NAGOYA/TSU, MIE PREF. - Staff at Chubu airport donned ninja attire and a railway station ceremonially named itself “Ninja City Station” on Friday to celebrate “Ninja Day” in central Japan.
Feb. 22 was designated Ninja Day by the Japan Anniversary Association at the request of the cities of Koka, Shiga Prefecture, and Iga, Mie Prefecture, as it emphasizes the number two, which is pronounced ni in Japanese.
The station is located in Iga, where the famous Iga ninja clan was active in feudal times.
East of Mie at Chubu airport, around 50 people including airline staff and cleaning crews conducted their duties while wearing red or black ninja outfits, airport operator Central Japan International Airport Co. said.
Another 3,500 airport workers, such as those in stores or providing security, wore badges that said they were doing their ninmu (duty). As a play on words, the kanji nin was written with the same character used in ninja instead of the correct one, which means task or responsibility.
The celebration is part of a local promotional campaign to increase the number of foreign visitors by taking advantage of the feudal mercenaries’ overseas popularity.
“We want Chubu airport to be known as Ninja airport,” said Masato Kondo, director of the airport company.
At the railroad station in Iga Prefecture, a sign was put up bearing the station’s new nickname, “Ninja City Sta.” above the one with its official name. It also decided to start calling a local line “the Ninja Line.”
“I hope that the region becomes more vibrant as the power of the ninja will attract more visitors,” said Sadako Fukuta, an 86-year-old resident.