However, Professor Yuji Yamada throws a wet blanket on everything by saying it will mainly involve an understanding of Japanese history, ability to read historical documents, and overall communication skills. That being said, he is open to some sort of physical requirements if the demand is there.
By the way, in Japan, high school students advancing to university must first take a nationally standardized test covering the essentials of education like language and math, but after passing that they take further tests which each school offers and are more tailored to the courses students plan to take.
In the case of Mie University, ninja knowledge is merely an optional part of their entrance exam. So for anyone planning to attend there, don’t worry if you don’t know how to blend in with your surroundings. You still have a chance.
Mie University has offered ninja-related elective courses for years such as Ninja in Film and Ninjutsu (ninja techniques). In 2012 they even hired Jinichi Kawakami, the 21st head of the Koga Ninja Clan, as a lecturer.
This may all sound like a joke, but ninjas mean serious business in Mie Prefecture where Iga City resides. With its tight connection to ninja history, Iga is a major tourist destination and enjoys all the revenue that comes along with it. So believe it or not, knowing a thing or two about ninjutsu is actually a valuable job skill around these parts.
It can be hard work as well. The ninjas we all know and love are works of fiction based on exaggerated legends, but the truth about how ninjas really operated back then is still largely unknown and very little of it is recorded.
So a large part of ninja research is scouring old texts written in archaic dialects and characters and interpreting them accurately for even the slightest references to ninjas. Mie University remains at the forefront of this effort, having established the International Ninja Research Center in July of this year. It was nice of them to make it international, but we have to imagine the lion’s share of the work on this topic is being done domestically.
So there you have it—ninja school does exist. And while mom and pop might have a hard time boasting that their child is minoring in ninjutsu, it actually is a worthwhile program for anyone looking for a job in the Mie tourism industry that also helps preserve this history of the country.
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