Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Last Ninja

It seems a shame, but this fellow seems to be the last ninja.

Jinichi Kawakami is a 63-year-old former engineer who may not fit the typical image of a dark-clad assassin with deadly weapons who can disappear into a cloud of smoke -- but Jinichi Kawakami is reputedly Japan's last ninja.

Kawakami first encountered the secretive world of ninjas at the age of just six, but has only vague memories of first meeting his master, Masazo Ishida, a man who dressed as a Buddhist monk.

"I kept practising without knowing what I was actually doing. It was much later that I realised I was practising ninjutsu," he says.

It is difficult to pin down the emergence of the first ninja, more properly called shinobi. As long as there has been political intrigue, there have been spies and assassins.

Japanese folklore tells us that the ninja descended from a demon that was half man and half crow. The ninja evolved as an opposing force to their upper-class contemporaries, the samurai, in early feudal Japan.

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