Close banner

Support Outside Online

Love Outside?

Help fund our award-winning journalism with a contribution today.

Contribute to Outside

The End of the Japanese Ninja

Grandmasters won't name heirs

There still are real, practicing ninjas in Japan—but that won’t be the case for much longer. According to the Iga-ryu Ninja Museum, 63-year-old Jinichi Kawakami of the Koka clan is the country’s last living ninja grandmaster. However, 80-year-old Masaaki Hatsumi claims he is also the leader of Togakure clan. So, there might be two living ninjas, but neither one plans to name an heir, which means the end of the ninja in Japan. Both men have day jobs—Kawakami is an engineer; Hatsumi runs an international martial-arts organization—and they claim that the ways of the ninja just don’t serve much purpose today. "In the age of civil wars or during the Edo period, ninjas' abilities to spy and kill, or mix medicine may have been useful," Kawakami said. “But we now have guns, the Internet, and much better medicines, so the art of ninjutsu has no place in the modern age."


Support Outside Online

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.

Contribute to Outside
Filed To: News