“THE NINJA” exhibit coming to Tokyo in July!

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RocketNews 24 (by Kay):

Who hasn’t been fascinated by the ninja and their legendary skills? Well, this special ninja exhibit should certainly help you learn more about their mysterious world!

We all love ninjas, don’t we? But how much do we really know about them? Although much about these “secret agents” of the feudal era remain a mystery, the academic world has been busy trying to uncover as much fact as possible about them. Happily for ninja fans, the public will get to share in some of the insights that researchers have gained into the world of the shinobi (literally “stealth”), as ninja are sometimes called.

The exhibit is based on scientific research on the ninja led by Mie University, and the exhibit hall has three distinct areas, each representing the elements of “mind, skill and body” (shin, gi, tai), in which the ninja were highly trained.

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As you move through the exhibit, you’ll have the opportunity to practice throwing shuriken stars, improve your jumping power and learn secret operative skills, such as memory enhancement techniques and special breathing techniques as well as ways to send secret messages. You’ll also be able to see ancient ninjutsu manuscripts and ninja weapons on display. Now, that certainly sounds like a whole lot of secret agent fun!

THE NINJA exhibit will run from July 2 (Sat) to October 10 (Mon) at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan) in Tokyo’s Odaiba area. If you’re going to be in Tokyo during that time, it could be an excellent opportunity for you to get a glimpse into what the true world of the ninja may have been like. We hope you enjoy testing your stealth skills!

Exhibit Details:
The Ninja
July 2 (Sat) to October 10 (Mon)
Venue: National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan)
Tokyo-to, Koto-ku, Aomi 2-3-6 (Access information)
東京都江東区青海2-3-6
Admission: 1,600 yen (about US$14.50) for adults, 1,000 yen (900 yen on Saturdays) for children of grade-school age to 18, and 500 yen for preschoolers  years old  (*Free admission for children 2 years old and under)

Source: THE NINJA exhibit website

Rare hand-colored photos of Japanese samurai in the late 1800s

Mashable (by Alex Q. Arbuckle):

The military-nobility caste known as samurai — roughly meaning “those who serve” — emerged in medieval Japan as provincial warriors, and rose to control the country in the 12th century.

As the enforcement arm of the ruling shogunate, the samurai were elevated to a position of privilege. They followed a code of honor called bushido, informed by Confucianism and Zen Buddhism. Bushido emphasized martial fearlessness, discipline and loyalty, as well as general kindness.

These photos, made in the years after Japan finally opened its ports to international trade, capture samurai in their final days. With the 1868 Meiji Restoration and the end of feudalism, carrying swords was prohibited to all but the new national armed forces.

The samurai class was dissolved, but bushido survived as the national moral code of the new Japan.

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Six professional ninja jobs being offered by Japanese tourism board, women and foreigners welcome

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RocketNews 24 (by Casey Baseel):

Japan is looking for a few good shinobi.

If you’re feeling sad because you weren’t chosen as one of the two samurai being recruited  in Aichi Prefecture this month, cheer up! It turns out there’s now another opportunity to become a professional sword-wielding warrior, as Aichi’s tourism board is now looking to employ six new ninja.

Similar to Aichi’s samurai-themed Nagoya Hospitality Generals Brigade, the Hattori Hanzo Ninja Squad, which also operates under the name Hattori Hanzo and the Ninjas, is a Nagoya-based group that makes live appearances to promote tourism to the Aichi area and Japan in general to both domestic and overseas travelers. As a ninja, your work tasks will include putting on awesome martial arts stage shows and instructing kids in proper shuriken throwing technique.

At 180,000 yen a month, the Hattori Hanzo Ninja Squad starting salary is identical to that of the Nagoya Hospitality Generals Brigade. The Ninja Squad also looks to be an equal opportunity employer. Not only does the group include kunoichi (female ninja)…

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…the applications seem to be open to non-Japanese would-be ninja as well, as evidenced by the fact that the Ninja Squad has made its recruitment information available in English as well.

A high degree of athleticism and acrobatic talent are of course prerequisites for the job, as are these seemingly contradictory, yet in this case totally justified, personality traits:

● A desire to be in the spotlight, even though you’re a stealthy ninja
● A fondness for talking with others, even though you’re wearing a mask and hood
● A kind heart, even though you’re carrying a sword

If you meet all those criteria, and you think you’d look good in black, applications can be found here, and will be accepted until March 22.

 

Olivia Munn as Psylocke in the upcoming “X-Men: Apocalypse”

 

Get ready for the first appearance of the Olivia Munn Psylocke.

Check out a new image of the Olivia Munn Psylocke and read on for the actress’ thoughts on getting the character right

ComingSoon.net (by Silas Lesnick):

This summer’s X-Men: Apocalypse is set to mark the first major appearance of the mutant known as Psylocke on the big screen. As you can see from a newly-released image, 20th Century Fox is committed to making the Olivia Munn Psylocke true to the character in the comic book and, in a new interview with CNET, the actress explains why she’s proud of her take on the psionic mutant.

“I’ve loved Psylocke for so long,” Munn tells the outlet. “She’s a really, really strong badass female character in this comic book world where a lot of times the women don’t get to be strong and badass. You see a lot of superheroes [who] don’t always want to kill, and they’ll avoid it if they can. She’s never had a problem killing, and I like that she was the bad guy that had no problem being the bad guy. She’s telekinetic and telepathic so she can read your mind. She can create anything with her mind. To win any, she can just create a mountain and have it fall down on you, but she chooses to create a sword so she can kill up close and personal. I always thought that was really cool and badass.”

Like quite a few Marvel mutants, Psylocke’s comic book history is a bit strange. Elizabeth Braddock first appeared in 1976’s “Captain Britain” #8 as the twin sister of the UK book’s title hero. It wasn’t until a decade later in the pages of “New Mutants Annual” #2 that Braddock, a telepath, took over the body and abilities of a Japanese ninja, Kwannon, becoming the X-Men member known as Psylocke.

Whether Olivia Munn’s Pyslocke will have such a convoluted origin story remains to be seen.

Said to be the conclusion of a trilogy started with X-Men: First Class and continued with X-Men: Days of Future Past, the Bryan Singer-directed X-Men: Apocalypse is set for release on May 27, 2016.

The first trailer for Netflix’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny”

The first trailer for Netflix‘s followup to the Oscar-winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is here, giving us our first real glimpse at how the streaming company plans to take on the Wuxia classic.

Here, Michelle Yeoh has reprised her role as Yu Shu Lien, who must now strive to protect the legendary Green Destiny sword, which once belonged to legendary swordsman Li Mu Bai, from an evil warlord. She’s joined by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story star Donnie Yen and former Glee star Harry Shum, Jr.

Judging from the plentiful use of old-school wire work and VFX, the film should hopefully appeal to both old and new martial arts movie fans alike. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny hits select IMAX theaters and Netflix on February 26th.

Variety: Philip Ng cast as Bruce Lee in ‘Birth of the Dragon’

'Birth of the Dragon': Philip Ng

Variety (by Dave McNary):

Philip Ng will portray Bruce Lee in martial arts action movie “Birth of the Dragon,” with shooting commencing Tuesday in Vancouver.

Yu Xia will play Shaolin Master Wong Jack Man and Billy Magnussen will portray martial arts student Steve McKee. Jinging Qu plays the love interest of McKee’s character and Jin Xing will portray a crime boss. George Nolfi is directing from a script by Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen J. Rivele, who have writing credits on “Ali” and “Nixon.”

Groundswell Productions is producing the movie.

The film recreates the mid-1960’s fight between Lee and Wong Jack Man from the point of view of McKee. After the fight, Lee reinvented himself and his style of kung fu. Action sequences will be designed by martial arts choreographer Corey Yuen, whose credits include “Lethal Weapon 4,” “X-Men,” “Romeo Must Die” and “The Expendables.”

Lee began appearing in films in the early 1970s before passing away in 1973. Wong remained silent about the fight for many years and retired from teaching martial arts in 2005 after 45 years.

’Birth of the Dragon’ is a rare opportunity to make an action film with rich characters based on real events and real people,” Nolfi said. “It’s a story about people from the East and West transcending their differences to work together, which is obviously a very timely story.

We’re thrilled to be telling one of the great untold stories in martial arts history, especially at this unique moment when China and Western audiences are opening up to each other as never before,” said London. “To work with a Chinese film company like Kylin on a story that has so much significance in China has been a wonderful collaboration, and, we hope, the first of many.”

Lightsaber kendo video brings Star Wars’ Japanese influences full-circle

We’ve heard a lot about Star Wars director George Lucas’ admiration for Akira Kurosawa movies and the samurai inspiration that spawned Darth Vader’s costume and helmet for the series.
Here we can see how the Japanese martial art of kendo, influenced the many lightsaber duels throughout the series.

Mahiro Takano, Japan’s nine-year-old karate champion returns—in Australian singer Sia’s new music video

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RocketNews 24 (by Casey Baseel):

Let’s say you’re producing a music video. A tried-and-true method is to simply splice together some clips of the artist’s last concert tour. Or, if the song hasn’t been performed live yet, you could do a “behind-the-scenes” sort of thing with footage of the singer in the studio.

But here’s what happens when you take a third option: Making a music video starring Japan’s most amazing nine-year-old karate expert.

A while back we took a look Mahiro Takano, by far the most intimidating seven-year-old we’d ever seen, as she unleashed a flurry of lightning-fast punches and kicks. Young Miss Takano has been busy since then, celebrating standard childhood milestones, like her ninth birthday, as well as some less common ones, such as winning her age group’s kata division for the third consecutive year at the All Japan Junior Karatedo Championships.

Since there’s usually not a lot of overlap between the demographics of “cute nine-year-old kid” and “fierce barehanded warrior,” YouTube videos of Takano performing her karate strikes have become a worldwide hit, and they recently caught the attention of vocalist Sia. The singer has just released the video for her new song “Alive” in which, true to form, the 39-year-old Australian makes no appearance, so that instead all of the screen time can be given to Takano.