Last Ninja: ‘Be Able to Kill Your Students’ on Yahoo! News
Hatsumi is the only living student of the last “fighting ninja,” Toshitsugu Takamatsu, the so-called 33rd Grand Master who was a bodyguard to officials in Japanese-occupied Manchuria before World War II and fought — and won — 12 fights to the death.
Today, Hatsumi’s enemies are stereotypes and flagging interest in the ancient art. He seeks to leave the task to a worthy successor as speculation mounts about his retirement.
Most Japanese are exposed to martial arts in school. But the number practicing judo has been declining since the 1980s as more people turn to Western sports like golf and tennis. Sumo also has fallen on hard times, forcing the Japan Sumo Association to import stars.