Japan banks on ‘ninja tourism’ to attract visitors
JAPAN is pulling out all the stops to woo tourists ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as the government aims to achieve ¥8 trillion (USD$80 billion) in spending by overseas visitors by then.
Understandably, the country is not beyond selling the ancient art of ninjas to pull in those numbers. According to Skift, the Japan Ninja Council (JNC), a government-backed organization of scholars, tourism groups and businesses, will be starting a Ninja Academy to train people in the art of being stealthy.
Jinichi Kawakami, known as “the last ninja” and a master of the Koga ninja school, said, “The art of ninja is made up of various elements, such as combat, survival techniques and astronomy. We hope this will appeal to people all over the world.”
The project will also introduce tours to areas rich in ninja history and a new museum dedicated to ninja culture. The tours will run for over a week and will bring tourists to multiple regions that vary in ninja traditions.
The Ninja Nippon Project – as it is known – was launched on February 22, a date known in Japan as Ninja Day.
The JNC’s vice chairman Hiroshi Mizohata said, “The ninja embodied the traditional Japanese spirit, culture and sense of values such as peace, loyalty, technique, intelligence, diligence and endurance.
“This is known not only in Japan, but has spread all around the world through anime and films.”
Last year, Japan’s Aichi Prefecture hired six full-time ninjas to promote tourism in the area. The hired “secret assassins” received a one-year contract with a monthly pay of 180,000 yen (US$1650) plus bonus.
They were hired to perform acrobatics, demonstrate their use of the trademark shuriken weapon and pose for photographs with tourists.