American Ninja: See Japan’s First Foreigner Hired As Traditional Warrior In Action

Being a paid ninja with an American passport in the 21st century is not a common profession to have on your CV, but 29-year-old Chris O’Neill managed to get just that after he was hired by Japanese authorities.

Earning a monthly salary of 180,000 yen ($1,610) plus bonuses, O’Neill does a lot of back flips and ninja shuriken stars throwing as his daily work routine. He also poses for photographs with excited tourists, as his job is part of a tourism-boosting initiative by authorities in Aichi Prefecture, central Japan.

“It’s a very rare chance that a foreigner can be a ninja. It really gives a lot of hope to people from every country – from Germany, from the US, from France,” the US citizen, who was previously based in Tokyo.

For now, he is the only foreigner among the new ninja squad of seven, performing at the Nagoya Castle.

Although hired to promote the region’s ninja heritage, the traditional Japanese covert agent’s functions such as sabotage, guerrilla warfare and assassination have hopefully been removed from his duties.