Wasteful Days of High School Girls 女子高生の無駄づかい

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

Butaitanbou dōjinshi in Yomiuri Shimbun
Prolific butaitanbou-sha Ebisu (夷 @ye_bi_su) received a spotlight in the Yomiuri Shimbun for his Hibike! Euphonium themed dōjinshi, which delve deeply into Uji culture through interviews with local artisans, as well as discussion of Kyoto Animation production process. He was interviewed for the article as his most recent volume was about to debut at Comiket 96 in Tokyo. Ebisu has mixed feelings about the attention. He finds it difficult to be happy when he knows the sudden interest in Kyoani-related matters is a direct result of the July 18 arson attack, but at the same time he is glad that the local culture and art topics are receiving widespread attention through mainstream media.

Comiket 96
Summer Comiket was held August 9-12 at Tokyo Big Sight in Ariake, Kōtō Ward. As has become the norm, butaitanbou and seichijunrei oriented works were in ample supply. I plan to pickup a few of these on trips to Japan this fall.

Lucky Star mikoshi at Yasakasai
The Lucky Star mikoshi (らき☆すた神輿) participated in Yasakasai (八坂祭) for the second time on July 28 in Washimiya, Kuki, Saitama Prefecture, following its first appearance in 2018. Since 2008, the mikoshi, a collaboration between anime fans and local craftsmen, had participated in the Hajisai (土師祭), also in Washimiya. In 2018 July, the mikoshi appeared at Yasakasai for the first time, but the Hajisai scheduled for 2018 September, what would have been its 36th year, was cancelled. The transition has allowed fan volunteers to continue this tradition of carrying the portable shrine in the celebratory procession through the city.

This year’s festival took on new significance, as it was the first large-scale public event bringing together fans of the Kyoto Animation series after the studio was attacked by an arsonist on July 18, resulting in the death of 35 staff and serious injury to many others. At the time of the event, it was public knowledge that the family of Lucky Star director Takemoto Yasuhiro was unable to contact him, but it had not yet been confirmed that he was one of the victims. Mikoshi bearers held a moment of silence before launching into the procession, where they interspersed the usual chants of character names with cries of “Kyoani!”. Media coverage: Mainichi Shimbun, Sports Hōchi, Jiji

Natsumachi at Komoro summer festival
The 47th Komoro Citizens Festival Dokansho (こもろ市民まつりドカンショ) was held August 3 in Komoro, Nagano Prefecture. As has become a recent tradition, fans of Ano Natsu de Matteru were integrated into the long-running local event, forming one of the groups (連 ren) that make up the celebratory procession through the city, aptly referred to as the Natsumachi Ren (なつまち連). Media coverage: Tōshin Journal

Haikyū!! event in Karumai
Fans of Haikyū!! gathered for an exchange event organized by the Karumai-machi Tourism Association (軽米町観光協会) in Karumai, Iwate Prefecture on August 3. Participants included visitors from Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan. Media coverage: Daily Tōhoku

Barakamon art exhibit in Gotō
An exhibition of character drawings by Barakamon mangaka Yoshino Satsuki (ヨシノサツキ) and background art by Yamamoto Nizō (山本二三), known for his work on Studio Ghibli films, will be hosted at the Yamamoto Nizō Art Museum (山本二三美術館) on Fukue-jima, the largest of the Gotō Islands in Nagasaki Prefecture, from July 20 to September 15. Both artists are from the Gotō archipelago, and Yamamoto created the key visual for the TV anime adaptation of Barakamon, which is set on Fukue-jima. Media coverage: Straight Press, MdN Design

Manoyama Research Society event in Saitama
The third convening of the Manoyama Research Society (間野山研究学会) will be held October 13 at Ōmiya Sonic City in Saitama City, Saitama Prefecture. The academic conference takes its name from the fictional city in P.A.Works series Sakura Quest, is based in Nanto, Toyama Prefecture (the real-world model of that series and location of P.A.Works studio), and organizes events that discuss contents tourism and regional revitalization. The October meeting is the first to be held outside Nanto, will discuss contents tourism in Saitama, is free and open to the public (though targeted at researchers) with registration required.

Okamoto Takeshi interview
Manavi published an interview (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4) with contents tourism researcher Okamoto Takeshi (岡本健) on how he became interested in his two areas of specialization, tourism sociology of seichijunrei and zombie media content studies. He talks about how seichijunrei is a catalyst for people to encounter other people, places and things that are outside the bounds of their normal spheres of activity, which though it can result in friction, is also a powerful driver of creativity and bridging of cultures. He cautions parents (this website targets parents of young children) not to discourage students from pursuing interests and hobbies outside of formal studies, even those that appear “useless”, as deeper investigation will always reveal a connection to the society in which something was created.

Using AI to predict inbound seichijunrei travel
Insurance firm Tokio Marine Nichido and IT services firm NTT Data compiled a report using AI to collect and analyze data from global social media networks to understand what anime and manga seichijunrei destinations are popular among foreign visitors to Japan. What’s interesting is that, in aggregate, the series that appear in the results have significant overlap with what we know to be popular among domestic seichijunrei fans, however when broken down by country there are clear differences in preferred works and locations. Media coverage: Sankei Shimbun

Chinese tourists and seichijunrei
Market analysis firm Trend Express used data pulled from Weibo to infer what locations are of interest to Chinese travelers in Japan. Among the findings, it was noted that seichijunrei, which has for some time been popular among Chinese, is now competing with traditional tourism locations for popularity. Pilgrimage to the Hida City Library for Kimi no Na wa. is noted as a high frequency destination. Media coverage: ITmedia

Imadane seichijunrei survey
Interest and trends website Imadane conducted a survey of users between 10 and 49 years of age, asking about desired destinations for anime seichijunrei. The top ranked series were 1st: Bungō Stray Dogs (Yokohama), 2nd: Evangelion (Hakone), and tied for 3rd: Kantai Collection (Yokosuka) and Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai. (Chichibu). Full results here. Media coverage: Numan, Animage, Nijimen

Yoyogi Kaikan demolition begins
Visitors gathered July 31 at Yoyogi Kaikan (代々木会館), the dilapidated building central to the setting of Tenki no Ko, to view and photograph the building on the last day before scheduled disassembly and demolition begins. We saw this building a few times in Concrete Revolutio in 2016. Long before, it was known as the Angel Building in 1974-75 TV series Kizudarake no Tenshi. These days it is notable for its decay among modern surroundings. Media coverage: Model Press, Business Insider, J-Cast News, Nikkan Gendai, Gendai Business

Real-life mural depicted in Tenki no Ko
Artist Nabe Jill Chisato (@Girunabe) unexpectedly discovered the mural she had created in 2011 on the Shinjuku Ō-Guard (新宿大ガード), the large rail viaduct on the north side of Shinjuku Station, is recreated in full detail in the background art of Tenki no Ko. Media coverage: J-Town Net

Love Live! Sunshine!! and literature in Numazu
The Serizawa Kōjirō Memorial Hall (芹沢光治良記念館) in Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture reports a 38.1% increase in visitors in 2017 and 6.9% in 2018, over 2015 numbers, which it attributes to Love Live! Sunshine!! In the series, character Kunikida Hanamaru is an avid reader of the local author’s works. The museum hosts a pilgrimage exchange notebook for anime fans. The Marusan bookstore in Nakamise Shōtengai, itself a location used in the series, reports anime fans began buying Serizawa’s novels when they were displayed in the store’s anime-related material section. Media coverage: Shizuoka Shimbun

International cosplayer expedition to Hida
Participants in the World Cosplay Championship, held August 6 in Nagoya, made a side trip to Hida, Gifu Prefecture to tour the setting of Kimi no Na wa. Media coverage: Gifu Shimbun

Hotaru no Haka monument in Nishinomiya
A committee has been established in Nishinomiya, Hyōgō Prefecture to fund and install a monument marking the setting of Hotaru no Haka (Grave of the Fireflies), a semi-autobiographical story by Nosaka Akiyuki, later adapted as an animated film by Takahata Isao at Studio Ghibli, depicting struggle for survival at the end of World War II. The plan is for the monument to be completed in 2020 June, coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the end of the war. Media coverage: Asahi Shimbun

Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma joint tourism promotion
Chambers of Commerce for Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma prefectures convened to discuss measures for promoting tourism assets in the region north of Tokyo, including seichijunrei. Anime works with settings in the region include Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away), Initial D and Girls & Panzer. Media coverage: Sankei Shimbun

Koe no Katachi stamp rally in Ōgaki
Ōgaki Tourism Association (大垣観光協会) launched a smartphone-based Koe no Katachi stamp rally in Ōgaki, Gifu Prefecture on July 20. The campaign had been planned in advance of the July 18 arson attack on Kyoto Animation. Though the attack has led to the postponement or cancellation of some events and campaigns related to Kyoani, in Ōgaki the decision was made to continue with the rally as scheduled, with the addition of donation boxes added to several locations, as a signal of support for the studio. Media coverage: Mainichi Shimbun, Gifu Shimbun

Summer Wars campaign in Ueda
Shinshū Ueda Tourism Association (信州上田観光協会) launched a promotional campaign coinciding with the tenth anniversary of Hosoda Mamoru film Summer Wars to run in Ueda, Nagano Prefecture until September 1. The campaign will highlight the use of locations in the city as the setting of the film through banners, posters, train wrappings and a smartphone stamp rally. A free screening of the film was held July 28. Media coverage: Shinano Mainichi Shimbun

Saga Prefecture and Zombie Land Saga collaboration
An expansive summer marketing collaboration campaign between Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation (佐賀県観光連盟) and Zombie Land Saga is underway, with a steady drumbeat of accompanying media coverage. A stamp rally with stamps installed at 101 tourist facilities and shops, 97 more at lodging facilities, will be active from July 1 to September 30, and feature prizes that include original anime goods, lodging coupons and local products. A launch event featuring a “rare” stamp of Tatsumi Kōtarō was held July 10 at Hakata Station in Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture. Trains wrapped with new illustrations featuring Franchouchou began service on the JR Karatsu Line and JR Chikuhi Line on July 26 and will run to the end of October. A special program promoting the campaign and featuring Hondo Kaeda, the voice actor for lead character Minamoto Sakura, aired August 12 on TVQ Kyushu Broadcasting. The Karatsu City Museum of History and Folklore (formerly the Mitsubishi Joint Stock Company Karatsu Branch building)—a key location in the series that is not normally accessible to the public—will host special openings on July 26-28, August 18, September 15 and October 20. Media coverage: Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation, Saga Shimbun (article 1, article 2, article 3, article 4), Mantanweb, Nishi Nippon Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun

All Japan anime location map
Anime Tourism Association is distributing what it calls a “butaitanbou map”, which is actually a general overview of anime locations across the country, presumably only those selected to the Anime Seichi 88 list. As with the recent Sarazanmai “butaitanbou map” and other commercial marketing campaigns co-opting the term butaitanbou, I wonder if the misuse of the key term-of-art of the scene hunting subculture is a decision borne out of lack of understanding, or a deliberate disregard for actual butaitanbou practice. Media coverage: WebNewtype

Kadokawa Kyūshū Anime Deck
Kadokawa is building what it calls Kyūshū Anime Deck, a commercial space within the Sakura Machi Kumamoto facility, scheduled to open September 14. Kadokawa plans to use the space to sell anime goods, introduce anime locations in Kyūshū, and promote Kyūshū Anime Seichi no Tabi, the latter a promotional campaign managed by the Anime Tourism Association. Kadokawa will produce the sales floor and provide products, Anime Tourism Association will provide information on tourism resources, and Kyūshūsankō Group will both operate the store and provide transportation resources that support the tours. Kyūshū Anime Deck is an outgrowth of Kadokawa’s strategy to increase brand awareness of the company among domestic and inbound tourists through commercial facilities that disseminate pop culture media. Media coverage: Anime Anime

Aria Venice tour offering
Kinki Nippon Tourist will offer a tour package including Venice locations used in the setting of Aria and a dinner party featuring a talk by series production staff. The reservation window is closed as of the time of writing, and the tour will be held 2020 February 27 to March 4. Media coverage: Anime Anime, Crunchyroll

Tenki no Ko Pilgrimage

@fragments_sue made a pilgrimage to Kōzushima, Ōshima Subprefecture, Tokyo Metropolis for Tenki no Ko (Weathering with You).

@fragments_sue (post), @flyingbird1124 (updated post), @habusan (post), @ad_motsu (post 2), @darkflame_esper (post) and @kimamanidance (post) made pilgrimages to Tokyo for Tenki no Ko.

Current Season Pilgrimage

@flyingbird1124 made a pilgrimage (updated post) to Shin-Maruko and Kizuki, Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture; Nakane, Meguro Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo. Episode 4 and Episode 5.

@fureshima2223 made a pilgrimage to Higashimurayama; Kōenjikita, Suginami Ward; Hitotsubashi-Gakuen Station in Kodaira (all Tokyo Metropolis) for Joshi Kōsei no Mudazukai Episode 1 and Episode 2.

@shira_ry (post) and @flyingbird1124 (post) made pilgrimages to Tama and Hino, Tokyo Metropolis for Machikado Mazoku Episode 1 through Episode 4.

Past Season Pilgrimage

@krissy297_ph made a pilgrimage (post 2) to Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture for Bungō Stray Dogs.

@offtama made a cycling pilgrimage across Saga Prefecture for the Zombie Land Saga stamp rally.

@Nagatoyukito5 made a pilgrimage to Ogikubo, Suginami Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for SSSS.Gridman.

@112233aabbccdde made a pilgrimage to Singapore for Sora yori mo Tōi Basho.

@hiro_senritu made a pilgrimage to Ueno, Taitō Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for Mitsuboshi Colors.

@kimamanidance made a pilgrimage (post 3) to Tokyo for Kimi no Na wa.

@626shin made a pilgrimage to Fujisawa and Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture for Just Because! OP/ED and Episode 1.

@Roan_Inish made a pilgrimage to Aomi and Ariake, Kōtō Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for Bakemonogatari.