Ninjas knew many
fighting methods and their
descendants stay proud.
I’ve found another place to add to my list of future Japanese destinations, 甲賀市・滋賀県 (Koka City, Shiga Prefecture), ancestral home of the ninja warrior. I was just doing a translation (for my own interest) of a news article today on how Koka City government officials, in a bid to locate any descendants of these warriors, carried out a survey among its residents and 88 households claim to be descendants of ninjas, some providing proof in either old makimono scrolls, pedigree records (I imagine these must have been well hidden given the nature of ninja work) or various weapons used and attire worn by these ninjas. Though they’re popular and feature in many movies, they probably don’t have the same fame as Samurai warriors but their role was just as important. Koka city is known for the Koga school of Ninjas. So sometimes Koka is written in English as Koga. The city officials are naturally chuffed to have confirmation of this ninja link to their city. A picture accompanying the article showed some of the civil servants wearing ninja outfits to promote the research.
Another drama I watched from South Korea lately was about a team of elite cops who use hidden identities to track a bunch of criminals with closer links to them than they think. Quite gripping. It starred the same actor I was admiring from a previous drama but he doesn’t really do well in this, acting wise. He’s beyond gorgeous (though with a different look this time) but his acting skills seem a bit dull throughout the series. A bit Keanu Reeves you know? As in a bit hit and miss acting wise but still great-looking (50 years of age he is this year – KR that is). What they call a ‘daikon’ in Japan. Some of the fighting skills these cops have are amazing and reminded me of what you see in ninja movies though of course Korea is where tae- kwan-do comes from and that was probably one of the martial art methods used here so I hope Koreans reading this aren’t offended by the comparison. It is hard to tell sometimes which martial art they are using in films if you don’t practice one yourself. I watched a martial arts film called Heroes of the East a good few months ago which is a sort of a mickey take on the differences between Chinese and Japanese martial arts (not that much at all) and general customs. It was a bit hammy but fun to watch and made little of the sometimes pompous attitude taken towards some martial arts. It’s not always noble ye know. I can’t think of the pair of directors who directed it but they’re famous in kung fu film circles. Anyhow, look it up and watch it. It’s fun.
Post-script: The Shaw brothers were the two I was looking for.