Photo/IllutrationTraditional ninja group Kurondo performs at the Kurondo Matsuri festival at the Aekunijinja shrine in Iga, Mie Prefecture, on Nov. 23. (Takumi Fujii)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

Traditional ninja group Kurondo is taking its show to Moscow for the first time to perform at the 21st “Nihon no Kokoro" (The Heart of Japan) Japanese music festival.

Brandishing weapons including the "kanawa" (an iron ring) and the "kusarigama" (a chain and a sickle), the troupe will show off its fierce fighting skills and "ongyo-jutsu" (escape and disappearing techniques), backed by local musicians.

Kurondo is led by Hiromitsu Kuroi, 59, who became enthralled by the ninja world when he was a student and studied under ninja scholar Jinichi Kawakami, known as the “Last Ninja.”

Commenting on the upcoming Moscow performance, Kuroi said, “I hope audiences will see the ninja’s wise thinking to survive war as well as their martial arts skills.”

His troupe has close links with Iga, Mie Prefecture, where a famous ninja clan used to exist, and has performed ninja shows in Japan and other countries. The troupe will appear at the Moscow festival in the afternoon of Dec. 22.

At the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Kurondo will perform an action-packed story of ninja serving Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616), the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, battling assassins one after another to protect him.

“Nihon no Kokoro,” which opened in September, is a part of the “Nihon no Aki 2019” (Japanese Autumn 2019) project to promote Japanese culture.

The Embassy of Japan in Russia and the Japan Foundation host the music festival to deepen friendships between Japan and Russia through Japanese dance and music concerts.

In 1984, Kuroi established Kurondo to showcase authentic ninja skills. Since then, in addition to doing shows in Japan and abroad, Kurondo has offered ninja lessons for beginners and even utilized its stealthy skills to teach disaster prevention.

The troupe performed in November at the Kurondo Matsuri festival at the Aekunijinja shrine in Iga, Mie Prefecture.