The term “ninja” describes a person who is skilled in the art of ninjutsu. Someone who moves swiftly, defends powerfully, and conquers aggressively. However, there is a common belief in today’s society that claims ninjas, or skilled fighters who hide their identities in battle, never existed. Fortunately for all of those believers out there, the truth is out: ninjas do exist.
Of all of Japan, there were two popular areas in which ninjas were found. Iga and Koga, also known today as Mie and Shiga, were two places located next to the old capital. Kyoto was the seat of the imperial court, and where political issues were resolved (The Ninjutsu Thesis). Researchers have so far found three sources on Ninjutsu tactics, techniques, and mindset, written by authoritative ninjas and samurais from the Edo period in Japan. The three sources are Bansenshukai, Ninpiden, and Shoninki. The reason researchers believe these written works belonged to ninjas is because of the author’s high social class and respect for society (Way of Ninja). People loyal and committed to this way of life would only write the truth and express their community and lifestyle honorably.
Still don’t believe me? Jinichi Kawakami is one ninja who decided it was about time his true identity was revealed. Jinichi Kawakami is the 21st head of the Ban clan, a dynasty of secret ninjas. This clan can trace its roots back over 500 years. He began his training at age six and is now a 63 year old engineer (Japan’s Last Ninja). “I think I’m called (the last ninja) as there is probably no other person who learned all the skills that were directly handed down from ninja masters over the last five centuries,” Kawakami says in an interview for Daily Mail. He has decided to let the practice die instead of trying to rebuild a new age of ninjas because it does not fit in modern day society.
In Tokyo, Japan, one American was hired to join the ninja warriors of Japan. Of the 235 applicants, Chris O’Neill, at 29 years old, was able to land the job. One of the judges in this audition-based job interview was Satoshi Adachi. “[O’Neill] Will be Japan’s first salaried, full-time ninja paid by a local municipality,” He told Agency France-Presse, “He has great acrobatic skill and the ability to speak in front of the public. He’s also passionate about promoting tourism.” (Salaried Ninja). O’Neill, along with six Japanese applicants – one being a woman – will receive a one-year contract and earn a monthly salary of 180,000 yen ($1,600) plus bonuses. Knowing that ninjas do exist today, it is best to keep an eye out for these night-warriors.