The Japanese city of Iga is fighting off would-be ninjas after a news report suggesting the city wanted to hire the traditional assassins went viral.
The confusion began last week, when a reporter for National Public Radio in the United States said Japan was suffering from a shortage of workers because of declining birth rates.
The report quoted Sakae Okamoto, mayor of Iga, as saying the worker shortage had affected the city’s plans to build a second museum focused on the warriors.
Iga is famous for being the home of the powerful Iga ninja clan.
While the report mentioned that ninja performers could earn as much as $85,000, it did not say the city was looking to hire them.
The story was subsequently picked up on social media and other news outlets that failed to clarify the lack of jobs.
Iga city officials received 115 emails from would-be ninjas offering their services and asking when they could start. Other job requests were sent to the city’s ninja museum, the regional tourist board and a a local university.
The applications have come from around the world, including Italy, India, Ecuador and the U.S.
The ninja-centric city has posted a statement in several languages on its website stressing it was not hiring. But it took the opportunity to extol the virtues of its “splendid tourist attractions, including facilities about ninjas.”
Besides its first ninja museum, the central Japanese city also has several ninja costume rental shops and holds an annual ninja festival.