Ninja of Japan Has a Surprising Shortage

ninja of japan

In a recent economic podcast by National Public Radio, it’s been reported that the small city of Iga in Central Japan is experiencing a ninja crisis – and that’s not nearly as cool as it sounds.

The city of Iga is claimed to be the birthplace of the ninja, everyone’s favorite shadowy organization. But even the city’s heritage couldn’t save it from the depopulation issue that’s currently faced by the whole country.

ninja of japan or shinobi was a covert agent or mercenary in feudal Japan. The functions of a ninja included espionage, deception, and surprise attacks. Their covert methods of waging irregular warfare were deemed dishonorable and beneath the honor of the samurai

 ninja of japan

Though shinobi proper, as specially trained spies and mercenaries, appeared in the 15th century during the Sengoku period (15th–17th centuries), antecedents may have existed as early as the 12th century.

In the unrest of the Sengoku period, mercenaries and spies for hire became active in Iga Province and the adjacent area around the village of Kōga, and it is from the area’s clans that much of the knowledge of the ninja is drawn.

Following the unification of Japan under the Tokugawa shogunate in the 17th century, the ninja faded into obscurity. 

A number of shinobi manuals, often based on Chinese military philosophy, were written in the 17th and 18th centuries, most notably the Bansenshukai (1676).

By the time of the Meiji Restoration (1868), shinobi had become a topic of popular imagination and mystery in Japan.

Ninja of japan figured prominently in legend and folklore, where they were associated with legendary abilities such as invisibility, walking on water and control over the natural elements.

As a consequence, their perception in popular culture is based more on such legend and folklore than on the spies of the Sengoku period.

Iga alone lost 1,000 residents last year. A previous summary of this podcast incorrectly stated that Iga, Japan, is “facing a serious problem that there aren’t enough people training to be ninjas, not even for $85k a year.”

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 of japan 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.

The younger generations move to big cities like Yokohama or Tokyo, leaving the rural city in desperate need of workers and performers to maintain their economy.

One of the Reason For Ninja Of Japan

Japan also has a really low unemployment rate, which makes it difficult to find people to hire, even with ninja performer salaries reaching up to $23,000 to $85,000.

2019-11-29
Japan Unemployment Rate Unchanged at 2.4%
The unemployment rate in Japan remained steady at 2.4 percent in October 2019, matching market expectations despite steep declines in industrial production and exports in October. The jobs-to-applications ratio remained unchanged at 1.57, slightly above market expectations of 1.56.


2019-10-31
Japan Unemployment Rate Climbs to 2.4%
The unemployment rate in Japan rose to 2.4 percent in September 2019, rebounding from near 30-year lows and topping market expectations of 2.3 percent. The jobs-to-applications ratio fell to 1.57, the lowest since November 2017 and below market expectations of 1.59.


2019-09-30
Japan Jobless Rate Still at 26-Year Low
The unemployment rate in Japan remained unchanged at 2.2 percent in August 2019, the lowest since October 1992 and below market expectations of 2.3 percent. The jobs-to-applications ratio also remained steady at 1.59, the lowest since March 2018 but above market expectations of 1.58.


2019-08-29
Japan Jobless Rate Falls to 26-Year Low
The unemployment rate in Japan fell to 2.2 percent in July 2019, the lowest since October 1992 and below market expectations of 2.4 percent. The jobs-to-applications ratio declined to 1.59, the lowest since March 2018 and also below consensus of 1.61.

“It’s facing a shortage of those two key things you need to keep an economy humming.” podcast host, Stacey Vanek Smith, explains. “Stuff to sell and people to buy the stuff.”

Iga attracts 30,000 tourists to its annual Ninja Festival, but the city aims to attract tourists year round.

“During [the festival] period, visitors and also local people come here. Everybody will be dressed like a ninja and walks around and enjoys themselves — but recently I feel that it’s not enough,” Iga mayor Sakae Okamoto told NPR.

The central government of Japan has noticed Iga’s plight and has plans for funding more ninja performers and adding a second Ninja Museum in Iga in the hopes of attracting more workers and tourists.

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