NINJA HOPE: The war game created by a versatile, genius monk

Interview with Ryokyu Endo

語り手: 遠藤 喨及(えんどう・りょうきゅう)

東京生まれ。少年期をニューヨークで過ごす。浄土宗和田寺住職、タオ指圧/気心道創始者、ミュージシャン、平和活動アースキャラバン等々で、世界を股にかけて活躍。海外でも、天才マルチ僧侶と言われている。 個人ブログページ.

インタビュアー: 中河妙水

NINJA WAR is a simplified version of the “Chatrangha” game. The inventor of NINJA WAR and Chatrangha is Ryokyu Endo, a monk and a peace activist. Why did a peace activist monk invent a war game? What can you learn about the game’s background?


NINJA WAR is quite a simple game and a former Nintendo president said that it would have been really popular if it had come out before the computer game boom. And former students of Shorei Kai, which is a professional Shogi (Japanese chess) training school, were impressed enough by this game that they exclaimed, “What a deep, meaningful game!” 


The following interview with the inventor of NINJA WAR took place over a number of hours.





Chapter 1: Buddhism and the war game NINJA WAR
Chapter 2: Healed by the game
Chapter 3: Creating a brain that will succeed
Chapter 4: NINJA WAR is spiritual culture
Chapter 5: Win in the age of Artificial Intelligence

Buddhism and the war game NINJA WAR

NN (Interviewer): You have been creating and developing the war game NINJA WAR since you were in your early 20s. And I also heard that you once showed this game to a former president of Nintendo who said that it would have been really popular if it had come out before the computer game boom. This person suggested that you show your game to another company (part of Nintendo) that makes and sells board games.

Ryokyu Endo (RE): Yes, I had some connection with a former Nintendo president because he was a patient of mine, and he showed my game to their research and development department. They said that it was actually a pretty good game. 

NN: I see.

RE: I could have sold it in various department stores and small toy shops, but to tell you the truth, I didn’t really feel like going along that path; I wanted to do something much more meaningful than just selling the game.

NN: What did you want to do?

RE: For example, I wanted to create something like a community where people connect with each other by playing NINJA WAR as a board game or online, so they can be friends in the real world. Actually, one of my biggest and most long-standing wishes has been for there to be no lonely people in this world.

NN: Actually, at first I wondered why a priest would invent a war game. I thought to myself, “Priests should maybe invent peaceful games, but not war games.”

RE: I have been asked that kind of question and received criticism on this before. One time I was testing the rules of NINJA WAR with friends in a bar. By chance a Western girl, who happened to be drunk at the time, came to my table and said, “Why did you make such a war game? Shame on you!” Ha, ha, ha!

NN: Really?

RE: However, it was interesting what another Australian girl said. She told me that she could understand my feelings somehow because there was a very interesting sentence in an autobiography of the Dalai Lama that said he used to like creating and playing war games when he was a young boy.

NN: I see.

Reversal and integration of “War and Peace”

RE: Spiritually, war is the most negative and uncivilized action that a human being can take part in. In normal situations, no one wants to kill a person that they don’t know or be killed themselves.

NN: That’s true.

RE: In all nations, murder is considered a crime. However, war is a government’s order people to commit murder. War and the death penalty really contradict one another.

NN: I see.

RE: One of Buddhism’s philosophies is that conflicts can be unified. Actually, I started making this game after I began practising Buddhism. I wanted to unify the opposites of war and peace by making this game. As I look back, I now think that was the reason.

NN: Do you think that the Dalai Lama used to play war games when he was young for the same reason as you?

RE: If that were so, it would be interesting. I remember I once travelled to Nepal for a few days with some relatives of the Dalai Lama and they said that he is a fun and loving person.

NN: Yes! He always looks so fun and loving when you see him in photographs.

The original Shogi (Japanese chess) was a war game created by a Buddhist monk

RE: A “Declaration of War” between nations always starts with the cutting off of relationships.

NN: When nations stop their dialogue, it leads to war and aggression between them.

RE: From the point of view of Buddhist philosophies, it is contradictory things that can reverse situations and create unification. This means that a game with a war theme, with low violence and interactive features, can be a sophisticated communication tool to create peace.

NN: I see….

RE: The games of Shogi and Chess both originated in ancient India. There was a war game called “Chatrangha” that was developed in the 6th and 7th centuries. One of the high priests created Chatrangha and gave it to a King who loved waging war, in order to help convince him to stop.

NN: So, original of Shogi and Chess were created by a Buddhist priest who was against a war!!!

RE: I named the game that I created NINJA WAR in honor of the way this Buddhist priest thought. By the way, in Japan, Shogi was popular in the Edo period (AD 1603-1867), which was a peaceful time that lasted over two hundred years. I’ve heard that back then, in the evening, you could find people playing Shogi on streetsides, surrounded by spectators.

NN: That is a peaceful scene.

RE: I heard that in the time of Confucius (the founder of ancient Chinese philosophy), people had to study Shogi. Confucius made his students study music, Shogi, calligraphy, and drawing.

NN: In China and Western countries, where Chess was known as “the game of kings,” Shogi and Chess used to be among the intellectual accomplishments of the upper class.

RE: Intellectual strategy games have the ability to simulate life in people’s minds.

Making choices and decisions in life

NN: What is the difference between Shogi/Chess and NINJA WAR?

RE: Shogi and Chess are both really high-level, “mind-reading” games. The rules of NINJA WAR are very simple compared with those of Shogi. NINJA WAR is a mind-reading game that works with intelligence, intuition, and imagination.

NN: Why do players of NINJA WAR say that the depth of the game is the same and no less than that of Shogi?

RE: Because you might see the same situations in your life as on the board, where you are forced to make choices and decisions. Shogi and Chess aren’t games of “chance,” but in NINJA WAR we use dice, so there is an element of “chance” involved. NINJA WAR, as an intellectual mind-reading game, is like real life, with the thrill of the battlefield added, because of the element of “chance” involved in it.

Healed by the game

NN: I hear many players say that NINJA WAR is a game that expresses the opponent’s view of life on the board. What do you think about this?

RE: I think it’s because this game uses a battlefield theme. In a desperately severe situation on a battlefield, people will express their character most clearly and honestly without covering anything up.

NN: There was a good film that really describes well about desperation of a battlefield. It is “Downfall”.

RE: That film shows the 12 days before Berlin fell during the last days of World War II.

NN: The Soviet Union’s (Russian) army was coming and the German military had to really face their hopelessness in the situation. Nazis in the headquarters were drinking themselves stupid and having crazy parties and some were escaping by mixing with the civilians. The part I was moved by in that film was that there were still officers and regular soldiers in the German military who faced up to their responsibilities and tried to protect the city and the civilians until the very end. It was probably the people’s view of life, how to live, coming out in that desperate situation.

RE: I think that the one who doesn’t give up taking responsibility until the end is the one who won’t have regrets when the time of their death is upon them.

NN: There are some people who feel something is moving on a deep level in their subconscious when they are playing NINJA WAR.

RE: Players are looking at the entire battle situation and subconsciously playing two roles: a commander who orders soldiers onto the front line of a battlefield where they might be killed. and soldiers who are in the extreme situation of facing death on the front line.

NN: I understand.

RE: Commander and soldier are in some way the opposite of each other. A commander’s victory would never exist without a soldier’s sacrifice, ordered by that commander. In the meanwhile, soldiers are ordered to go to the front line and have to face really desperately severe situation “live or die”. Players are going back and forwards these opposite roles in the subconscious.


NINJA WAR is “Sandplay Therapy.”

RE: The reason why your subconscious is stimulated by NINJA WAR is that it has some of the same elements as “Sandplay Therapy.”

NN: What is Sandplay Therapy?

RE: It is a method of psychotherapy that Dora Kalff, a Jungian therapist from Switzerland, created. It is a box filled with sand where you can arrange various models, such as houses, forests, angels, monsters, etc., etc. in the sand to create a set and play out a drama.

Sandplay Therapy

The Stone Garden of Ryoan Ji Temple

NN: I see.

RE: When Swiss Sandplay therapists came to Japan and saw the Stone Garden in Kyoto they were all impressed, saying “This is just like Sandplay Therapy.”

NN: Oh, yes.

RE: Stone gardens are designed so that the mind enters a state of meditation just by looking at them. The arrangement of the forest and buildings on the NINJA WAR game board was decided with the sense of creating a stone garden.

NN: Is that so!?

RE: Players’ subconscious minds are reflected in the movement of the pieces on the board, and that’s how Kenchi Mogi, who now lives in Canada, can understand the relationship of a couple playing NINJA WAR by how they move their pieces.

NN: How interesting it is!

RE: The person who first started using Sandplay Therapy in Japan was the late Jungian psychologist Professor Hayao Kawai. He also sometimes played Shogi with the children as play therapy. According to him, their way of playing Shogi became more positive after their hidden aggression was expressed.

NN: NINJA WAR can be a good tool in play therapy.

RE: Actually, some women say they don’t want to play NINJA WAR because they are afraid their true character or nature will come out during the game. However, I think a person’s subconscious is awakened by playing NINJA WAR rather than their true nature coming out.

NN: What meaning does it that the subconscious is awakened?

RE: It means that you will be able to realize your higher self by facing hidden negative emotions and hurts of the heart and integrating the shadows of the mind. 

This is one of the purposes of Buddhist practice, and mental growth entails pain. That’s why many people give up the practice.

NN: I think I got it.


Wildness can make people more attractive

RE: It is very important for human beings to face hidden negative emotions and hurts of the heart. The reason why is that you cannot be kind to other people and understand their weaknesses without awakening hidden violence. For example, in the book Midlife Crisis written by the aforementioned Hayao Kawai, he said that middle-aged people will lose their attractiveness if they don’t have any wildness in their character.

NN: It is necessary for people to be mature and more attractive so that they are aware of the shadow of hidden violence and gain wholeness.

RE: That’s why human beings have created sports, martial arts, the culture of Shogi, and the like, which have a wild form of competition.


NINJA WAR is one of the therapy tools

RE: As I mentioned before that players’ subconscious appear on the game board of NINJA WAR, playing games will be psychology therapy if they play them, empathizing with each other. It is a long time ago when I recognized this thing and I was working at the mental hospital in Okinawa. At that time I was treating patients by shiatsu massages and teaching staff how to do Shiatsu. It was Yo Yahata, my friend and a psychologist that introduced me this hospital. He likes playing NINJA WAR and we often played it together. It was very interesting that he always said he had got catharsis* whenever he won or lost games.

catharsis*: one of the psychological terms. the meaning is the process of releasing and thereby providing relief from strong or repressed emotions

NN: Mr. Yahata is a criminal psychologist. His feeling means I’m healed.

Creating a brain that will succeed

NN: You visit Bangladesh every year as one of international support activities by NPO Earth Caravan, which you started up. When I saw the pictures of the NINJA WAR game competitions held at local elementary schools or universities, I was surprised that the children and adults seemed to be absolutely full of life. Why did you think you would hold the NINJA WAR game competitions at elementary schools or universities in Bangladesh?

Competition at a local elementary school. All of them look so serious!

Competition at a local university

Because Bangladesh is part of Indian culture areas. In the first place, there was no progress in mathematics without the invention of zero in India. Zero is a number as a concept that does not actually exist. In Indian culture, numbers were not mere expression of quantities but “spiritual numbers” that represent the universe as philosophical concept.

NN: I see

RE: As India and countries with Indian culture have such as a cultural basic, I thought they would be open to NINJA WAR.

NN: I agree

RE: And it is the same in Western countries as they consider numbers as spirits. For example, lucky seven has more meaning than expression of quantities. And Pythagoras, well known for the Pythagorean theorem, was not only a mathematician but also a guru of the Greek new religious cult, who could explain the truth of the universe by mathematics.

NN: What? Was Pythagoras a guru?

RE: The IT revolution would not have broken out without the invention of zero. In the world of computer, all data are written in the binary system with only zero and one. And I heard that there are only four people in the world who can understand the world’s leading mathematics. Perhaps mathematics can be the same as philosophy which can explain the profound truths of the universe in such a world.

NN: Only four people in the world….. I’m confused by this story. 

RE: The people who are familiar with a mathematical principle have many opportunities to come across spirituality. Dr. Hideki Yukawa and Albert Einstein were same. Kiyoshi Oka*, a mathematician, was a very enthusiastic practitioner of Nembutsu chanting and respected St. Bennei** most.

* Kiyoshi Oka is a famous mathematician who made a worldwide discovery. (1901-1978)

** St. Bennei is a saint who preached Nembutsu chanting beyond any religious denominations in the Meiji and Taisho eras.


How to win and succeed in a life by forecasting future?

RE: Basically, in games you compete against one another through numbers. However, how large a number is does not reflect the strength or weakness of a card or dice. For example, generally, in a deck of playing cards, the ace is stronger than the king even though the number 1 is smaller than the number 13. Players project the image of a strong card onto the number 1.

NN: That’s right.

RE: NINJA WAR is a game where players see through the opponent’s real intention through logical mathematical thinking and imagination. This type of thinking can help you to forecast your future and think out strategies in real life.

NN: How can I improve my ability to forecast the future and think out strategies?

RE: You should think about and come to understand your present situation, keeping a view toward becoming successful and winning in the future. You should also consider what you can do or what you should do to make the future you’ve imagined come true. Then you will know what you need to do and how to approach the future.

NN: The important thing is not to think about the present as it relates to the future, but think about the future as it relates to the present. Switch the order of the way you think.


Overcoming difficulties is what life is about

RE: Sometimes the actions you consider from the viewpoint of your future might not bring direct success. However, if you continue on with a view of getting success and winning in the future, not asking for instant results, I’m quite sure there will be some kind of new development. And that will be the fruit of your future, which is success.

NN: I see.

RE: If you don’t take the time and spend the energy to imagine a bright future, you will just act “in the moment.” And if something bad happens to you or something disturbs you, you will start thinking that you’re wasting your time. As a result, you will stop imagining a bright future and lose the chance to develop it.

RE: It’s a matter of course in life that you will have difficulty in the process of success. It is miraculously arranged by the Great Universe that problems will happen to you while you are approaching to success. 

NN: Why does it happen to us?

RE: The most important thing in our life is how we can overcome difficulties rather than we can get a good result. 

NN: Wow! I didn’t know that.

RE: Playing NINJA WAR is same as you are doing a rehearsal of your life.You will know that you can make your wish come true by overcoming difficulties, playing the game and carrying out simulation in your brain. 


What is a true winner/ success?

RE: The opponent is another yourself. NINJA WAR matches are symbolizing that you are fighting against yourself rather than against the other like martial arts. Therefore, NINJA WAR is the game you are playing with reasonable/stable mind beyond competition.

NN: Aha.

RE: People can become a winner of true life by standing with stable mind which is beyond competition.

NN: I understand!


It makes sense to be optimistic

RE: Situation are created by beliefs. When you are playing NINJA WAR, the more stable belief you have and the more relaxed you are, the more initiative you can take.

NN: What does it mean to have a belief?

RE: In other words, it is to be optimistic (LOL).

NN: Is it so!! (LOL)

RE: If players don’t have belief, in other words, if they are not optimistic, they cannot create good situation for themselves but only you panic at the opponent’s’ attack. However, if player is optimistic and imagine a bright future, all pieces are moving not separately but beautifully unified like an organism with a clear will.

NN: Aha.

RE: If players are optimistic, they can watch the situation objectively with humors even they are so stuck. Then, they come up with an unexpected idea that changes the situation. And they can change the situation dramatically with the next move and get a big win. 

Humor is important in NINJA WAR and in life.

NN: I see.

RE: It is very common that each move can change a situation for each other. NINJA WAR is the game that they can create a new situation and future by their own strategy and each move. Players can improve their wisdom for their life by this game.


It is a success for life to overcome difficulties.

NN: I think that it is totally different that virtual experience in the game and real life.

What do you think about this?

RE: Both are same in subconscious world. It is the same theory that clients of sandplay therapy can change their life by creating a work.

NN: How can people set down heavy load of the past and new bright future ?

RE: They should make it clear that what they will get in their future and what they should release/ sacrifice for that now. NINJA WAR is the game with the theme about for what they want to make a choice and decision in their own life.

NN: Also Alice Schmitzhofer, a doctor from Austria, said that NINJA WAR is a game in which you can experience the same things that happen when you make choices and decisions in real life.

Dr. Alice Schmitzhofer from Austria

RE: You need to keep making choices and decisions in NINJA WAR and also in real life. That’s why new dramas are about to begin in both and this is the most interesting point. Players enjoy and are excited at creating dramas on the game board.

NN: When NINJA WAR competition was held at the university in Bangladesh, you said, “The reason why I invested this game was that I wanted people to improve the skills to make better strategy and decision to succeed in life.”

RE: Therefore, it is children that I want to learn NINJA WAR. I would like them to understand it is real success in life that they can overcome whatever happened to them.

NN: Yes. I wish children will get spiritual skills for success in life as soon as possible. How

old can they start playing NINJA WAR?

RE: There are some children who are playing it as early as at kindergarten.

 I think it’s usual that first graders of elementary school play it.

NN: They are younger than I expected. 

RE: Many children can understand with intuition that they need life simulation in the brain to play this game. It is because they are subconsciously thinking about a strategy how to live their life since now.

NN: That’s why most children enjoy playing NINJA WAR.


NINJA WAR is spiritual culture

RE: Today, if you have enough money, you can live without interaction with others. In Japan today, there are 30,000 people who die in isolation each year, and this number will increase to 200,000 by 2040. That’s what is expected.

NN: — (… No words…) That’s something a big number.

RE: Today we live in a “lonely isolated era.” People need something they can’t do alone, or something they can’t do without a partner. In the first place, I created Chatranga in order to provide a tool for making friends that people can talk with each other in a fun way.

NN: The concept of “Creating a new communication culture” for Chatranga came from there.

RE: our way of communication has improved dramatically with the IT revolution.In fact, this brought about a kind of the side effect of infiltrating people to the philosophies of Mahayana Buddhism at an unconscious level.

NN: Oh ! What do you mean?

RE: In the past, communication was only possible from individual to individual or from this side to to that side. However, email can be sent and received in real time between multiple people.

This was something that was not possible with the old-fashioned communication method. Now it is also difficult to imagine the state of the past

In the Kegon philosophy, which is one of the teachings of Buddhism explains “all beings are mutually included and instantly change each other” as the reality of the universe (the truth).The global Buddhist boom is taking place as a result of this philanthropy spreading to the unconscious of those who are exchanging e-mails. That’s why even now Google is calling a Buddhist monk to do a workshop.

NN: Oh my … it is interesting. So which is that the philosophies of Mahayana Buddhism, that “things against each other are the same in the origin,” are penetrated in the player’s unconsciousness in Chatranga?

RE: That’s right, but it’s through the games, so it maybe means that the understanding of Buddhist philosophies comes with humor.


The card game was born from astrology 

RE: In the first place, the game has the role of penetrating mental culture into people unconsciously.For example, playing cards is a simplified version of tarot. It is a tool for the game born of astrology. The playing cards infiltrated astrology and tarot banned by Roman Catholicism to people’s unconscious.

NN: Oh, is that right?

RE: Playing cards expresses the important sun position (winter solstice and summer solstice) in astrology with red and black cards. The four seasons of spring, summer, autumn, and winter are four types of cards, such as spades and hearts. And it is a card from 1 (Ace) to 13 (King) that represents 1 year (13 months) of the solar calendar.

NN: Why is it 13 months?

RE: One year was originally 13 months. One cycle of the moon is 28 days, so it is natural.

NN: So why is one year 12 months now?

RE: Pope Gregory XV devised the Gregorian calendar (12 months per year), and it became the world standard.

NN: It’s a shame to hear that.

RE: There are 52 cards (for 52 weeks) in the deck of playing cards. One week is seven days, so multiplying by 52 gives 364 (52 x 7 = 364). But one year is 365 days, so for one day is missing.

NN: Oh! 

RE: So, that’s why they included one card called Joker, that can become anything, such as a “Trickster.” 

※Trickstar / A symbol of a mischievous kid. He breaks the rule and brings something new to the world with that. One of the archetypes described in Jungian psychology. Usually there is a trickster-like character in each class in school.

NN: Ah, okay, then. It is one year…. By the way, is there a trick star like piece in NINJA WAR?

RE: Yes, Bomber and submarine, they are the piece from the final version of NINJA WAR, called Chatranga. Those perform like a trick star. The world becomes more exciting with the characteristic that not fitting with common sense of the society.

NN: When you play the final version of Chatranga, which includes the “bomber” that flies in the sky and the “submarine” that navigates in the ocean, everyone says, “It makes me feel like watching a movie, and experiencing a spectacular drama.”


“Go” was born from oriental divination

RE: Also the meaning of “Go” — a Chinese made board game of capturing territory — is interesting. “Go” is the game to penetrate the teaching of oriental divination into your unconscious level. Go Ishi — piece of Go– are balck and white, it is meaning to represent Yin and yang

NN: Is that right !!

RE: The center square of the Go board is called “Gen Ki” ( another name “Tengan” ). It means the fundamental root energy of the universe. 

NN: Chess, checkers, and Othello (and “Reversi,” commercialized in the UK in 1888) also use black and white pieces.

RE: The black and white pieces in the Western games represent “the fight between light and dark.” This is a symbol of “the struggle between good and evil”; and the Gnostics, known as Christian heretics, thought of it like this “All matter is evil, and the non-material, spirit-realm is good. 

NN: Go is divination; playing cards are astrology; checkers and Othello (Riversi) are Christian; and shogi and Chatranga are Buddhism. Games are really the essence of mental culture, aren’t they?

But isn’t it usually hard to notice that games have so much meaning in life?

RE: Because everything has become commercialized today, games are seen as mere toys (products). But games, like music, are a mental culture that penetrates the subconsciousness of the people.

NN: Yes, they are.


There is no absolute strongest existence in nature. 

RE: In Kanji culture (Chinese-influenced culture), they express one week as Sun, Moon, Fire, Water, Wood, Metal, and Earth. Sun and Moon represent Yin and Yang, and Fire, Water, Wood, Metal, and Earth represent the five elements. The root of the idea is Yin/Yang and the five elements philosophy from China.

NN: What is the five elements philosophy ?

RE: Structure of nature is that Yin and Yang (man and woman etc.) support each other and also it is made up by the circulation of fire, water, Wood, Metal and Earth. The relationship between the five elements is interesting. For example, “Fire is stronger than Wood because it burns Wood, but Fire is weaker than Water because it is extinguished by water.”

NN: Which means there is no absolute strongest existence in nature.

RE: In Rock, Scissors, and paper, “The scissors win the paper, the paper wins the Rock, so, this game is a simplified version of the five elements. Also in the NINJA WAR, the cavalier, Samurai, and catapult tops have the same power relationships as the Rock, Scissors, and paper.

NN: There is no absolute strongest existence in NINJA WAR that is following the form of Rock, Scissors, and Paper.which is simplified form of the five elements as well.


Win in the age of Artificial Intelligence


RE: In the future, you will be able to interact with robots with artificial intelligence (AI). Even if you can’t have a real interaction which is included emotions, it will happen that human beings have a love toward robots.

NN: Oh~ is that possible?

RE: Currently, there are people called “moe otaku”: geeks who feel love and affection toward two-dimensional animation characters and figures instead of toward real women and men. In a sense, they are pioneers who are unconsciously showing on behalf of the rest of us how future human beings will love robots.

NN: Yes, that’s it!

RE: Speaking of robots, if artificial intelligence comes in, computer competitions at NINJA WAR will be at a fairly strong level.

NN: What kind of match will it be ?

RE: The programmer on the computer side will come to the battle after examining the past match pattern of the opponent’s human NINJA WAR player. The programmer put the data such as whether the other party’s NINJA WAR player is careful type or aggressive type in. I think that human players who play against artificial intelligence will feel like they are facing themselves

NN: The match will be interesting

RE: You may need to process the game as a player with different life style and personality are supposed to play. you make a move that is out of your pattern you made in the past. In other words, as if it was another human being (?). You play with the movement of “out of the reading” of artificial intelligence.

NN: That must be fun!


The time of AI will be coming soon

RE: AI (Artificial Intelligence) will be developed from now on more and more, and computer control will come into every place of life. There will soon be robot-operated taxis.

NN: Oh Wow.

RE: It is certain that the work of artificial intelligence and robots in society will increase rapidly in the future. Driving a car is only part of it, and so much more will be done by artificial intelligence and robots. Because of it, our daily life style even industrial structure dramatically change. Not only physical aspects, but also judgment of personal things such as marriage and employment may be left to artificial intelligence.

NN: When do you think it will happen?

RE: It will be sooner than you think. The Wright brothers’ first flight was in 1903, but at that time “scientists” were saying that “Nothing can float in the sky”. But only 66 years later, we landed on the moon.

NN: I have read that 70% of what used to be in SF was realized.

RE: From now on, the analysis rate will progress very fast by quantum computer. Robots will become more and more human like. And the one with an artificial skin will be developed either.

NN: And robots that look the same as humans will do various things.

RE: Naturally, at that time, “How the human being independently create their own life?” Becomes an issue.

NN: It’s a little scary 


Understanding mind of the robot??! 

RE: By the way, as I hold some NINJA WAR meetings for programming of the match against computer, I thought I experienced as the first time a little bit of how AI (Artificial Intelligence) thinks.

In order to make computers memorize the established tactic of NINJA WAR, it doesn’t work at all for the computers if you give an ambiguous image that human imagine. It doesn’t work in languages such as “to move many pieces towards a place where the other party’s pieces are less populated,” which is common to human opponents.

Images must be translated into numbers and verbalized. I had to image (?) How the computer thinks.

NN: I see ….

RE: Computers can not recognize things in images, but only in numbers.Imagining such the way of AI thinking.

Replace what human beings understand through images to the numbers. And making it to verbalize.

For me, it was a strange feeling like I became a man in the future who is somehow understanding the thinking of robots.

NN: That’s interesting

RE: However, it may be because it was work to program a computer match of NINJA WAR Even if it is the same type of a game of intellectual reading, it may not be such a thing if it is a Shogi.


Shogi is Newtonian mechanics / Chatranga is quantum mechanics

NN: What is the difference between readings in Shogi and NINJA WAR?

RE: The reading in Shogi is clear that the cause and the result are “If you move this way, the other person moves this way.” The causality of readings is clear.

If you illustrate Shogi’s reading to physics, it is the Newtonian mechanics that all of the universe can be explained by causality.

On the other hand, NINJA WAR’s reading is quantum mechanical. Not only causality but also accidental elements must be included in the reading.

In the latest quantum theory, it is said that the whole universe is organically related, and also said there is no difference between the chance and the inevitable. In terms of content, it is almost the same as the philosophies of Mahayana Buddhism.

NN: Is that right !?

RE: AI only can make next move based on the past data from the relationship between cause and result, and can’t “enlighten” or to have an intuition. even the robot becomes human like looking as much as possible, it can’t act. But maybe they can say something to let humans think as if they are acting. Therefore, even against the absolutely strongest AI in Shogi–japanese chess–,. a NINJA WAR player who highly trained to develop his intuition is possibly able to win over the AI.

NN: I see.

Is humanity trying to call the devil out with AI?

RE: Shogi is one of the most advanced intellectual games created by mankind, but ironically, that shogi has proven that humans can never beat robots by logical judgement, 

NN: Is that feeling of anxiety something like threatening the reason of our existence? I have a feeling like that humans will be threatened by artificial intelligence in the future.

RE: Also Dr. Hawking announced “Development of complete AI can bring the end of mankind” at the interview on BBC ( 2014/ Dec/ 2) 

NN: Really? …

RE: Tesla CEO Elon Musk also said at the symposium “2014 Centennial” that “humanity is trying to call the devil with AI”.

NN: Okay … and  

RE: According to one theory, by 2045, artificial intelligence itself will create more advanced artificial intelligence. This is called singularity, but if that happens, development will no longer be able to be stopped. That humans feel terror about this is a natural reaction.

NN: Yes it’s true.

RE: Certainly, technology is a double-edged sword, so it can be a devil. However, Buddha and Jesus Christ confronted the devil, and overcame this problem to open up to enlightenment and realize the truth. From now on, the theme will be how humans will overcome the devil and wake up to spirituality.

NN: really …

RE: I cannot say that the devil really here. But we are now at a turning point in an era such as we’ve never seen before. It is an era that makes us to be forseed that all of intelligent games created by humans may eventually be analyzed.

NN: What do you mean “analyzed” ?

RE: It means that the manual of how to win the game will be created. The checker and the 6 square x 6 square Othello reversi have already been analyzed.

NN: I feel that if it were clear how to win or easy to win the game, it would be a sad situation.

RE: Well, even in such times, there is some hope. It means that people will become more respectful and feel more importance to spiritual culture and spirituality such as art and religion. In any case, mankind will become more relying on artificial intelligence for various decisions, and as a consequence will have to face seriously about our live with robots.


Brain training in the age of AI

NN: My question is “Human beings should have some Inexplicable and mysterious aspect in its nature. But what happens to these aspects when humans live with artificial intelligence (robots)? “I also feel that “the development of artificial intelligence will make mankind have to grow spiritually more.”

RE: I understand.

NN: When I think about the development of artificial intelligence, the mixed feelings of “a little scary” and the feeling of “this is necessary” come out from me. While listening to your explanation, I became interested. I thought, “I want to play NINJA WAR against a real humanoid robot !”

RE: Since NINJA WAR is a game that intuition and thought are unified, the human vs. artificial intelligence game is a battle between human intuition and AI’s logical thinking. I think that the match will surely be interesting because humans and artificial intelligence play against in the life simulation game, NINJA WAR,

NN: It must be 

RE: Humans can no longer beat computers in any intelligence game. There is even a possibility that Shogi will be analyzed.

NN: Well, well, well …

RE: But no matter what age comes, NINJA WAR remains the only intellectual game that humans can counter evenly artificial intelligence. I think that the “international NINJA WAR computer match” (provisional name) of humans and artificial intelligence has the meaning of asking “What is the significance of human existence?”


Living on the premise of the future

NN: By the way, where are your ideas and thoughts coming from?

RE: Maybe I am living on the premise of the future ??

NN: Oh I see.

RE: People who bring innovation to society are all working on the premise of the future. Someone like Edison or Gandhi in old time. Recently, Steve Jobs … Without exception, they have been going forward by speedy action, Haven’t they ?

For example, most of Edison’s experiments were unsuccessful, but he continued the experiment just by taking a nap every day between the experiments. Steve Jobs also had called hundreds of times to executives in a large company when no one had an interest in him.

NN: Really …

RE: For Gandhi, the state of India colonized by Britain was “impossible situation.” In a clear image in Gandhi’s mind, India was an independent and free country. That image made Gandhi as a never give up independent movement activist.

NN: The future must had been clearly reflected in the image of those active people. That must would be kind of making them confused because they are living on the premise of the future..

RE: That’s why they work intensively hard so that to shorten the gap as soon as possible between the future which is already realized and the current moment which is confusing.

In any case, what is necessary to realize things is the speed of action. Anyone who realizes the future will be quick to act without exception, and immediately implement what they thought it is good. They instinctively know that “Time is life”.             

NN: That kind of ideas are with those active people. By the way, you told me that NINJA WAR remains the only intelligent game that humans can compete against robots. Artificial intelligence is more of a positive thing that develops a new spirit of human beings, rather than a “negativity like the devil.”

RE: Any negative thing can be positive. In current intellectual games such as shogi and chess, humans who have been completely defeated by robots are conversely mentally polished and developed and improved at NINJA WAR.

NN: What kind of mental ability will humans be trained and developed in the match against NINJA WAR AI (artificial intelligence)? I am also looking forward to find it out.


The relation between a man who began the history of AI and NINJA WAR. 

RE: The first person to build a computer game and online game in NINJA WAR is an Israeli person named Arrie Ludich.

He was part of a team that wrote an AI program called Deep Blue, which defeated Chess World Champion Garry Kasparov.

NN: Wow, really! The person who created the history of AI was also involved in the development of NINJA WAR.

RE: Now, He was completely retired from the computer world and for some reason became a Buddhist Monk in Thailand. The other day, he called me for the first time in a few years and told me he now lives in a cave.He once said that NINJA WAR, which has an element of coincidence in the game, will be a very interesting theme for future AI researchers.


To manifest the ideal future

NN: The other day I asked the players, “What did you feel when you first played NINJA WAR?” The person said, “I felt like I had activated a part of my brain that I had never used before.” What do you think this means?

RE: For example, there are people who relive various events in their lives in an extremely short time in the event of an accident. Also at such a time, when re-experiencing life within a short time, parts of the brain that are not used in daily life are working.

NN: That must be it.

RE: In the age of artificial intelligence which will be coming in the near future, it is necessary to activate the parts of the brain that humankind has not used before. And what we use in NINJA WAR is that part of the brain that human beings have never used before.

NN: That’s what it is !!

RE: In the age of artificial intelligence, which has a tool for thinking in large quantities in a short time, humans are required to perform rapid brain activities. NINJA WAR is a game that you can experience the trial and error of your life in a very short time such as less than an hour. 

NN: Yes.

RE: The child’s brain is having the process of cell division at a tremendous speed, so the experience of simulating process inside of the brain within a short time is right with NINJA WAR.

NN: That’s the part of a good compatibility between children and NINJA WAR.

RE: Children are unconsciously foreseeing the future. So they train their brains in NINJA WAR as if they were meeting the demands of a new era. Children who have speedy brain movements need to activate the parts of the brain that humans haven’t used so far.

NN: That’s why. children understand NINJA WAR quickly.

RE: On the other hand, Chatranga has missions that are beyond the time of this era. It is the achievement of the spirit of Chaturanga (an ancient game that NINJA WAR was modelled on), which was devised for peace by high-level Indian monks in the 6th century. In other words, NINJA WAR is designed to bring peace to the world, instill the Mahayana Buddhist philosophy in people’s subconsciousness, and let them realize freedom in their hearts.

NN: That’s so wonderful!

RE: Historian Arnold J Toynbee (1889-1975) was asked about the future of mankind, and he answered: “The historian talks about the past, but not the future. If you ask what kind of personality is required in the 21st century, I can answer. It is the spirit of Mahayana Buddhism.”

NN: Is that right!?!


Arnold J Toynbee


RE: In Mahayana Buddhism, “All the past, present and future are in this moment.” Where is that “moment”? It is the momentary “brightness of the heart” that acts to realize an ideal future. The shining of that heart will realize the ideal future.