An increase in tourism is normally a very good “problem” to have, but lately, in Japan, the increase is actually leading to a shortage of their legendary ninja warriors. While they’re known for being stealthy and “disappearing,” this time, their disappearance is not welcome.
The increase in tourism has lead to ninja-themed villages and restaurants, leading to a heightened demand for ninja performances. That demand is leading to a shortage, as there just aren’t enough people wanting to be ninjas in Japan.
“With the number of foreign tourists visiting Japan on the increase, the value of ninja as tourism content has increased,” Takatsugu Aoki, the manager of a martial arts squad, told Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun. “There are more employment choices, while ninja shows across the country have become popular. I feel there is a ninja shortage.”
Those who do decide to become ninjas lack the basic skills needed for the job, Aoki says. Those skills? Being able to use throwing stars and swords, as well as engage in unarmed combat, acrobatics, concealment and first aid. Despite what you may think, you do not have to have supernatural abilities. No actual vanishing skills needed here, folks.
Despite any preconceived notions you may have about ninjas, they have actually traditionally been focused more on getting information (or disinformation) than just assassinating people. Today’s ninjas of pop culture may be a bit more PR and less spy-like, but it’s how we think of them today that is leading to this uptick in demand.
Looking to do your part and help out with this shortage by becoming a bonafide ninja? Two towns in Japan are offering ninja training. Be prepared to climb over 20 foot walls and throw deadly darts, but at the end, you get a graduation certificate. Certified ninja!