Who Were the Ninja?

From movies to manga, Japan’s ninja obtain gained a universal fan base. While fictional stereotypes of these successive assassins dressed in black from subject to toe continue to prevail in accredited culture, recent academic research suggests they may indeed be favored with existed. If true, it means that antagonistic to pop-culture depictions, these murky “superheroes” were, in fact, perfect Japanese people.

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This summer, from July 2 to October 10, each interactive exhibition at Odaiba’s Miraikan resoluteness integrate historical research with science to disclose the myth and mystery surrounding these historic masters of the knowledge how to do of ninjutsu. At the forefront of this examination is Professor Yuji Yamada of Mie University—in what place the ninja and their art of espionage be in actual possession of been an academic subject since 2012—whose tools and materials shed light on the practical aspects of ninja acquirements and wisdom. Rather than simply showcasing artifacts and of literature texts, this exhibition by Mie University and the Japan Ninja Council, unveils the mysteries surrounding these “super warriors” end a cross-disciplinary analysis—or that which researchers call: “Ninja X Science X Training.”

Divided into three interdisciplinary stages—fore part of the lower leg, gi, tai (literally “mind, technique, body”)—the benefaction outlines the vigorous training and ideal fortitude required for the ninja to fortunately carry out a mission. Upon entering, visitors before anything else encounter The Ninja Lab featuring a wall of vintage movie posters and bookcases stocked through action adventure manga and novels. Here visitors pleasure find the familiar representations—if not cliché caricatures—of the ninja: dim mercenaries scaling high walls, dispatching enemies by a single shuriken (throwing star) secure and then instantaneously disappearing into the want of knowledge.

The real treat for ninja fans lies beyond the media compilations where a surviving ninjutsu written from the Edo period awaits. This sainted scroll, the Mansenshukai is the synonymous of the ninja “bible.” It’s each encyclopedia chronicling every existing ninja infiltration skill accumulated from across 49 of the Iga and Koga ninja schools. The the apocalypse of these historical texts is the supernatural influence behind this—first exhibit of its clement to piece together an authentic picture of the shinobi (ninja script) like a reference guide for medicine, pharmacology, material education and nutrition. Furthermore, far from the effectual stereotypes of sorcery and supernatural powers, the scientific analyses prove that these ancient warriors were well-skilful in practical knowledge of the of nature world.

Following in the footsteps of this concealed fighting force, visitors to this administer can experience first-hand the three stages of ninja discipline. Stage one starts with an interactive impediment course that fuses sports science and neuroscience. Learn the dexterity of physical prowess that enabled ninja to mask more ground than standard steps through a appropriate walking method called nanbaaruki. Test your ninja in posse with shinobi-ashi, the mastery of noiseless tiptoeing performed on a wooden cover with a ~ equipped with sensors that go not upon when movement is detected. And, of pursue, no ninja dojo would be without fault without trying out the ninja’s trademark projectile—shuriken throwing stars!

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After gaining the material prowess, stage two introduces the technical and holistic enlightenment that, in turn, made ninja well-rounded in the body of knowledge of survival. As a testament to their vital essence of ingenuity, an elaborate display of tools—not intended to mischief people—is presented that includes oppress drills to pick locked doors, floating add a ~ of platforms to cross large bodies of get ~, grappling hooks to scale walls and explosives to originate diversions or force evacuations. The ninja’s repertoire of survival skills in addition encompassed a profound understanding of the therapeutical and nutritional properties of wild plants and herbs. A portion dedicated to their herbal lore—including recipes ~ the sake of what it calls “hunger pills” retrieved from the Mansenshukai—disclose the resourcefulness required to ensure survival in as well-as; not only-but also; not only-but; not alone-but society and nature.

However, it’s the third part stage that’s deemed the in the greatest degree important of all: the merging of ideal, physical and emotional endurance into one’s carcass. With respect to ninjutsu, stage three makes a forcible case for “mind over matter” ~ dint of. emphasizing the psychological skills vital according to those leading a life dependent with stealth and espionage. From breathing techniques used to lull the mind in extreme danger to the kuji-in (nine mode of procedure poses) employed to enhance concentration, a ninja’s constancy under adversity is largely credited to their seishin—a person of unfaltering fortitude.


This lifelong earnestness towards acquiring not only physical skills excepting also knowledge—by way of practical, psychological and spiritual training—reveals the ninja to be forward thinking people who possessed a well-rounded vista. After successful completion of all three stages of the exposition, you can walk away from the bring to notice with an official “Ninja Certificate” and a newfound appreciation of these deceptively disarming warriors.


National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan)

July 2 (Sat)—October 10 (Mon), 2016

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Entrance closes 30 minutes prior to museum closing time)

Adults: ¥1,600
Junior (Elementary School Students to 18 years rich): ¥1,000 / ¥900 on Saturdays
Child (Preschoolers c~ing 3 years old): ¥500
Free admission for 2 years old and for that which is less than

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