User menu

Main menu


The World’s Last Two Ninjas Call It Quits

We can all officially be sad now.

Photo: Curtis Johnson / Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

Well, this is super sad. According to the BBC, Japan’s last ninja grandmasters are declining to name successors, meaning there will be no more ninjas. They’re like the northern bluefin tuna of the martial arts world, so eat a ninja while you still can—they’re going extinct.

And thanks a lot, BBC. You go through about 8,000,000 words explaining how awesome ninjas were: They could mix poisons, make explosives, infiltrate enemy strongholds, and acted like the first secret agents, working day jobs while conducting espionage, surveillance, and sabotage. And then you tell us they still exist! Holy smoke bombs, that’s awesome! Maybe we’ll run off to ninja technical college and possibly double major in shurikening (if they accept AP credits) and…oh. Way to dash our dreams, BBC (more like British Bozo Corporation, right?).

The two masters, Masaaki Hatsumi and Jinichi Kawakami, each claim to be the last surviving members of their respective ninja clans (the Ban and Togakure). Hatsumi won’t name a successor because he doesn’t think anyone’s worthy (fair enough), but continues to teach some of his ninja expertise as part of his martial arts school, Bujinkan. Kawakami just believes that the time of ninjas has passed (wrong) and that in an age of guns and the Internet there’s no need for those skills (double wrong). Well, in a world without ninjas, at least we’ll always have this:

China's First (and Hopefully Last) Wankathon
Girls in Blue