Japan facing Ninja shortage


The Japanese small city in the Mie Prefecture, nearly 300 miles outside of Tokyo city of Iga, the birthplace of ninjitsu, the tactic of unconventional guerrilla warfare and espionage, is suffering from a ninja shortage.


Where have all the ninjas gone? Iga, claims to be the birthplace of the ninja. The Japanese city has a rich heritage and culture tied to the ninja profession, which could create a tourism boom for Iga. The problem is that it simply doesn’t have enough ninjas.

According to information the Foreign Press Center of Japan obtained through its research, ninja performers can make between $23,000 and $85,000 a year. In an effort to highlight labor shortage and depopulation in Japan, we reported that several Japanese cities are hoping to increase ninja-based tourism. The example of $85,000 was an illustrative example and does not reflect any specific instance in Iga itself. However as the story notes, while many cities and towns are hoping to increase tourism through ninja-themed attractions such as performances and museums, there are not necessarily immediate vacancies for ninjas to be filled.

Where have all the ninjas gone?

This has affected the number of people who can work to sustain the city’s economy, particularly during the tourism periods when about 30,000 visitors arrive for the annual ninja festival.

Young people are migrating from the rural Iga because they do not want to live in the countryside, said mayor Sakae Okamoto.

As a result, the city is trying to promote ninja festival heavily to attract more tourists, he added.

“For example, we hold this ninja festival between late April and around the beginning of May. During this period visitors and also local people come here,” Mr Okamoto said.


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