Did you think Chinese New Year was the only holiday this month? Ninja Please! Read on to find out more!
As we have extensively discussed here, here, and especially HERE, Japan has some, to say the least, “interesting” quirks. But come February 22nd, this is one Japanese quirk we hope eventually makes it to the United States.
Apparently February 22nd marks the hallowed Ninja Day in Japan! That’s right, you read that correctly, Japan has a day dedicated to commemorating the stealthy shuriken tossing, sword slanging, hide-in-a-river-breathing-out-of-a-bamboo-stick masters of espionage; NINJAS!
One town in particular is ripping off the dial and cranking that sumbitch up to eleven. Koka City in Shiga Prefecture is going all out on this shinobi celebration. High and low you can see their admiration for the ninja throughout their fair city. The floor of the Koka train station has been adorned with ninja star patterns, and even the Koka City Tourisim Promotion Office is getting in on the action.
In an elaborate commitment to ninjutsu that would make Sho Kosugi proud, the five employee team has spent the week going to work, doing work, and leaving working dressed up as NINJAS! Let’s keep in mind that their offices are not tucked away in some corner of a generic building due to bureaucratic budget cuts that don’t fund the arts. Well ninja arts that is. No, they are SMACK DAB in the middle of Koka’s city hall. These employees have even gone all Daniel Day Lewis on staying in character for this project, handing out ninja star origami to any visitor looking for information about the city and their local attractions.
They are even planning on boarding subway trains on the 22nd in full ninja garb making and handing out origami ninja weapons to tourists and locals alike.
Now as over the top as this may sound, there is some method to their ninja madness. This tribute to all things ninja is a nod to the city’s historical ties to the shadow warrior. The city of Koka can also be read as “Koga”an allusion to the infamous Koga-ryu, a legendary ninja clan that originated in the city now known as Koka. It is believed, according to legend, that while the ancient city of Koka was under the helm of the Rokkaku Clan around 1487, the Rokkaku Clan or Hexagon Clan as it is also known, began ignoring the orders of the then Shogunate from the Ashikaga or Muromachi dynasty, leading to an open rebellion.
Eventually general Ashikaga Yoshihisa furious with such acts of insurrection brought an army to quell the rebellion from Koka. Although the general was able to attack and capture the headquarters of Rokkaku, the father son team of Rokkaku Masayori and Takayori fled to the mountains with a small band of ninja rebels.
Through guerrilla warfare tactics and what we are assuming were ninjas stars for days, the remaining Rokkaku clan attacked and eventually wore (or should it be war) out their enemies, ending a three year battle. Such acts of strategy and flat out sticking it to the man, became the stuff of ninja lore in Japan, and thus the legend of the ninja became not only a great name for a Micheal Dudikoff movie, but cemented in history.
So if you are going to be in Japan February 22nd make sure you stop on by to Koka. If not, don’t worry, ninja events THROUGHOUT Japan will be happening, and you can find out more about it here.
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