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Colleges study Japan's delicious, dramatic and disregarded culture

Academically, gastronomy and ninja history remain unexplored frontiers

Japanese cuisine made UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2013 -- a sign, one expert said, that it is "at risk of extinction."   © Reuters

OSAKA -- From the outside looking in, it appears Japanese culture is standing the test of time. The country is home to rich culinary traditions. The world is fascinated by its history, especially the more thrilling episodes, like the exploits of ninjas. Sake brewers concoct an array of subtle flavors that drinkers around the globe are beginning to discover.

And yet, on Japanese shores, these aspects of the culture are rarely explored academically. Some may even be fading. So to preserve Japan's heritage and further cultivate global interest, the country's universities are creating new organizations and faculties dedicated to themes that have received little serious attention. 

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