Welcome to this week’s review of notable instances of public transit use and urban design, as well as discussion of place identity and culture, through anime currently broadcast or screening in Japan and simulcast internationally via the web. This review also documents seichijunrei (聖地巡礼 holy land pilgrimage) and butaitanbou (舞台探訪 scene hunting), which are pop culture tourism and place-based engagement induced by the use of real locations in show settings.
Media and General Interest
Nihon Keizai Shimbun published an article reporting Hida, Gifu Prefecture counted 14,503 additional visitors in connection with Kimi no Na wa. in 2017 August, the highest single month count since the film’s 2016 August release.
Nikkei Business Online (article), 4Gamer.net (article) and Yahoo! News Japan (article) published stories about popular anime pilgrimage smartphone app Butaimeguri, created by Sony senior producer Yasuhiko Takeshi. Yasuhiko had previously overseen development of the Blu-ray standard, and now heads a contents tourism team as part of Sony’s business development division. Yasuhiko gave a detailed presentation at Tokyo Game Show 2017 and concurrent interviews regarding the development and business strategy of Butaimeguri, and how Sony works with local municipalities to develop the app content and integrate with town and region revitalization plans.
CuRAZY published an article about volunteers recruited by Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture to paint over graffiti on support pillars for Chichibu Bridge. The group included fans of Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai.
Otapol published an article about an event hosted by the Komoro Tourism Bureau to be held 2017 October 10, in which participants will cycle around touring locations in Komoro, Nagano Prefecture that appeared in Ano Natsu de Matteru.
(サクラクエスト Sakura Kuesuto)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Kenroku-en (兼六園) in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture
Fukumitsu (福光), Nanto
Inami (井波), Nanto
The use of the lanterns from Warabiya village is a visual example of how the tourism board’s approach to place identity has matured over the course of the series. Harvesting local traditions yields far more effective and embraceable results than imposing contrived symbols and narratives like those of the Chupacabra Kingdom.
The theater troupe emerged as the endpoint of Maki’s journey to accepting her acting passion despite setbacks and finding a way to realize it in her circumstances. The activities of the group have never amounted to more than a side story, but it is these skills of narrative creation and storytelling that are critical pieces of preserving local culture and communicating it to others.
Sakuragaike (桜ヶ池) in Tatenohara-Higashi (立野原東), Nanto
As Yoshino is dethroned at the end of her term, she appears confident both that she has done what she could for Manoyama in the time she was given, and that it is time for her to move on to a new project. She leaves the city with a starting set of ideas for local revitalization, and a collection of tools for members of the community to build on top of those ideas with each other.
But perhaps it is Kadota who has grown the most out of the events of the series, finally acknowledging the poor fit of the Chupacabra Kingdom and volunteering to eliminate the institution he created in order to make way for Manoyama’s intrinsic culture.
Then there is Shiori, who for the first time is able to articulate a future vision of what she wants Manoyama to become and the role she will have in getting there.
Jōhana Station (城端駅)
Jōhana Line (城端線)
The small group of people closest to Yoshino see her off at the train station. However as the train departs, she discovers a coordinated effort by the town to escort her out, driving and standing to wave along the tracks. There is a precedent for this. Tourism trains in Japan, special services that promote local culture and foodstuffs as they journey through a region, have a limited number of runs, at most a few a day but often less. In more than a few of the locations the trains pass through, locals will line up to welcome or bid farewell to the passengers on the train. P.A.Works president Horikawa mentioned observing this when he once mistakenly boarded the Berumonta train [Twitter], which runs along a portion of the Jōhana Line. There are some examples of the same phenomenon in Shikoku and Kyūshū.
It isn’t until the very end that we understand the extent of the impact time in Manoyama has had on Yoshino, who doubles down on what appears to be a newly found calling.
Though Yoshino will move on to a new project, the paralyzing status quo in Manoyama has already broken away. A positive feedback loop that can sustain its own momentum, encouraging participation and risk taking, has taken its place.
(ニューゲーム!! Nyū Gēmu!!)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Haneda Airport (羽田空港)
In the manga, Yagami departs from Narita Aiport [Twitter].
Shinjuku Station (新宿駅) east exit
Yodobashi Camera Shinjuku Nishi-guchi Main Store (ヨドバシカメラ新宿西口本店)
Future Season Pilgrimage
Other Current Season Pilgrimage
@anime_pq made a pilgrimage to (post 1) Kiyose for Episode 1 and Episode 21; (post 2) Nerima Ward, Odaiba and Nakano Ward for Episode 22; (post 3) Ginza, Chūō Ward (preceding all Tokyo Metropolis); and (post 4) Nissan Stadium in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture for Episode 16 of Re:CREATORS .