Professional ninja shortage: new recruits wanted
July 17, 2018 1:18 PM   Subscribe

 
I read that they were seeking to decrease their population by recruiting more ninjas which makes a lot more sense.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:21 PM on July 17 [19 favorites]


The town is packed. Their ninjas are just that good.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 1:32 PM on July 17 [20 favorites]


It's only $85K to be a ninja? Cheaper than some 4 year institutions... maybe my 9 year ols son's plans aren't that bad!
posted by Nanukthedog at 1:41 PM on July 17 [15 favorites]


as everyone knows, there was a ninja surplus in the '80s, resulting in the kidnapping of the president; this caused the profession to lose prestige, leading to the current downturn in numbers
posted by Countess Elena at 1:45 PM on July 17 [9 favorites]


From the transcript:
Today, ninja performers can earn anywhere from about $23,000 to about $85,000, which is a really solid salary...
So that's really more of a maximum salary range.

Also, it's well-known that the real cause of the ninja shortage was their recruitment by Frank Miller to attack Daredevil and friends in NYC in the 80s.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:51 PM on July 17 [4 favorites]


Damn, if only I'd practiced more with that magazine mail order package of stainless steel shurikens, carbon steel grappling hook, and cheap wooden nunchucks and I'd have a legit career path here.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:59 PM on July 17


I'm holding out for a Gymkata position. Gymkata salary may go as high as $95,000. Perks include an unlimited lifetime supply of felicitously distributed pommel horses.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:00 PM on July 17 [13 favorites]


They should throw in a javascript course. Then they can claim to be the only boot camp that turns out real ninja coders.
posted by snuffleupagus at 2:19 PM on July 17 [22 favorites]


I want there to be ninjas lurking everywhere that will swoop down, kick your goddamned phone out of your hand, and then disappear back into the shadows awaiting their next target.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:32 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


Rockstars need not apply.
posted by bashos_frog at 2:38 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


We must summon more pirates to combat these foes.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 2:50 PM on July 17 [4 favorites]


Worth mentioning that the podcast The Indicator & its parent Planet Money are both brilliant, and worth listening to even if you have no interest in economics otherwise.

As soon as I saw an NPR podcast about a ninja shortage, I knew it had to be from one of the two.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:51 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


So hey, here is probably my favorite bit of ninja trivia.

Being, at their core, fundamentally just spies, ninjas dressed like normal people — the ones from Koka (also known as Koga), for example, would often take advantage of the town’s reputation for medicine and travel to their destinations under the guise of being medicine peddlers.

Over the years, the existence of these spies became at least broadly common knowledge, or at least a public secret. Enter, at this point, public entertainment like kabuki: stagehands in Japanese shows (known as kuroko) traditionally wear hooded all-black outfits, and are read as “invisible” or “not there” in the language of Japanese stage performances.

However, this sense of full media literacy was, of course, not universal. As a result, when a character would be struck down by a kuroko onstage, as a way of representing assassination by a ninja, it was intended to mean that the assassin simply blended into the crowd and nobody saw who it was. Instead, though, over time, signifier gradually became signified, and audiences began to assume that ninjas dressed in basically the same way as a kuroko, akin to if modern audiences grew to assume that a tuxedo was a critical factor in working as a spy for England.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:55 PM on July 17 [63 favorites]


if modern audiences grew to assume that a tuxedo was a critical factor in working as a spy for England

Are you saying that it isn't?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:27 PM on July 17 [10 favorites]


Hah, I had like half a dozen of Stephen Hayes's Ninja books. And I was throwing knives and climbing trees and blowing stuff up and making smoke bombs and wrestling and etc... I'd be a good Ninja!

'Iga Ninja Forest' is the thing you want to Google Video search for if you want to see videos of this Ninja program....
posted by zengargoyle at 4:55 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]


And this Journeys in Japan: Iga Ninja Forest travelogue with links and such.
posted by zengargoyle at 4:57 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


What? No realultimatepower tag?
posted by brundlefly at 5:12 PM on July 17 [8 favorites]


You know, necromancers also suffer from poor recruitment rates, and yet we they avoid this sort of tawdry spectacle.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:18 PM on July 17 [13 favorites]


I read that they were seeking to decrease their population by recruiting more ninjas which makes a lot more sense.

But then we're stuck with ninjas!
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:15 PM on July 17


How will they know if the drive succeeded?

Well, they'll need to do a census, of course. But the census-takers aren't going to be able to... unless...

They'll need to hire ninjas to do the census.

So when it comes time to find out the town's population, it'll be ninjas vs. ninjas in a gigantic game of hide and seek.
posted by MrVisible at 9:21 PM on July 17 [4 favorites]


The eponystericals in this thread are flying like shruikens in the Iga Forest.
posted by notyou at 10:01 PM on July 17


They should market Iga as a destination resort for light sleepers, no heavy footfalls and you'll never know where the chocolate on your pillow came from.
posted by arcticseal at 12:41 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]


Marketing is pretty much on the mark. They're gearing up for the 2020 Olympics and the influx of tourism and every place that isn't a major city will be increasingly rolling out on the "come visit us" municipal marketing. Especially if it's close enough by bullet-train to Tokyo to make a day or two trip. The cynical in me goes phbbbt, the other side goes... this is a city tourism board doing a great job of having everybody know to come to Iga for Ninja. Kudos. Ob: Sakura Quest.
posted by zengargoyle at 1:56 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


But then we're stuck with ninjas!

No big deal. Just one punch or kick and they flicker out of existence.
posted by ian1977 at 5:30 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


I’m in Kyoto right now and strongly considering taking a day trip down there and demanding they make me a ninja.
posted by Room 101 at 6:43 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


As in they conceive a new life that will grow into your personal ninja or as in conferring ninja status on you? (Why not both?)
posted by Burhanistan at 8:25 AM on July 18


すみません 一つの忍者 お願いします
posted by tobascodagama at 8:30 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Iga, meet the Juggalos. Juggalos, Iga.
posted by cmoj at 10:11 AM on July 18


BTW, whoever registered iga.ninja seems to be doing right by it.
posted by suetanvil at 11:55 AM on July 18


They should market Iga as a destination resort for light sleepers, no heavy footfalls and you'll never know where the chocolate on your pillow came from.

Ninja Master Impersonating Hotel Clerk: And how was your stay?

Me: Very nice. Except that I kept waking up in the middle of the night.

NM: I see. What was your room again?

Me: 308

NM pulls out a sheet of paper, scans it for the room number and sighs wearily. Deftly, he pulls out a pen and writes "D-".

NM: Tonight should be better.
posted by suetanvil at 12:11 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


zengargoyle: “And this Journeys in Japan: Iga Ninja Forest travelogue with links and such.”
That episode is extremely entertaining.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:03 PM on July 18


So hey, here is probably my favorite bit of ninja trivia.

Is that a verified piece of info or something you’ve picked up in conversation? Because that’s not necessarily true.

As you say an unknown person needs an everyday disguise for cover - like perhaps a physician, but it has been recorded that they also went under cover as; a lowly courtyard worker/gardener, wandering monk, and even a traveling actor/artist. So yeah ninjas didn’t walk around in black garb all the time, but sneaking out at night, donning all black clothing, and having an Oni mask handy for the local yocals wasn’t an unheard of tactic or even that far-fetched if you think about it. They of course picked cover that allowed them to bring the tools they might need with them.

It’s a bit unfortunate that in the US, ninjas have been so infantalized in popular media throughout the past several decades that the common notion is that they never even existed (maybe because that's just what the ninjas want you to believe!). There is a ton of historical writing that documents the culture and arts that were practiced. You can skip the Stephen Hayes stuff. He was a young American that knew little about the Japanese culture or language and tried to do the best he could to bring it back to the U$ and $ how it off. I’ve enjoyed Don Roley’s translations.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:09 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


Well, the thing about dressing like ordinary people was at least verified when I visited the Koka ninja museum, so.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:21 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


(It’s been long enough since I heard the rest, but I recall it was in Japanese, for a Japanese audience, so it seems… highly plausible?)
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:25 PM on July 19 [3 favorites]


DrFedora tells the most plausible story I've heard. Watch a ton of KABUKI KOOL - NHK WORLD - English and the whole stagehands dressed in black becoming Ninja makes perfect sense. Black isn't even a good color for hiding, it stands out too much. The rest is just bujitsu of the advanced Jason Bourne sort. Nothing special.
posted by zengargoyle at 9:51 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


That's true — if you want to blend into the shadows at night, you wear dark indigo-dyed clothing, too.
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:27 PM on July 19


Correct, as i said they did dress normally, but what I am also saying is that from what I’ve read they actually did travel as kabuki artists and at times did do ninja stuff in “ninja clothing”, and so the way they’re commonly presentated in media isn’t merely a made up idea.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:35 AM on July 20


Quick follow-up to the story:
http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201807250056.html

IGA, Mie Prefecture—A stunned Iga mayor announced some bad news for international spies and assassins: Contrary to a widespread report, the city has no lucrative job offers for ninja.

The central Japanese city, famed as the home of the powerful Iga ninja clan, received more than 100 inquiries from around the world after a U.S. radio show on July 16 wrongly reported about a “ninja shortage” here.

Planet Money, a show on economics broadcast on National Public Radio (NPR) of the United States, fueled the job-seeking frenzy by saying ninja performers in Iga can earn between $23,000 and $85,000 (2.55 million yen and 9.45 million yen) a year.

Iga Mayor Sakae Okamoto hastily called a news conference on July 24 to deny the report. The announcement was also published on the city’s official website in Japanese and in four other languages the same day.

posted by LostInUbe at 8:38 AM on July 26 [4 favorites]


So you’re saying that English-language news media ran a sensationalist story about Japan that turned out to be untrue? What a remarkable notion to even imagine!
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:38 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]


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