World's last ninja says: When he dies, his secrets die with him

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Dec 17, 2012

Ninjas permeate the media of modern culture—Ninja Turtles, Ninja Gaiden, ninjas who answer questions, ninjas who are doctors ... the list goes on. But have you ever met an actual ninja in real life? Probably not, and now it looks like you never will.

Jinichi Kawakami is the 21st head of the Ban Clan, ninjas with a lineage that date back five centuries. And according to Kawakami, there will never be a 22nd head of the Ban Clan.

The reason? Well, this may come as a shock, so sit down—it's kind of hard to get away with teaching people how to make poisons and assassinate people these days. Kawakami himself elaborates, saying, "We can't try out murder or poisons. Even if we can follow the instructions to make a poison, we can't try it out."

It also doesn't help that being a kid trained in the ninja arts doesn't exactly sound like a day at the gymboree. "I was required to endure heat and cold as well as pain and hunger," says Kawakami. "The training was all tough and painful. It wasn't fun, but I didn't think much why I was doing it. Training was made to be part of my life."

Five hundred years on and, when this one man passes, ninjas will be no more. Is that wrong, or is it just the natural progression of man's history and traditions being lost to time?

(via NY Daily News)