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Many people go to graduate school because it allows them to pursue a much more stable career. For some others, it serves as a ticket for higher income, better employment benefits, and more advancement opportunities. Most people also take up master’s and doctorate degrees according to what interests and inspires them.

After completing a graduate course that includes learning basic martial arts and how to traverse mountainous areas while remaining undetected, a Japanese man has become the first person in the world to hold a master’s degree in ninja studies.

The 45-year old man named Genichi Mitsuhashi obtained his master’s degree in Japan’s Mie University. There he studied about the history, traditions and fighting techniques of ninjas. In 2018, a year following Mie University’s establishment of the International Ninja Research Center in Iga, the master’s degree program started — the first in the world dedicated to the ninja studies.

Apart from history, students also learn traditional fighting and survival skills, which include basic martial arts and to stealthily climb mountains.

It’s quite interesting to learn that there is someone who spent two years learning about feudal Japan’s mercenaries, spies, and assassins. As early as the 14th century, ninjas were known to have perfected the art of espionage, sabotage, assassination and guerrilla warfare.

According to Mitsuhashi, however, ninjas are not just all that. Ninjas were also independent farmers. To better understand how ninjas lived, Mitsuhashi even moved to the mountainous province of Iga, 220 miles from Tokyo, the capital city of Japan.

Mitsuhashi said that Iga is where ninjas used to live. “The climate of this area created the very nature of ninja,” he added.

According to ninja studies professor Yuji Yamada, Mitsuhashi was a “dedicated student and he literally devotes his life to ninja.”

He strongly believes that living independently for one’s own survival and prosperity is important for modern Japan. According to him, “The world for each of us is not global, but local. The era for globalism is over.”

Mitsuhashi believes that the course had taught him about the present and the past. He also wants to pursue a doctoral degree in ninja studies.



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