national

Japan forms ninja council to kick up tourism

36 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2015 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

36 Comments
Login to comment

They have no idea of the type of person that comes to Japan for travel.

Japan will probably never appeal to the mainstream - it's just too 'out there' for most people in more ways than one.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

Japanese officials are enlisting one of the country’s best-known historical figures—the ninja, martial-arts master and stealth agent of feudal times—to encourage tourism.

Japanese officials are great at creating clever slogans and even mascots. But horrible at actually doing something to addess the issues keeping Japan from being a significant tourist destination. Wikipedia says it is only #6 -- in Asia -- trailing both SK and Singapore.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

This doesn't seem too well thought out. Ninji are trained as lethal marshal artists, assassins. Take an ancient example, If the shogunate thought that a district prefecture lord was working for the British, the shogunate would send out a Ninji squad to kill the traitor to the shogunate and to kill the traitors disloyal to fellowship of the clans loyal to the shogunate. Usually, the entire clan of the disloyal lord were wiped out to ensure loyalty to the Empress or Shogunate clan.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

What a lame idea- a Ninjya? Really? How about going bck into the thinktank & develope some real ideas to properly market Japan's tourism industry.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Japan forms ninja council to kick up tourism

..and frequent flyer Abe will lead the council ?!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Why don't they do like South Korea and use this money to have transit tours? South Korea has some 7 different tours ranging from one hour to five hours that take you out of the Incheon National Airport. They are for transit passengers only, but these give a wonderful look at Korea. The participants only pay for lunch.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

WIZARD120ZEN: This doesn't seem too well thought out. Ninji are trained as lethal marshal artists, assassins.

Scroll forward a few hundred years, and now they are pre-teens with dyed yellow or orange or pink hair, orange bodysuits (dudes), or pink and black fitwear (dudettes), consumed by interpersonal quandaries interrupted fitfully by national quandaries, as when the Village Hidden in the Leaves was threatened by the Village Hidden in the Sand.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

There is little evidence that the Olympics actually boost tourism, especially beyond the host city. Good luck with this.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Ninjas' were spies in feudal eras. Travel prompters should include KunoIchi - female ninja performers. They had to crawl under other lords zashiki (meeting room) to hear conversations with the lord and karou (executives) so ninjas wore short swords. They pretended they were not different. They wore clothes just like commoners. Otherwise they could be caught and killed. Americans who watched ninja animes will appreciate the effort by Japanese tourism org.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Why do Japanese officials feel they need gimmicks to attract people?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Why do Japanese officials feel they need gimmicks to attract people? It all ties into their Cool Japan thing.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Why do Japanese officials feel they need gimmicks to attract people?

Earn a lot of money from increased tourists.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Dumb idea but given that the biggest market for J tourism is our near neighbours it might just work. That is if they don't go all stealthy and quiet (like real ninjas).

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My family and I would be more than happy to travel to Japan at least 2 times a year if it wasn't for the high air fare! Approx. AU$5000 to get two adults and two kids from Perth to Tokyo.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@ Underdawg "Why do Japanese officials feel they need gimmicks to attract people?" because the censorship is incredible.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@igloobyuer:Japan will probably never appeal to the mainstream - it's just too 'out there' for most people in more ways than one.

Sure. That's what the 13 million foreigners who visited Japan last year thought too.

It is amazing how people implying that Japan (on other threads) is too self-centered cannot see farther than their nose and realize that for millions of Asian tourists and even though fewer but still in the millions westerners Japan is neither "too out there" nor ignorant of what kind of tourists visit it. Cheers.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You guys are a bit harsh. Not inventive but a lot better than some of the other "cool Japan" ideas. Japan needs to provide more fun, hands-on experiences. My father, for instance, loved to put on Samurai gear and take pictures when he visited Osaka castle.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Good god, Japanese officials are just not in touch with the real world, are they. Trying gimmick after gimmick, rather than emphasizing the plentiful natural beauty and cultural spectacles that really deserve to be experienced.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Toshiko's right. Ninjas achieved their famous "invisibility" by blending in with those around them. They wore the same clothes as everybody else. No such thing as a "ninja costume".

Still, if it brings in a few tourist yen, then what the heck....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Prove that the trains are easy to ride by showing platforms with multi-lingual signs and directions.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

You do what you gotta do to get tourists. Wanna create a ninja themed tour? Sure, go right right ahead.

The reason Japan will never crack the overall top 10 countries for tourism or ever get close to being even #1 amongst Asian countries is simply Japan itself.

It's not seen as a romantic destination in any way like France or Italy is.

It's food, while delicious to many, doesn't have the overall appeal like the image of German Oktoberfest to the majority of people. Raw fish and squirming octopus getting cut up freaks some people out.

It's not seen as an affordable destination like China, Thailand or Singapore. The weaker yen boosted visitor numbers, but come on, the yen can't get any weaker.

It's not seen as a warm weather destination. There's Okinawa, but no one is going to flock to Japan's beaches or be seen as that weekend getaway or relax on the beach hot spot.

The language barrier. Whether it's a stereotype or true, most people view Japan as a whole, a difficult place to get around if you don't speak the language and I agree. (I just saw on TV how they are making these new stickers for store windows to help with tourists with symbols of a camera, luggage, a street map on them, and the meaning of stickers are explained in Japanese, not in English. The only English is "Can I help you?" on the sticker above the symbol. It doesn't make any sense. Why would an English speaker ask the store employee, Can I help you? Why wouldn't the sticker just say in English what it explains in Japanese so there's no confusion?)

What Japan is known for. Hello Kitty, Gundam, video games? You can get all of these kids in your home country at a more reasonable price. Temples, the images of samurai, the history? Unless someone is a true historian of the subject matter, you can go to China and see the Temples, the martial arts, the history at a cheaper rate. Yeah, I think most people agree that Japanese service or quality is better than China's, but China is cheaper. People usually choose price, that's why people buy so much crap made in China, it's cheaper, not necessarily better. People will travel to see the Pyramids, Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace, the Terracotta Army, but what does Japan have that's truly iconic? Skytree? Tokyo Disneyland? The majority of people know the places I mentioned, but who can pick out a Kyoto temple or shrine from a row of pictures? There's not that iconic symbol of the country beyond Mount Fuji for the average tourist. Beyond certain buildings, the architecture is not very inspiring.

Location, location, location. Japan is far for North/South Americans, Europeans, Aussies and some people just don't like 18-30hr travel days or 8-17hr time differences.

Japan should be happy it can get what it can get. Tokyo Station is already the busiest in the world and with the Olympics, getting on any train is going to be murder. They already have to shove and cram the locals on a busy train, now add thousands of tourists? My god.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

When I first came to Japan and learned about Ninja history I was surprised that they don't really look like in 80s American Ninja action movies.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The national tourism authority, probably under instructions, is much happier corralling all the pesky furriners together into just a handful of approved destinations where they can be more easily monitored and controlled. To combat this apathy (antipathy?) towards local regions and the idea of outsiders penetrating more deeply, prefectures should co-operate much more with each other to come up with regional tour plans specifically targeting international travellers.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japanese officials are enlisting one of the country's best-known historical figures, the ninja, to encourage more six-year-old boys to visit Japan and fulfill their dreams of fighting along the side of heroes like Ninja Gaiden.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Mochi

True, but there are plenty of six-year-old boys out there. Many in their forties or fifties....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The reason Japan will never crack the overall top 10 countries for tourism or ever get close to being even #1 amongst Asian countries is simply Japan itself.

Japan will never be the number 1 tourist destination in Asia as 50 million people go to China every year, but the number of tourists coming to Japan have been increasing at the fastest rate (25 to 30% increase every year). Japan was 6th in 2013 but probably moved up a spot or two in 2014, with 13.4 million visitors. I don't know if ninjas are the answer, but something seems to be working.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Didnt Samurai consider ninja cowards?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Haha, I think it's kinda cute.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I love Japan, I really do. I've spent all of my adult life here. But when it comes to tourism, Japan can't compete with S. Korea, Thailand, China...

I am a resident of Japan, but when I get a 3+ day holiday, my first choice destination is not inside Japan, but Seoul, followed by Hong Kong, if my wallet permits HK that month. Japan should really focus on what they can provide to tourists that they can't get anywhere else; No "omotenashi" BS. Put some expats or veteran tourists on the tourism board and get some real ideas!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Didnt Samurai consider ninja cowards?

Wel Uesugi Kenshin, who was killed by a ninja while attending to a call of nature - would certainly agree with that sentiment. Back on topic, I'm a little dubious about this gimmick

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Traveling/ In feudal eras. only traveling merchants could get travel permission (tegata) so ninjas mingled by these itinerant merchats. During days, they were outdoor sales business men, /then evening, they performed their ninja activities by sneaking into Lords' mansions avoiding tourou (lantern( lights and interior lakes where carps might jump up to let kitchen worker samurais (ozen=bu). After Meiji Ishin, they became outside merchants (not all) Some were very successful. Circus whch went festivals had their martia; arts and we could watch when festival came. Iga and Koga ninjas were well known but each lords had own ninjas including KunoIchis. They had additional marshal art than sword arts. Musashi Miyamoro created nitou ryu for large and short swords but ninjas had two short swords arts. Kunoichis were different. In order to be employed to lords' family, they were experts in flower arrqngements, tea ceremony, naginata and various marshal arts.

It is noce Japan promote its tourisim by using misunderstood and forgotten culture of Japan.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

JaneMMAR. 09, 2015 - 11:55AM JST @igloobyuer:Japan will probably never appeal to the mainstream - it's just too 'out there' for most people in more ways than one. Sure. That's what the 13 million foreigners who visited Japan last year thought too. It is amazing how people implying that Japan (on other threads) is too self-centered cannot see farther than their nose and realize that for millions of Asian tourists and even though fewer but still in the millions westerners Japan is neither "too out there" nor ignorant of what kind of tourists visit it. Cheers.

Okay, so you reckon people come here to see ninjas, okaaay.

Think you'll find majority of westerners who came wanted to see shrines, Japanese gardens, onsen, nature and eat.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I must chime in...sorry...

"one of the country’s best-known historical figures- will be used- to encourage tourism. " Good on them for trying! But.... yes yes there is a but, because these are perhaps the same kinda folk who will join a tour to visit my native land to see...

wait for it...

here it comes...

TREES!

Oh, wait. I think that came out wrong. Let me try to amend the error...

The beauty of autumn and the subtle sense of loss that lingers with the passing of seasons...

Hold on...What am I saying. It is true..

A bunch of dead and dying leaves is enough to market a tour half-way across the globe...not much else to see but old parlaiment buildings and such...not worth it in my modest opinion, but, what do I know,eh?

So, you cannot expect to successfully apply your own view of the world- like a deep meloncholic feeling for the seasons- to another nation of people...although I'll admit now I envy the long history of Japan and the fact they could even TRY to promote the country based on historical characters such as the ninja, yet without promoting first the concept of these ninjas...how could a huge population outside Japan- not having ever seen a movie or read a book that might have contained ninja culture- be able to instantly identify Japan with this so called cool image?? It is beyond me...We may know all about BUSHI, but it is not necessarily cool..i mean really... But after all, what's in a word, eh? Ninja. Yeah! Sorry but not really enough to motivate a diverse international populace, right? Kind of abig risk in my opinion...

Sad state of affairs i am afraid..........and wasted money.

P.S. Um, I was referring to Canada. Thanks

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Underdawg MAR. 09, 2015 - 09:12AM JST It all ties into their Cool Japan thing.

I've always felt 'Cool Japan' to be oxymoron. If anything, it's cringeworthy and very undignified. Japan always seems to focus on wrong ideas instead of legitimate attraction when they are trying to appeal to the international tourists.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Had a couple of friends in high school who trained at a ninja dojo, black outfits, special weapons and all.

And not exactly OT but there was once contractor who came to the house to replace our CD drive about 15 years ago, on HP desktop still under warranty. He was about to embark on his lifelong dream, to stay with the monks in Shaolin and extend his martial arts.

And found a list of dojos in USA with 350 entries: http://www.ninjutsu.com/dojos-links_usa.shtml

So I suppose a targeted ad campaign to ninja dojos in USA might have some success. But don't know how much.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ninjas were called Shibobi-no-mono and kakure-bushi because of their skill to be inconspicuous and hiding. In historym they trained somewhere none-ninja people can not see (moutain side, hill side, inside of their houses, etc) Neve used dojo where samurais and or chonin practice shinai do.) They have to be invisible. Anyway, Japan is preparing Tokyo Olympic tourism. Must be West Coast Americans are top target.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites