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 sacred site pilgrimage) and butaitanbou (舞台探訪 scene hunting)—on this website referred to collectively as anime pilgrimage—which are forms of place-based engagement induced by the use of real locations in show settings.
Media and General Interest
Seichijunrei and regional revitalization
Writing for Danro, contents tourism researcher Kawashima Tarō (河嶌太郎) published an article about the “de-subculturalization” of anime through seichijunrei, the promotion of which is now a widely recognized component of regional revitalization efforts. In telling the history of anime pilgrimage, which began as fan-initiated exploration and information dissemination, but now often involves deliberate planning of real location use at the development stage and active promotion during the release period, Kawashima points out how the commodification of the practice takes away the appeal for the people who created it. It is as if a mountaineer who is inspired by forging his own path and climbing where no one has gone before is suddenly forced to ascend leisurely via cable car or ropeway.
Yurucamp and Minobu
YBS Wide News broadcast a segment on regional revitalization in Minobu, Yamanashi Prefecture. The story features Jyōkō-in (常幸院), a Buddhist temple near Yurucamp locations that has engaged in outreach to anime pilgrims, and the Gojōgaoka Activation Promotion Council (五条ヶ丘活性化推進協議会), which promotes activities at the former Shimobe elementary and junior high schools, including Yurucamp fan events.
— カキセラ△ (@4GO_gts) April 10, 2020
Yurucamp audio drama redistribution
In response to limited access to Yurucamp Fujikko Machimeguri (ゆるキャン△ 梨っ子町めぐり) events as a result of Covid-19 countermeasures, Yurucamp will re-release the original audio drama component of the marketing collaborations, which ran from February 1 to March 31. More details will be announced at a later date.
Koias and Okinawa
The National Astronomic Observatory of Japan invites Koisuru Asteroid fans to visit the Ishigakijima Astronomical Observatory in Okinawa after resolution of the Covid-19 epidemic.
— 国立天文台 (@prcnaoj) March 22, 2020
Eiden marketing collaborations
Asahi Shimbun published an article about ten years of marketing collaborations between the Eizan Electric Railway in Kyoto and a long list of manga and anime series. Eiden often promotes works that originate in magazine Manga Time Kirara, beginning with the 2009 Spring TV broadcast of the Kyoto Animation adaptation of K-On!
Yuyuyu and Kan’onji
Fans of Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru traveled to Kan’onji, Kagawa Prefecture on March 21 to attend birthday celebrations for the titular character, including at Michi-no-eki Toyohama (道の駅とよはま). Media coverage: Shikoku Shimbun, Shikoku Shimbun (alt)
Yowamushi Pedal and Sakura
The city of Sakura, Chiba Prefecture organized a Yowamushi Pedal stamp rally from March 7 to 29.
Tatebayashi Yorimoi map
The city of Tatebayashi, Gunma Prefecture and Anime Tourism Association published an official location map for Sora yori mo Tōi Basho. Media coverage: Tatebayashi Kurashi, Tatebayashi City
Fuchū Chihayafuru manhole covers
The city of Fuchū, Tokyo Metropolis installed design manhole covers on March 21, including several featuring illustrations of characters from Chihayafuru drawn by mangaka Suetsugu Yuki. Media coverage: Chōfu Keizai Shimbun
Kuki Lucky Star marriage certificates
The city of Kuki, Saitama Prefecture began offering Lucky Star themed marriage certificates from March 23, to mark the tenth anniversary of the formation of the city. Media coverage: Mainichi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun (English)
Love Live! Sunshine!! Hakodate tour
JALPAK, a tour agency affiliated with Japan Airlines, is offering a Love Love! Sunshine!! tour package to Hakodate, Hokkaidō Prefecture from February 14 to April 27. Media coverage: JMAG News