How An American Became One of Japan’s Professional Ninja
Japan’s Aichi Prefecture needed a few good ninja. So last month the local government posted a job listing, requesting applicants with skills in espionage, martial arts, and good hand-eye coordination (for those throwing stars).
At the end of the application period, 235 men and women from around the world had submitted their resumes for the six available ninja jobs (ninjobs?). One of the applicants was a 29-year old American named Chris O'Neill, who, according to the Agence France Presse, “dazzled the panel with an array of acrobatic back flips.”
But it wasn’t just his feats of strength and athletic prowess that impressed the hiring committee. “He has great acrobatic skill and the ability to speak in front of the public,” said Adachi. "He's also passionate about promoting tourism."
Due to O’Neill’s impressive combination of athleticism and love of travel, the judges had no choice but to hire him on the spot, even though they had already filled all six job openings. Now, the Tokyo-based American will be among “Japan's first salaried, full-time ninja paid by a local municipality," Satoshi Adachi of the Aichi's tourism unit told AFP.
O’Neill and his six new co-workers will be using their ninja skills to help promote tourism in the region. The ninja will receive a monthly salary of 180,000 yen ($1,600) plus bonuses during their one-year contracts, and duties include performing back flips, throwing ninja stars, and posing for photographs with tourists and ninja fans.