Whenever you think of ninjas, you normally associate them with Japan. I’m not really sure if I thought that they were still being trained over there or they had been dying out – they do operate in the shadows after all so it’s not exactly that visible – but it turns out that there is actually a shortage of ninjas in the country at the moment.
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Traditionally, ninjas haven’t really been that active in the country since the 17th century when it became unified. The practice originally began back in the 12th century, whereby ninjas were used for espionage, assassination and sabotage, but as the discipline developed they were mainly used as hitmen between the 15th and 17th century, before it kinda died out.
Despite this though, tourists still regularly flock to Japan hoping to catch a glimpse of one. With this in mind, a guy named Hattori Hanzo started the Hattori Hanzo Ninja Squad, which aimed to train ninjas to impress tourists visiting Japan.
When the initiative was first announced in 2016, over 200 applicants from around the world attempted to join up to the troupe, that aimed to perform acrobatic moves and throw shrunken stars around. Only seven applicants were successful, but another recruitment drive this year has seen nowhere near the level of interest, with only 22 applicants due to more stringent rules in application, including being able to communicate in Japanese and having some sort of experience with ninja skills.
Having said that, five people were still recruited, but it’s still not really capitalising on the thirst that tourists feel for ninjas by the sound of things. Here’s what Takatsugu Aoki, who is in charge of managing the ninja squad at Sankosha, thinks about it:
With the number of foreign tourists visiting Japan on the increase, the value of ninja as tourism content has increased.
And there are more employment choices while ninja shows held across the country have become popular, not to mention other attractions.
I feel there is a ninja shortage.
I suppose they should just train up some more ninjas then and accept more people’s applications huh? Seems like the easiest way to do it.
There are also a bunch of ninja training schools in Japan they could look to recruit from as well, although they’re probably training to become real ninjas, not just some stinky carny rats trying to capitalise on the ancient arts for money and tourism. Guy should be ashamed of himself really.
For more ninjas, check out the story of this hipster ninja going around wanking outside people’s houses. Wonder if he ever got caught?