kempo, teaches ninja skills at his own dojo and runs a local inn while pursuing his PhD.
The Mie University set up the world’s first research center devoted to the ninja in 2017 and opened a graduate course a year later.
It is located in Iga — 350 kilometers southwest of Tokyo — a mountain-shrouded city once home to many ninjas.
Yuji Yamada, a professor of Japanese history at the university in charge of the ninja center, was surprised at Mitsuhashi’s devotion to the task.
“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, Yamada said.
To enroll, students 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 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.”


Donald Trump no fan of ‘Borat’ creator Sacha Baron Cohen

Updated 24 October 2020

Donald Trump no fan of ‘Borat’ creator Sacha Baron Cohen

  • Word of Baron Cohen’s latest outrageous ambushes on unsuspecting participants had spread like wildfire

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE: Donald Trump said Friday he has not been a fan of Sacha Baron Cohen – even before a clip from the British comedian’s new Borat movie forced the US president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani into an awkward explanation.
Asked about the clip – which shows Giuliani in a faked “interview” with an attractive and flirtatious young woman – while speaking to journalists aboard Air Force One, Trump said: “I don’t know what happened.”
“But years ago, you know, he tried to scam me. And I was the only one who said no way. That’s a phony guy. And I don’t find him funny.”
Trump said the incident happened about 15 years ago.
“To me, he was a creep,” Trump said.
The president did not provide further details about that encounter, but in a 2003 interview, Baron Cohen – playing the wannabe gangster Ali G – pitched a business venture to Trump: special gloves for eating ice cream.
Before the new Borat film’s release, word of Baron Cohen’s latest outrageous ambushes on unsuspecting participants had spread like wildfire.
On Wednesday, Giuliani issued an angry denial over the fake interview.
In the film, the encounter appears to leave the 76-year-old former New York mayor in a compromising situation, caught with his hands down his pants in the bedroom.
Giuliani said the scene was “a complete fabrication.”
“I was tucking in my shirt after taking off the recording equipment. At no time before, during, or after the interview was I ever inappropriate,” he tweeted.
“If Sacha Baron Cohen implies otherwise, he is a stone-cold liar.”
The comedian continued to poke fun at Giuliani.
In a video posted on social media, Borat himself leapt to his defense and accused the “fake news media” – a term often used by Trump and his supporters – of turning an “innocent” encounter into “something disgusting.”