Ninjas are the stuff of lore in Japan, not to mention Hollywood. But now a 45-year-old Japanese man can lay claim to being the closest thing to an actual ninja in the modern world. Genichi Mitsuhashi is the first person to complete a rigorous master's program in the ninja lifestyle at Mie University, reports the Japan Times. The school is located in Iga, central Japan, the mountainous home to actual ninjas centuries ago. The two-year master's program is a mix of academic study and courses on the ninjas' martial arts skills. Mitsuhashi, though, took things a bit further and embraced the full lifestyle.
“I read that ninjas worked as farmers in the morning and trained in martial arts in the afternoon,” he says. Thus, he did the same, turning himself into a self-sufficient farmer who just happens to have mad martial arts skills. He even opened a school of sorts himself to teach students ninja skills and techniques. The Asahi Shimbun notes that 16th-century ninjas were thought to be "armed farmers" who honed their skills to survive an era of constant warring. Mitsuhashi's thesis focused more on the farming aspect, explaining how ninjas played a big role in managing mountain forests. The university began offering its graduate program in 2017. (Read more ninjas stories.)