One would think that this would fall under the hashtag of “#15thCenturyProblems”, but apparently this particular situation is rooted in the very real 21st century demographic crisis occurring in Japan. It is not the place of this blog to dive into the causes and ramifications of the macro-issues facing the Japanese population, but there this micro-example that will likely tug at the heartstrings of TTAK readers – Japan is running out of ninjas.
From Business Insider:
The Japanese city of Iga is suffering from a ninja shortage. The city, which is about 280 miles from Tokyo in central Japan, claims to be the birthplace of the ninja. The mayor is hoping to bolster tourism by drawing on the city’s ninja heritage.
There’s just one problem: There aren’t enough ninjas…
…This issue is especially difficult given Japan’s extremely low unemployment rate, which is just 2.5%.
It is therefore hard to find workers in Japan, let alone highly specialized ninja performers.
“Ninja is not an inheritable class. Without severe training, nobody could become a ninja. That’s why they have silently disappeared in history,” Sugako Nakagawa, the curator of the local ninja museum, told Reuters in 2008.
“But this job does have a lot to offer,” Herships says. “First of all, the pay is quite competitive. Today, ninjas can earn anything from $23,000 to about $85,000 — which is a really solid salary, and in fact, a lot more than real ninjas used to earn in medieval Japan.”
Herships quotes the International Ninja Research Center, which states that in Iga, the typical ninja earned an inflation-adjusted $8,000 to $17,000 a year.
All in all, it sounds like a much better sword-related gig than is being offered by the Saudis.
You can listen to the story on the NPR Planet Money podcast as well: