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Japan Is Apparently Struggling to Meet Its Ninja Quota

One squad's manager says there's now a "ninja shortage" thanks to a boost in tourism.
Photo via Flickr user Einar Jørgen Haraldseid

There are a lot of reasons to visit Japan—the food, the fashion, the eclectic city streets of Tokyo—but now some are worried that the demand for ninjas has gotten so high that there aren't enough of them to entertain the influx of people visiting the country, the Telegraph reports.

Back in the day, ninjas were a legendary warrior force in Japan. According to the Independent, they were often recruited to work as spies or assassins, dishing out their distinct brand of violence using throwing stars or poisoned darts. Working as a ninja in Japan today is a lot more of a PR gig but still requires a special skill set in the art of ancient ninjutsu—unarmed combat, acrobatics, and sword fighting.

Apparently, some people who manage these entertaining ninja squads say that they're just not seeing these basic skills in many of their applicants and the demand has gotten out of control.

"With the number of foreign tourists visiting Japan on the increase, the value of ninja as tourism content has increased," Takatsugu Aoki, manager of the Tokugawa Ieyasu and Hattori Hanzo Ninja Squad, told a local Japanese newspaper. "There are more employment choices while ninja shows held across the country have become popular, not to mention other attractions."

Aoki's squad has seen a major drop in applicants since 2016, when more than 230 people applied to join its seven-person ninja team. The gig was advertised globally and boasted a salary of $1,600 a month. So far this year, the squad has received only 22 applications, and Aoki believes competition is partially to blame.

"I feel there is a ninja shortage," he said.