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88 households in Shiga city cite family ties with ninja

Sukeo Ban, second from right, who was recognized as a ninja descendant by the city government, is seen in Koka, Shiga Prefecture, on Feb. 21, 2016. The banner reads "Descendants of the 53 Koka clans found." (Mainichi)

KOKA, Shiga -- People from 88 households here have identified themselves as descendants or relatives of ninja, the city government announced on Feb. 21.

    Koka, a traditional abode of ninja, sent questionnaires to 725 households with the same family names as 53 historical Koka ninja clans to find possible descendants of the stealthy martial artists. The municipality is hoping to promote tourism by clarifying the history of ninja.

    The 88 households that affirmed ties with ninja cited evidence including oral traditions that had been passed down. Over 30 families were in possession of physical evidence like old documents or throwing stars.

    Sukeo Ban, 73, who was recognized as a ninja descendant by the city government based on old documents handed down in his family, attended the city's announcement on the survey results.

    "It's was the first time I'd heard (that I'm a ninja descendant)," he said. "I guess it's in the ninja tradition that even my family didn't know."

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