News & Opinion | July 19, 2018 5:00 am

Fighting Depopulation in Japan With Ninjas

Japan is currently facing a ninja shortage.

Ninjas perform their skills during a ninja show at at the Iga Ninja Museum on June 30, 2012. (KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/GettyImages)
AFP/Getty Images

Iga is a small Japanese city and the birthplace of the ninja. But now, it is facing a serious problem: There are not enough people training to be ninjas, even for $85k a year. As a country, Japan is facing a major depopulation problem.

Ninjas date back to medieval Japan. It was a real job, and fighting was not the biggest part of their job. They were also spies who tried to blend in and spot out enemies. They used psychology and supposedly, according to NPR, magic.

A lot of young people want out of Iga, so the mayor of the town knew he had to figure out a way to keep their young people there. The town decided to try to promote ninja tourism as a way to get people interested in visiting and show young people that it is a good town to live in. However, the mayor is having trouble finding ninjas to work and perform in the town. NPR went to Japan to learn more about the ninja shortage: