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Japanese student gets top marks for writing ninja essay in invisible ink

TOKYO: A Japanese student of ninja history who handed in a blank paper was given top marks – after her professor realised the essay was written in invisible ink.

Eimi Haga followed the ninja technique of “aburidashi”, spending hours soaking and crushing soybeans to make the ink. The words appeared when her professor heated the paper over his gas stove.

“I knew that I needed to take it home and put it above a stove,” said Yuji Yamada, who teaches Japanese history, including ninja culture.

“She replicated what is written in records of ninja art. She strived to prove what was written actually works and went through a trial-and-error process. I was impressed,” he said.

After enrolling at Mie University in Japan, the first-year student took a class in ninja history, and was asked to write about a visit to the Ninja Museum of Igaryu.

When the characters of Haga’s essay revealed themselves in the heat, Yamada – who had promised his students’ extra marks for creativity – decided to award her an A grade.

Haga, 19, made the ink by soaking soybeans overnight and then squeezing them into a paste.

She said she had tested three different kinds of paper for the optimum effect.

“If the paper is too thin, it burns when heated. If it’s too thick, it doesn’t absorb the ink very well,” she said.

“I usually use pens and PC to write things. It’s been a while since I took a brush to write with invisible ink,” she said.

Yamada said reports filed as scrolls or folded into throwing stars were the most creative his students had been up until now.

“We discussed the use of invisible ink, but I was amazed that someone actually used it,” he said, adding that he didn’t read the entire paper because he wanted to keep some of Haga’s work invisible.

“By learning about ninja… we can apply their knowledge and ways to modern society.” – Agencies.

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