Ninja shortage leads to torrent of international ninjas vying for the job. Tony Spitz has the details.
You may have heard about Japan’s demographic crisis, but the country is facing another, lesser-known crisis as well.
Japan does not have enough ninjas.
In an episode of NPR’s “Planet Money” podcast, Sally Herships visited Iga, a small city in central Japan that claims to be the birthplace of the ninja.
Each year the city of about 100,000 swells by about 30,000 as tourists come to experience the annual ninja festival.
Iga, however, is suffering from depopulation. “It’s facing a shortage of those two key things you need to keep an economy humming: stuff to sell and people to buy the stuff,” Herships’ cohost Stacey Vanek Smith says.
Iga is also losing young people who don’t want to live in the rural countryside. To revive the local economy, the mayor of Iga, Sakae Okamoto, is promoting the city’s ninja heritage with the aim of drawing more tourists.