The small Japanese city of Iga is currently suffering a very particular problem. They are currently experiencing a ninja shortage. Seriously. Maybe toss up some Craigslist ads around the Hand or Foot offices?
Put more accurately, the city is facing a shortage of "ninja performers." Iga is 280 miles from Tokyo, and claims to be the birthplace of the ninja. According to Business Insider, much of the city's tourism draws from this ninja heritage — the problem at the moment is, you guessed it, there aren't enough ninjas in the city. It's just one of those classic issues that every city faces at one point of another.
Iga has been suffering a depopulation, as it is running low on things to sell and people to sell them to. The city of 100,000 gains around 30,000 each year from its annual ninja festival, which usually helps with the buying and selling. Sakee Okamoto, the mayor of Iga, is quoted as saying, "Right now in Iga, we are working very hard to promote ninja tourism and get the most economic outcome. For example, we hold this ninja festival between late April to around the beginning of May. During this 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."
Japan is currently going through a huge boom in tourism, but a rural city like Iga is not benefiting from it. To compensate, Okamoto has plans to relocate City Hall, and put a second ninja museum in place of the old one — that's right, the city already has one ninja museum, and it's time to double down. As the attempt at bolstering tourism-via-ninja progresses, the city needs a labor force to make it work. Sure, they need the requisite builders and architects to plan and construct the new buildings, but they also will need the ninjas themselves. This is where the main issue comes in — the aforementioned shortage of ninja performers.
According to Business Insider, it is "hard to find workers in Japan, let alone highly specialized ninja performers." The curator of the ninja museum, Sugako Nakagawa, told Reuters that "Ninja is not an inheritable class. Without severe training, nobody could become a ninja. That's why they have silently disappeared in history."
Apparently being a ninja is not without it's benefits — the pay can be anywhere from $23,000 to $85,000 a year, which is much more than real medieval ninjas used to make.
All of this is to say— if you have a love of ninja culture, some serious ninja skills, and feel like relocating to a rural Japanese city, then Iga could certainly use you. Ninja, please. Help them out.
(Via: Business Insider)