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Asia travel

Wanted: six full-time ninjas to promote Japan’s Aichi prefecture

Region is hiring not-so-secret ninjas who know how to throw shuriken, do back handsprings and promote tourism

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 March, 2016, 12:06pm
UPDATED : Monday, 14 March, 2016, 1:34pm

Wanted: six full-time ninjas who have a way with words and can do backward handsprings. Pay: about US$1,600 a month.

Central Japan’s Aichi prefecture is hiring full-time ninjas – the martial-arts masters and stealthy assassins of feudal times – to promote tourism in the area.

Newly hired ninjas will receive a one-year contract with monthly pay of 180,000 yen (US$1,580) plus bonus, says Satoshi Adachi of the prefectural government’s tourism promotion unit.

They will also perform acrobatics, demonstrate the use of (ninja throwing star) shuriken weapons and pose for photographs with tourists.

A poster the prefecture created says the ideal candidates are ones who “enjoy being under the spotlight even though he or she is a secretive ninja”.

The ability to speak Japanese is preferable, but non-Japanese individuals passionate about history and tourism are welcome as the troupe will sometimes perform in English, says Adachi.

“Our ninjas also have to be good at talking to promote tourism, although ninjas are basically required to be secretive,” he says.

They also “have to be able to do backward handsprings and some dance moves”.

Successful candidates will go through a one-month training course in April.

The prefecture is accepting applications until March 22. Men and women aged 18 or above of any nationality can apply.

Ninjas are also used to promote Iga, 350km southwest of Tokyo, a city near the ancient imperial capital of Kyoto.

And last year, governors and mayors from prefectures around the country traded their usual suits for ninja costumes to announce the launch of a “ninja council”.

The not-so-stealthy move comes as local governments turn to tourism as an economic growth driver ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.