With full-time work in Australia still proving difficult to come by, it’s not easy to earn a living these days, especially if you’re someone who just finished uni and has a massive HECS debt to pay off. However, there’s a job out there in the world that not many people know about, is more lucrative than most entry-level gigs, and involves living out most people’s childhood dreams: being a real-life ninja in Japan.
Due to Japan’s well publicised aging population crisis, this has had a knock-on effect on the country’s number of trained ninjas, which in turn has had an economic effect. Despite what movies and TV shows will have you believe, ninjas aren’t trained assassins going around killing Japan’s enemies. They’re trained performers who help preserve and educate people on a big part of Japan’s culture.
According to NPR‘s Planet Money podcast, the Japanese city of Iga, which claims to be the birthplace of the ninja and has a population of about 100,000, sees about 30,000 tourists visit every year to experience the annual ninja festival.
But due to the aforementioned aging population crisis, a low unemployment rate, and the lack of young folks wanting to live in a rural country town in the middle of nowhere, Iga is suffering from a ninja shortage and this has had an effect on the local economy as there are fewer and fewer performers available every year.
In an attempt to galvanise the economy and revive interest in the art of being a ninja, Iga is putting more resources into various ninja-related projects that’ll hopefully encourage tourists to stay longer in the city, such as new museum.
As for the dropping ninja numbers, it remains to be seen whether people will be drawn to the prospect of suiting up to be a performer. But while the specialised training and isolation of Iga might be a turn off, the prospect of being a ninja may attract some attention on the salary alone.
Present-day ninjas can earn anywhere between $31,000 to $115,000 annually, which is pretty damn good and more than what you’ll get if you went down the retail route.
That being said, that salary range isn’t exactly set in stone, nor are there necessarily open ninja vacancies immediately open for those willing to be all trained up so don’t get overly excited just yet.
But when you’re stuck in a situation where employment is hard to come by due to your lack of experience (which is brought on by the lack of employment), perhaps jetting off to Japan to be a ninja isn’t the worst alternative to consider.