Rural city in Japan is facing a severe ninja shortage

Local authorities have tried to develop ninja tourism, but struggle to attract candidates.


NSFW    IGA, JAPAN — Iga is trying to develop ninja tourism, but faces a shortage of performers.

While Japan faces a major demographic crisis, it is also facing a lesser-known type of crisis triggered by the first one. Japan is going through a severe ninja crisis.

The rural city of Iga, two hours away from Osaka, claims to be the birthplace of ninja culture. Like most middle size Japanese cities, Iga is suffering from depopulation. A constant flow of young people leaving for greater opportunities in bigger cities such as Tokyo or Osaka.

According to NPR's "Planet money" podcast, the city is trying to take advantage of the recent surge in tourism that the whole country has been experiencing lately.There is a ninja museum, as well as a yearly ninja festival that brings about 30,000 tourists. But to make this ninja tourism scheme work, the city needs to attract a labor force.

Specialized ninja performers have to go through intense training, and with an unemployment rate of just 2.5%, it is almost impossible to find candidates. Even though the payroll is really competitive, with modern ninjas earning up to $85.000 a year.
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