The ninja shortage in Japan is but one of many aspects of its culture that are dying off due to depopulation.
Many aspects of Japan’s traditional culture are threatened by depopulation, and consequently, they are now even facing a ninja shortage.
No, the world’s supervillains and criminal masterminds are not facing a shortage of assassins. Instead, the city of Iga, Japan, cannot find performers for its popular ninja show as a consequence of a declining population.
Iga has become a tourist attraction because it was supposedly the birthplace of the ninja. Conversely, there are not enough practitioners of ninja arts in Iga to put on the shows.
Not even great pay and benefit can lure young Japanese people to Iga to study ninja skills, NPR reported. Iga is unsuccessfully offering ninja masters and their apprentices some serious money to put on the shows.
“Today, ninjas can earn anything from $23,000 to about $85,000 — which is a really solid salary, and in fact, a lot more than real ninjas used to earn in medieval Japan,” NPR’s Sally Herships said. That money is being paid to ninjas, provided they are willing to go straight to perform for tourists.
Ninja Shortage Shock: Rural Japan Is Dying Off
Ninjas are only one of many aspects of rural Japan and its culture that are literally dying off. The only place in Japan that is gaining population is Tokyo, therefore many communities are becoming ghost towns.
For example, Iga, a city of roughly 100,000 people, saw its population grow by just 40 people last year, Herships noted. That means there are few next-generation ninjas in the city.
The number of deaths in Japan now exceeds the number of births, The Japan Times reported. To illustrate, 1.334 million people died in Japan in 2017, while 948,396 births were reported in the nation.
Japan Faces A Shortage Of People
That means deaths in Japan hit a record high, while births fell to a record low. For this reason, Japan will soon be facing a serious shortage of citizens.
Iga is one of many Japanese cities desperately trying to attract new residents to replace the babies not being born. A tourism boom is creating a bizarre situation in rural Japan. There is nobody to demonstrate traditional Japanese culture to foreign visitors.
Therefore, Japan is the primary country in the world facing a depopulation crisis. More than one in four in Japanese (27.66%) are 65 years or older. In contrast, just 12.57% of Japanese people are under 14 years of age.
Some Japanese cities are so desperate to attract young families that they are offering free daycare to parents with toddlers. Other local governments are reportedly offering free tutoring for kids in English.
America’s Birthrate Is Falling Too
Americans should pay close attention to what’s happening in Japan because it might be repeated in the USA.
America’s birthrate fell sharply in 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calculated. The number of births in the U.S. fell by 2% among all women.
Significantly, the birthrate among women of prime child-bearing age (those 15 to 44) fell by 3%. The decline in the birthrate was the largest since 2010.
Like Japan, America is no longer producing enough babies to replace all the adults who are dying off, NPR noted. Disturbingly, the birthrate has been below the replacement level (the number of deaths) for nearly 50 years.
“The rate has generally been below replacement since 1971,” a CDC report commented.
Theoretically, every 1,000 American women would need to give birth to 2,100 babies over their lifetimes to achieve the replacement rate. In reality, the current birthrate is around 1,764.5, which is slightly under the replacement rate.
If America’s birthrate keeps falling, events like Japan’s ninja shortage will become commonplace on this side of the Pacific.
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What are your thoughts about Japan’s ninja shortage and overall problem with depopulation? Let us know in the comments below.
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