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Ninja secrets revealed to Parisians to promote Mie Prefecture ahead of G-7 summit

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To promote Mie Prefecture overseas before the Ise-Shima Group of Seven summit, a seminar to highlight its ties to a famed ninja clan and offer insights into the secretive warriors was held here.

“Mie has a facility where visitors can experience being a ninja,” Mie Governor Eikei Suzuki said at the event on July 4. “Please come visit us and become ninja yourselves.”

The two-day seminar and symposium promoting the prefecture’s ninja history was jointly sponsored by Mie University and the Japan Foundation.

It was held at the Maison de la culture du Japon a Paris, a facility located near the Eiffel Tower that is dedicated to the promotion of Japanese culture. The event venue, which can hold 300 spectators, was near full capacity.

During the event, Jinichi Kawakami, a specially appointed professor with the university’s Community-University Research Cooperation Center, took the stage with members of the ninja performance group Kurondo. They taught the audience about traditional ninja tactics such as the art of concealment and moving about stealthily.

The organizer also used the event to showcase academic research that has been carried out on the unique masked agents hired by feudal warlords.

Katsuya Yoshimaru, an associate professor of Japanese literature at the university, gave a lecture on such topics as how the common belief that ninja wore all black came about, along with the differences between the romanticized ninja and “shinobi,” the agents who practiced the art of espionage.

Many audience members came up on stage afterward to have their picture taken with the ninja troupe.

Mie Prefecture in central Honshu is known for being the home of the Iga-ryu ninja clan, whose members made their names as spies and mercenaries in feudal Japan. They were from areas around present-day Iga, Mie Prefecture, which is northwest of Shima, where the summit meeting is planned for next May.

Yuji Yamada, a professor at Mie University and an expert on ninja studies, also held a lecture on July 3, the first day of the event.

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