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Japan to Ninjas: Put Your Silent Assassination Skills to Use — for Tourism

A local prefecture is hiring six full-time ninjas.

UENO, JAPAN:  An authentic master of ninjutsu martial art, Kazuki Ukita poses in Ninja costume at the Ninja museum's Ninja residence in the small ancient city of Ueno 08 April 2002. South African national football team selected its base camp in Ueno city, Mie Prefecture for upcoming FIFA 2002 World Cup Korea/Japan.  South Africa will play Spain, Slovenia and Paraguay in Group B in the first round of the World Cup.  AFP PHOTO / TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA (Photo credit should read )
UENO, JAPAN: An authentic master of ninjutsu martial art, Kazuki Ukita poses in Ninja costume at the Ninja museum's Ninja residence in the small ancient city of Ueno 08 April 2002. South African national football team selected its base camp in Ueno city, Mie Prefecture for upcoming FIFA 2002 World Cup Korea/Japan. South Africa will play Spain, Slovenia and Paraguay in Group B in the first round of the World Cup. AFP PHOTO / TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA (Photo credit should read )

Ninjas, the nunchuck-wielding, shuriken-throwing assassins of Japanese yore, no longer have to murder to make a living.

That’s because a government agency in Japan’s Aichi prefecture is now looking to hire six professional ninjas to promote tourism. For $19,00 a year plus bonuses, it’s not a bad offer for the social outcasts who formerly had to lurk in the shadows and kill for money.

This job posting is for kid-friendly ninjas who can entertain crowds of tourists through acrobatic feats and the skilled use of medieval weaponry, including shuriken, or ninja stars.

The local government hopes to capitalize on popular interest surrounding this piece of Japanese folklore, as liberally re-imagined in TV shows like “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” or films such as “Batman Begins.”

Satoshi Adachi, an official in the prefectural government’s tourism promotion unit, welcomed applicants from all nations and said he would consider anyone passionate about ninjas, including those who don’t speak Japanese.

The ninjas “have to be able to do backward handsprings and some dance moves,” Adachi told Agence France-Presse. They will also be expected to expertly throw shuriken and pose for photographs with tourists.

This job description may strike some admirers of the traditional ninja assassin, who preferred the cloak to the limelight, as historically inaccurate.

A job poster added that competitive applicants should “enjoy being under the spotlight even though he or she is a secretive ninja.”

Noticeably absent from the job boards in Aichi prefecture is a posting for samurais, Japan’s stoic warrior class and honorable counterpart to the ninjas. But while the way of the samurai may have died off centuries ago, it appears that it’s not too late to learn the ways of the ninja.

Applications close March 22.

Photo credit: TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images

Henry Johnson is a fellow at Foreign Policy. He graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a degree in history and previously wrote for LobeLog. @HenryJohnsoon

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