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Japan Trends

Japan faces shortages of samurai, ninja

Foreign tourists eager to be sneaked up on, assassinated

The Hattori Hanzo and the Ninjas troupe at Nagoya Castle in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, is popular among foreign travelers.

TOKYO -- Japan is facing unexpected shortages of samurai, ninja and rickshaw drivers. As things stand now, employers hoping to meet demand for exhibitions and rides from foreign tourists cannot find enough workers with centuries' old skills -- or with the necessary biceps and quads.

Yumenoya Entertainment, based in Kanazawa, central Japan, offers cultural experiences to foreign tourists in Asakusa, Harajuku and other favorite tourist spots. Its 10 samurai performers provide casual lessons and on-site shows. Thanks to a surge in demand from foreigners over the past year, the 10 warriors are sometimes so busy they have to take taxis to their next assignment.

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