Run with the Wind 風が強く吹いている

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

KSB (Setonaikai Broadcasting) produced a ten minute TV story (full video and selected transcript) about a January 27 special event featuring voice actors from Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru in the series setting of Kan’onji, Kagawa Prefecture. The segment reports on the event, then goes on to explore sustained fan pilgrimage interest that began with the first season broadcast in 2014, interviewing fans from Japan and overseas at the event and during pilgrimages, representatives of local businesses and cultural organizations, and the mayor of Kan’onji.

Researchers from the University of Yamanashi and Yamanashi Chūō Bank Management Consulting conducted a survey (full report) measuring the economic effect of Yurucamp in Yamanashi Prefecture, estimating 85 million yen in proceeds from five formal fan events held between 2018 April, shortly after the broadcast finished, and 2018 November, when the survey was conducted. The average expenditure by visitors from outside the prefecture exceeded the Yamanashi average tourism expenditure by almost 40%. The investigation also found in a survey of 150 Minobu residents 83% responded that the anime series had increased their attachment to the area. Media coverage: NHK, Sankei Shimbun, Netorabo

YBS Wide News published an article about monks at Kuonji, a temple in Minobu, Yamanashi Prefecture, conducting a prayer for traffic safety for Yurucamp pilgrims visiting the area by motor vehicles. Fans gathered on February 23 for an event inviting owners of the Yamaha Vino scooter used by character Shima Rin to pose the vehicles in front of the temple before touring the area together:

Kyoto Shimbun published an article about a Hibike! Euphonium themed event held at Kyoto Bunkyō University on February 23, featuring a series of lectures and fan organized wind ensemble concert. Panel participants included sociology professor Katayama Akihisa (片山明久, @bsaku0214), and butaitanbou-sha Ebisu (夷, @ye_bi_su), Hidesan (ひでさん, @HidesanYamasiro), and wind ensemble organizer Iruka (いるか, @kaiyouhonyuruid):

Jōmō Shimbun published an article about a talk by novelist, journalist and history researcher Takitsu Kō (瀧津孝) on the topic of regional revitalization through seichijunrei given at the Tatebayashi City Cultural Hall in Gunma Prefecture on February 22.

J-Town Net published an article describing the experience of viewing Gekijōban City Hunter: Shinjuku Private Eyes in a theater in Shinjuku, then immediately exploring the area on foot, while reflecting on how the area has changed over the three decades since the franchise appeared. City Hunter began as a manga first published in 1985, with a long-running series of TV and film anime adaptations between 1987 and 1999. The new film updates the setting to present day Shinjuku, while leaving the characters, plot and cultural context from the original series mostly intact.

Sports Hōchi published an article describing the experience of going on a pilgrimage to Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture for Love Love! Sunshine!! and noting the presence of overseas fans, particularly visitors from South Korea, China and Taiwan.

Town News published an article about the tenth anniversary of Tama Location Service, a film commission established to promote the use of Tama, Tokyo Metropolis as a setting for commercials, television dramas, films and animated works. The article notes the popularity of Tama as a seichijunrei destination resulting from series such as Isshūkan Friends.

Tokyo Shimbun published an article about seichijunrei to Tachikawa, Tokyo Metropolis for the Toaru Majutsu no Index series and spin-offs.

Move Design Lab published an interview with Teraya Tamaki (寺谷圭生), director and chief secretary of the Anime Tourism Association, and employee of Kadokawa Corporation. Part 1 is a general discussion of seichijunrei, from its emergence in the 1990s that paralleled the rise in settings based on real locations, to rapid growth in awareness through social media in the 2010s, and the interplay between fans, local communities and rights holders in creating and sustaining anime pilgrimage locations. Part 2 covers the purpose for establishing the Association, primarily to capitalize on the business opportunity created by the expansion of seichijunrei from its subculture origin to more broad participation, and a shift in interest among domestic and inbound tourists from physical objects to experiences. Teraya acknowledges seichijunrei began as a fan-initiated activity, and that fans may be put-off by overt commercialization. He doesn’t offer measures to mitigate this conflict, but stresses that in order to fulfill its goals of attracting tourists and supporting local regions, the Association must consider its revenue and costs as a business.

Kadokawa and Japan Airlines released a joint press release announcing plans to sell merchandise promoting anime tourism to visitors from Hong Kong. Kadokawa and JAL are two of the main corporate partners that make up the Anime Tourism Association. Media coverage: Nihon Keizai Shimbun

Anime Tourism Association opened on February 22 the newest of its three information centers featuring its list of 88 anime locations it selected for tourism promotion. The new center is located on the second floor of the Kadokawa Fujimi Building at the publisher’s headquarters in Fujimi, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo Metropolis. The first two are setup at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and Narita International Airport. Media coverage: Anime Tourism Association, Dengeki Online, Fuji News Network, IGN Japan, Ascii, Oricon News, Crunchyroll

Tokyo Anime Tourism Executive Committee, working with the Anime Tourism Association, will host a Code Geass digital stamp rally in Tokyo from February 9 to March 25. The locations in the rally come from Episode 23 and 24 of the series first season.

Current Season Pilgrimage

@flyingbird1124 made a pilgrimage to Kamakura and Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture for Domestic na Kanojo Episode 7.

@taiyaki0628 made a pilgrimage to Machida, Tokyo Metropolis for Date A Live III OP and Episode 2.

Past Season Pilgrimage

@anime_pq made a pilgrimage to Knole House in Kent, England for Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara.

@offtama made a pilgrimage (post 1, post 2, post 3, condensed butaitanbou-style comparisons) to Ureshino, Imari, Karatsu and Saga City (all Saga Prefecture) for Zombie Land Saga. Tama’s last post for this series is his attempt to shoehorn his material into a butaitanbou purist format, but I really like the narrative style and “behind the scenes” photography in his typical pieces. These do a great job of capturing the experience of going on an anime pilgrimage.

@flyingbird1124 made a pilgrimage to Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture for Seishun Buta Yarō wa Bunny Girl-senpai no Yume o Minai.

@miyaken46 made a pilgrimage to Okinawa for Harukana Receive.

@Roan_Inish (post) and @fureshima2223 (post) made pilgrimages to Fuefukigawa Fruit Park in Yamanashi City, Yamanashi Prefecture for Yurucamp.

@mikehattsu made a pilgrimage to Atami Station in Atami; Izunokuni (post 1, post 2); Numazu (post 1, post 2, post 3) (all Shizuoka Prefecture) for Love Live! Sunshine!!

@mikehattsu made hatsumōde pilgrimage to Washinomiya Jinja in Kuki, Saitama Prefecture for Lucky Star.