Japanese officials are using the image of one of the country’s best-known warriors, — the ninja, martial-arts master and stealth assassin of a bygone era, to promote tourism.
Governors and mayors from prefectures around the country traded their usually bland suits and ties for ninja costumes yesterday to announce the launch of the “ninja council”.
It sees local authorities forming an alliance with tourism agencies to thrust ninjas — usually known for their ability to become nearly invisible — into the spotlight.
Ninjas are a “subject that always comes up whenever we go abroad to promote tourism”, said Hiroshi Mizohata, former head of the transport ministry’s Japan Tourism Agency.
The (not-so-stealthy) move comes as local governments turn to tourism as a promising economic growth driver ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“Through ninja, we want to revive our communities,” said Eikei Suzuki, governor of Mie prefecture, known for the “Iga” school of ninjatsu.