The Last Ninja?

Last night during my weekly Language Salon (a gather of youths that wish to interact, meet, and share each others cultures. Not really a place to learn English, an what not, but a place to make friends, and for local Japanese to make foreign friends. It’s NOT a freak’n dating service) gathering at the Soliel (City of Sanjo, Community Youth Centre) we came to the topic of Ninjas for some apparent reason.

Masaaki Hatsumi
, is known to be the last surviving ninja instructor. If you search the web, you can also find old video footages of him training with the last combat ninja Toshitsugu Takamatsu (whom was involved in espionage in Manchuria, back in the early 1900s).

Here’s also a recent article about him, by Hans Greimel ASSOCIATED PRESS. You can read it on either or on the Mercury News.

Here’s a link to his homepage.

I find it unfortunate that there aren’t many Japanese people more involved, and wanting to understand the way of the ninja. Sure, films have really idolized the ninja overseas, but here in Japan, I find that many present japanese youths view ninjas as a slave to their master. Hence forth, at Masaaki Hatsumi’s
Bujinkan, there are more foreigners learning the trade. Pretty soon, the next mastery of the art Ninja may fall onto the lap of a non-Japanese. I guess that you could partly say that this is the part of the wonders of internationalization.

Judo and Sumo once being a very Japanese sport is now being dominated by foreigners. Not allowing foreigners to compete, but are now an international sport. Japan is no longer the almighty power-house of Judo. Sure, they still retain many of the titles, but countries such as France are winning more and more. Along with Canada, US, Russia, Germany, etc.

Watch Sumo on television, and you’ll be surprised to see that almost half of the Sumo wrestlers are NOT japanese. Many Korean, Pacific Islanders, and recently a growing number of Eastern European athletes. The sumo wrestling ring (dohyō) [土俵] was once sacred ground. But now, foreigners dominate it.

Once again, I’ve totally veered off into a different direction of topic from where I originally started.