Second only to their sword-swinging countrymen the samurai, ninjas are quite possibly Japan's most badass cultural export. What could be more terrifying, and alluring, than a silent killer, a master of weapons and poisons and explosives, willing to use any tactic necessary and unhampered by the norms of a code of conduct in the way Bushido restricts a samurai?
That seems to be the thinking that the Japan Ninja Council is going with these days. It's looking to spread the art of the ninja around the world by setting up an academy to train new ninja as well as a ninja museum in Tokyo, scheduled to open in 2018, according to the Associated Press.
"We hope this will appeal to people all over the world," ninja master Jinichi Kawakami told reporters in Tokyo. "The art of ninja is made up of various elements, such as combat, survival techniques and astronomy." Indeed, the Japan Ninja Council is a government-funded group of scholars, tourism industry types, pushing for more Japanese visibility around the world. The ninja programming will feed back into the country's "Cool Japan" campaign, which runs until the 2020 Olympics and explores Japanese food, animation, video games, and other aspects of the country's culture.
There's flat-out nothing cooler than ninjas, so this makes perfect sense.