Tokyo resident is the first foreign member of the Hattori Hanzo Ninja Squad.
A few weeks ago the Aichi Prefectural tourism board announced that it was looking for a few good ninja. Specifically, the organization posted job listing for new members of the Hattori Hanzo Ninja Squad, also called Hattori and the Ninjas, a shinobi-style tourism promotion team that travels not only around the country, but also goes overseas to give live performances showcasing the skills of Japan’s legendary shadow warriors.
The ninja squad was recruiting seven members for the role of Hattori Hanzo and six of his underlings. Interestingly, the tourism board had specified that non-Japanese applicants were welcome, and after reviewing the application packages that were sent in, 24 would-ne ninja, including four foreigners, were asked to audition before the board made its final selections. And while those eventually chosen to become professional ninja include five native sons and one daughter of Aichi Prefecture, there’s now also a non-Japanese member of the Ninja Squad.
Chris O’Neill is an American currently living in Tokyo, working as a model and television/movie extra, but he’ll now be able to add “ninja” to his increasingly broad list of professional experiences. The 29-year-old O’Neill lists freerunning and acrobatics among his physical proficiencies, both of which should come in handy in his new line of work.
When asked what prompted him to apply for the position, O’Neill spoke of a desire to put his skills and experiences as an entertainer to use in a way that can connect with the passion and dreams of young fans of the shinobi arts. It’s a fine sentiment, and we wish O’Neill all the best in this venture, plus congratulate him on having had the last laugh on anyone who ever mocked his decision to move to Japan with, “What, do you want to be a ninja or something?”
Source: Aichi Prefectural tourism board via IT Media
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