Genichi Mitsuhashi, 45, spent two years studying the history, traditions and fighting techniques of ninjas – the mysterious covert agents of feudal Japan – at the country’s Mie University.
“Iga is where Ninja used to live. The climate of this area created the very nature of the ninja,” he said.
Mitsuhashi grows his own rice and vegetables in Iga, where he runs a local inn. He also teaches martial arts and ninjutsu – the art of the ninja – at his own dojo.
Apart from history, students also learn traditional fighting and survival skills, including basic martial arts and how to traverse mountainous areas while remaining undetected.
Ninja studies professor Yuji Yamada said Mitsuhashi was a “dedicated student.”
“He literally (devotes) his life to a ninja,” he added.
Mitsuhashi, who wants to pursue a doctoral degree in ninja studies, said the course had taught him about the present, as well as the past.
“Living independently for your own survival and prosperity is important for modern Japan,” he said. “The world for each of us is not global, but local. The era for globalism is over.”