The unassuming 63-year-old Jinichi Kawakami lacks the image of a dark-clad assassin, but if sources are to be believed then this former engineer is said to be Japan’s last ninja. Kawakami, the 21st head of the Ban clan, is said to be the last person to have learned all the requisite skills that have been handed down from ninja masters, tracing a legacy of 5 centuries.
Well acquainted with the tools and techniques used in espionage and sabotage, Kawakami says that authentic ninjas no longer exist. Presently they are existent in the fictional world or seen in promotional events in places like Iga, the hometown for many ninjas.
Its been a decade since Kawakami started teaching ninjutsu – the art of the ninja. According to him many of the tools and traditions were passed down the line through word of mouth and since documentation and manuals are not there, the processes has undergone many transformations. The true history of ninjas is a mystery and at times vague. For instance, even though ninjas may know about how to murder or poison an opponent, they cannot try it out. Kawakami started off unknowingly at the age of six, practicing with his master Masazo Ishida. It was much later he realized the implications of his learning and that he was actually practicing ninjutsu. His training included physical and mental skills, studies of chemicals, weather and psychology. He inherited his master’s title, secret scrolls and special tools at the age of nineteen.[Via NDTV]