In some rather sad news to bring you from the world of the dark arts, it turns out there is only ninja left in the whole of Japan.
Jinichi Kawakami is the 21st head of the Ban clan, a dynasty of secret spies that can trace its history back over 500 years and he’s believed to be Japan’s last ninja, the Daily Mail reports.
Kawakami, who is an engineer by trade, started practising the art of Ninjitsu at the age of six.
Under the gruelling regime of Buddhist master Masazo Ishida, he would spend hours staring into the flame of a candle to improve his concentration and hone his hearing by practising listening to a pin being dropped in the next room.
He has been trained to disappear in a cloud of smoke and to even cut a victim’s throat from 20 paces with a two-inch death star.
“The training was all tough and painful. It wasn’t fun but I didn’t think much why I was doing it. Training was made to be part of my life,’ he said.
During his training Jinichi also learnt to climb walls, jump from great heights and learn how to make chemicals to cause explosions- essentially he was trained up to be an absolute bad-ass.
“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. Ninjas proper no longer exist,” he continued.
Kawakami made the decision back in 2012 to not appoint anyone to take over as the next ninja grandmaster.
He told the BBC:
In the age of civil wars or during the Edo period, ninjas’ abilities to spy and kill, or mix medicine may have been useful. But we now have guns, the internet and much better medicines, so the art of ninjutsu has no place in the modern age.
In Hollywood films ninjas may be made out to be stealth killing machines, but Kinichi says the secret to being a top-quality ninja is about the power of surprise and exploiting your opponent weaknesses.
Kawakami now works for a Japanese university which is planning to open the world’s first research centre devoted to ninja next month.