“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

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.

Need a set of samurai armor for your cat or dog? This pet supply shop can help

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RocketNews 24 (by Casey Baseel):

Turn your adorable pet into a noble warrior…who’s still adorable!

There seems to be rising demand for samurai fashion, and we’re big proponents of strapping on a set of lamellar whenever the opportunity presents itself. Now, that opportunity has come to pets with wanko kacchu, or doggy armor.

This samurai-style protective gear is offered by Kandaya, a pet supply (or “pet souvenir,” to use Kandaya’s phrasing) in the town of Kurayoshi in Tottori Prefecture.

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If that purple and green color scheme looks familiar, it’s because it’s the same palette used for the Eva Unit-01 giant robot of science fiction anime Neon Genesis Evangelion. There’s also a more traditional set of doggy armor which was first introduced in April.

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Aside from its 50-50 blend of cute and cool, the doggy armor is actually tied into the city’s literary background. Kurayoshi is where the grave of Satomi Tadayoshi is located. A famous samurai, Satomi is said to have been the inspiration for one of the characters in the epic novel known as the Hakkenden, or The Legend of the Eight Dogs.

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Kandaya rents doggy armor out of its shop at a price of 500 yen (US$4.20) for one hour for the original pattern, or 1,000 yen for 90 minutes for the Evangelion-style suit. Granted, the odds of ninja attacking you while you’re strolling around Kurayoshi are extremely slim, but it’s good to know that should you meet with some hostile shinobi, your pet will be properly outfitted.

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Shop information
Kandaya / かんだや
Address: Tottori-ken, Kurayoshi-shi, Uomachi 2568-2
鳥取県倉吉市魚町2568-2
Open 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Closed Tuesdays
Telephone: 050-3564-0345
Website

Newly established Japan Ninja Council promises to be your one-stop website for all things ninja

RocketNews 24:

When you think of “cool Japan,” it’s hard to overlook ninjas, those stealthy spies and assassins with more tricks up their sleeve than a magician in a parka. And yet it seems these timeless icons of Japanese culture have largely been overlooked by the national government’s Cool Japan in favor of AKB48 spin-offs and abacuses.

So instead, a band of 11 Japanese governors and mayors have assembled to create the Japan Ninja Council (JNC) with the sole aim of reminding everyone how cool ninjas are. Having officially launched on 9 October they aim to collect every bit of information on ninjas, including their history and culture, and provide it to anyone who wants to learn more about these elusive figures.

All 11 founding fathers of the JNC took part in an opening ceremony last Friday to celebrate its birth. They include the governors of Kanagawa, Shiga, and Saga Prefectures along with the mayors of Odawara, Ueda, Iga, Koga, and Ureshino.

The council will be led by its president, Mie Prefecture Govenor Eikei Suzuki, and vice-president, former Japan Tourism Agency Commissioner Hiroshi Mizohata. Rounding out the group is prominent kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizo the Eleventh in a supporting role.

▼ Most members decided to look the part for the council’s launch

Unfortunately since they decided to launch on a Friday before a long weekend, nothing much has happened yet. The JNC website “ninja-official.com” is up but only has a brief history of ninjas and a video about a ninja weapons show in Iga. It is a fairly cool video though.

Japan Ninja Council
Official WebsiteTwitter
Facebook

Nightingale floors: The samurai intruder alarm system Japan’s had for centuries

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RocketNews 24:

For centuries, Japan has taken pride in the talents of its craftsmen, carpenters and woodworkers included. Because of that, you might be surprised to find that some Japanese castles have extremely creaky wooden floors that screech and groan with each step.

How could such slipshod construction have been considered acceptable for some of the most powerful figures in Japanese history? The answer is that the sounds weren’t just tolerated, but desired, as the noise-producing floors functioned as Japan’s earliest automated intruder alarm.

The specially constructed floors were called uguisubari. Literally translating as “bush warbler guard watch,” uguisubari are more commonly referred to in English-language texts as nightingale floors.

In installing nightingale floors, planks of wood are placed atop a framework of supporting beams, securely enough that they won’t dislodge, but still loosely enough that there’s a little bit of play when they’re stepped on. As the boards are pressed down by the feet of someone walking on them, their clamps rub against nails attached to the beams, creating a shrill chirping noise.

▼ The place where the uguisubari magic happens.

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▼ Nightingale floors in action

As you can see/hear in the videos above, equipping a hallway with nightingale floors means that with every step someone takes, he announces his presence. This makes it incredibly difficult to move around stealthily, and thus nightingale floors were used as a countermeasure against spies, thieves, and assassins. By accounting for the size of the noise and the direction it was coming from, they could even be used to help pinpoint the interloper’s position.

Not just anyone could afford nightingale floors, but you can find them in historical seats of power. Kyoto’s Nijo Castle, built as a residence for the shogun during visits to Kyoto, is probably the nightingale floor location best-known to international travelers, but it’s not the only place to see this clever and classic home security system.

▼ Nijo Castle

▼ Higashi Honganji Temple, also in Kyoto

Of course, all of this raises one important question. If your security needs are high enough that you decide to put in nightingale floors, odds are you also have guards keeping an eye on your castle. So how do you tell if those chirping footsteps you’re hearing are coming from a trusted sentry or enemy ninja?

The solution is, like the floors themselves, elegantly simple. In order to tell friend from foe, the lord of the castle or captain of the guards would designate a set rhythm for allies to adhere to when walking on the nightingale floors. If they heard their “nightingales” singing at a different speed, they knew they had an uninvited guest, and that it was time to sound the alarm.

Sci-fi ninja cyberpunk novel series”Ninja Slayer” set to start streaming as anime on April 16

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RocketNews 24:

If there’s still a ninja-shaped hole in your heart where the recently climaxing Naruto used to be, perhaps we can interest you in some sci-fi cyberpunk ninjas?

With a new anime set to start streaming on April 16, the people behind Ninja Slayer want everyone to release their inner warrior, and they’ve got some shiny new merchandise to help you get in the mood. And if you happen to have lost your entire family to a ninja turf war recently, you too can become a ninja slayer! Find out how after the jump.

What began as a “translated” Twitter novel has blossomed into eight published novels, three manga adaptations and a new animated series set to stream on video site Niconico next month. People all around the world are catching the Ninja Slayer fever. A bunch of new merchandise is being sold to celebrate the anime’s release, and the standout winner is definitely the snazzy Ninja Slayer T-shirt.

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Using the same color as the main character Kenji Fujikido, this T-shirt will proudly show off your love for Ninja Slayer. It even has “ninsatsu” (忍殺) conveniently placed on the back. But that’s not all, using these simple step-by-step instructions, you can turn into the infamous Ninja Slayer yourself!

▼ From tee to ninja hood in seconds!

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We know what you’re thinking: “T-shirt ninja? What are you doing back?” But it’s not “just” a T-shirt ninja, it’s a T-shirt ninja slayer! When you use this shirt, the “ninja slayer” kanji characters are proudly displayed on the front. Now all your enemies will know what sort of nefarious business you are there to conduct.

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For those unfamiliar with the title, Ninja Slayer is a cyberpunk sci-fi story set in Neo Saitama. In a time where rival clans are fighting a huge war, one salaryman’s family is killed. Seeking revenge, the main character is possessed by a mysterious ninja whose hatred of the ninja syncs up well with Kenji’s thirst for revenge. Together they vow to kill all the ninjas as the ninja slayer.

Ninja Slayer is supposedly written by two Americans, Bradley Bond and Philip Ninj@ Morzez, but apparently that is a story made up by the “translators” to help sell their novels. No original English version of Ninja Slayer exists, yet, so it is probably safe to say the authors are Honda Yu and Sugi Leika. All this confusion only adds to the intrigue surrounding the title. You’ll be able to tune into the first episode streaming on Niconico on April 16.

Company in Japan now hiring for the position of Ninja Master

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RocketNews 24:

One company in Japan has put out an honest-to-goodness help-wanted ad for a ninja master.

Twitter user Hojinga recently shared the job posting he came across on a government-run employment website. While it’s likely most visitors to the site are searching for office work, or perhaps positions in the service or industrial sectors, one lucky candidate can walk away with gainful employment as a ninja dojo instructor.

 

View image on Twitter

The employer is listed as Koka Kanko Kaihatsu Kabushikigaisha, and while we’re not 100-percent convinced it’s not a cover for a clan of shadow warriors, the organization’s name translates out to Koka Tourism Development, Inc. According to the posting, the selected candidate will be working in Shiga Prefecture’s Koka City, the same town where last week some civil servants performed their duties dressed as shinobi, in honor of the local area’s ninja heritage.

Specifically, the professional ninja will be plying his or her trade at the Koka Ninjutsu Village, which houses a ninja-themed museum, ninja house equipped with trap doors and other contrivances, and a ninja training center where visitors can receive instruction in one of nine different shadow arts.

▼ If, for some strange reason, guests don’t already own their own ninja uniforms, rentals are available.

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It will be up to the newly hired ninja master to get these new recruits up to speed so that they can start carrying out acts of subterfuge for their samurai lords as soon as possible…or perhaps show just off their certificates of completion to their non-ninja-trained friends. As is often the case in Japanese employment listings, details are vague on exact responsibilities, but the successful applicant will be expected to participate in performances for visitors, and climbing stone walls is specifically mentioned as one of the employee work duties.

▼ Just another day at the office.

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The initial contract is for three months, with the possibility of an extension once the period is completed, with shifts lasting from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The ninja master’s skills will only be necessary on Saturdays and Sundays, leaving the successful candidate free to live weekdays under their secret identity.

Hourly pay is to be determined during the interview, but will be in the range of 750 to 1,000 yen (US $6.35 to $8.50). While that’s not a particularly high wage, this job still remains a rare and excellent opportunity to get your foot in the door of the shinobi industry, and may just be the first step to someday becoming Chief Operating Ninja of your own enterprise.

February 22 is Ninja Day, as these cosplaying civil servants at Koka City Hall just reminded us

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Are you feeling bummed out that February’s two most high-profile holidays, namely Twin Tail Day and Valentine’s Day, are both already over and done with? Cheer up! While it may not necessarily tug at the heartstrings like February 2 and 14, what’s arguably the coolest holiday of the month is coming up this weekend.

That’s because February 22 is officially Ninja Day, and one town in Japan is helping people get into the spirit with a bit of shinobi-style cosplay at its city hall.

The kanji for Shiga Prefecture’s Koka City can also be read as “Koga,” which is a name Japanese history buffs might be familiar with. The Koga Ninja who were based in the area were one of the most formidable shadow warrior forces of Japan’s feudal era, and present-day Koka wholeheartedly embraces this part of its history.

▼ Even the floor of this Koka train station is decorated in a throwing-star pattern.

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Japan loves its puns, and someone noticed that ni, the Japanese word for “two,” is pronounced just like the first of the three syllables in “ninja” (yes, in Japanese, “n” is a syllable all of its own). Before long, support grew for February 22 (2-22) to be known Ninja Day, a designation now officially recognized by the Japan Anniversary Association (the same group which has given its nod of approval to the aforementioned Twintail Day).

In celebration, the five-employee team at the Koka City Tourism Promotion Office has spent the week commuting and working in attire that reflects their city’s claim to fame.

Just to be clear, their workspace isn’t located in the middle of an amusement park or museum. These civil servants go about their duties right smack in the middle of Koka City Hall, just a shuriken’s throw away from the sections of the municipal government responsible for registering marriages and official residence addresses.

Speaking of shuriken, this week the members of the Tourism Promotion Office have also been handing out origami throwing stars to visitors who’ve come in to ask for information about local attractions. On Ninja Day itself, they’ll also be onboard trains on the local Shigaraki Kohgen Railway, once again making paper versions of the tossable tools of the ninja trade.

▼ The mysterious shinobi keep their masks on at all times, even when doing desk work or talking on the phone.

View image on Twitter

Obviously, the Tourism Promotion Office staff would be happiest if you celebrated Ninja Day by taking a trip to their lovely town, maybe to see Koka’s Minakuchi Castle. If you absolutely can’t make it to the home of the Koga Ninja, though, you’ll be happy to know that other organizations across Japan are also doing something special to mark the occasion, with specific details available here on the English-language version of the official Ninja Day website.

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