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
Aobuta and Toji no Miko dōjinshi event
A joint dōjinshi event targeting Seishun Buta Yarō—formally Dōjin Adolescent Syndrome (同人思春期症候群)—and Toji no Miko—formally Gozenjiai Fourth Round Pose, Photo, Start! (御前試合第四回戦 構え、写シ、始め!)—derived contents was held at the Fujisawa City Concert Hall in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture on November 1. Among several butaitanbou-sha participating, @hanara_striker offered the first public sale of his new contents tourism research volume Toji no Seichi (刀使ノ聖地), which looks at machi okoshi (町おこし town revitalization) efforts utilizing Toji no Miko in Seki, Gifu Prefecture and Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture.
— ミヤケン (@miyaken46) November 1, 2020
Ōmi Kangakukan crowdfunding
Ōmi Kangakukan (近江勧学館), the training center and primary competition venue for karuta on the grounds of Ōmi Jingū in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, is soliciting crowdfunding support to replace its tatami mats. The Kangakukan and shrine grounds appear frequently in the Chihayafuru series. This specific campaign will run until November 30, and as part of a broader project to encourage growth of interest and participation in karuta is also supported by the Chihayafuru Fund (ちはやふる基金). The crowdfunding campaign reached its target of 4,000,000 JPY after just three days, on November 1. Funders donating at least 5,000 JPY receive a letter of thanks and an original illustration by Chihayafuru mangaka Suetsugu Yuki. Higher levels of donation are recognized with more prominent displays of thanks and additional gifts, including a Hyakunin Isshu card set.
Kamiichi Ōkami Kodomo house
Eight first-year students in the International Tourism Department at Toyama College of Welfare Science (富山福祉短期大学), under the guidance of Toyama Prefectural University lecturer and Butaitanbou-sha Community member Ōishi Gen (大石玄), toured the traditional house known as Hana no Ie (花の家) in Kamiichi, Toyama Prefecture on October 31. The house was used by Hosoda Mamoru, who is from Kamiichi, as the model for the house in Ōkami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki. The students are tasked with conducting fieldwork and creating a plan for the town to promote anime tourism to the house. Ōishi will give a presentation at the Kamiichi town hall in 2021 February. Media coverage: Kita Nippon Shimbun (original, paywall), Kita Nippon Shimbun (syndicated, open access), Toyama Shimbun
Chiba mayor seichi inquiry
Chiba City mayor Kumagai Toshihito (熊谷俊人) tweeted on October 28 to announce the installation of the second of two Anime Tourism Association plates. A plate for Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai was installed previously, and now one for Yahari Ore no Seishun Rabukome wa Machigatteiru. Responses gave Kumagai the impression that he was not aware of the full extent of pop culture media works that use Chiba as a setting and should investigate further, so he solicited information to that end on October 29. The mayor replied to several of the responses, including a mention of William Gibson novel Neuromancer. Kumagai showed great interest in the theory that Usaminsei, a fictional planet “one hour from Earth by train” and home to Idolmaster character Abe Nana, is actually Chiba City. Media coverage: J-Cast News
Kimetsu no Yaiba seichijunrei
The recent trend of Kimetsu no Yaiba fans visiting locations they have associated with the work, but which are not actually used as settings nor have any confirmed connection, continues to expand. The series does name a few real locations, including Mount Kumotori and Asakusa, but for the most part the setting is fictitious. Visitors travel to Hachiman Kamado Jinja (八幡竈門神社) in Beppu, Ōita Prefecture; and Hōmangu Kamado Jinja (宝満宮竈門神社) in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture because of the shared name with protagonist Kamado Tanjirō (竈門 炭治郎). They visit Katsurakiniimasu Honoikazuchi Jinja (葛木坐火雷神社) in Katsuragi, Nara Prefecture because the special attack practiced by character Agatsuma Zen’itsu is called Honoikazuchi no Kami (火雷神). Visitors travel to the Ittōseki (一刀石 split boulder) in Yagyūchō, Nara Prefecture; and to Ōkawasō (大川荘), a ryokan in Ashinomaki Onsen, Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture due to visual resemblances to scenes from the series. Finally, fans travel to Kanro-ji (甘露寺), a temple in Kinokawa, Wakayama Prefecture, both for the shared name with character Kanroji Mitsuri (甘露寺 蜜璃) and because shrine caretakers have enthusiastically endorsed cosplay photo shoots on grounds, arranging for changing rooms at a nearby community center on weekends. Media coverage: With News, Walker Plus, San’in Chūō Shinpō, Wakayama Keizai Shimbun, Hōnichi Lab
Ehime Ghibli seichijunrei
Tourism site Do? Go! Ehime published an article about “pseudo-seichi” in Ehime Prefecture that evoke scenes from Studio Ghlibli films. Dōgo Onsen in Matsuyama is said to have inspired the bathhouse in Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi. The remainder of the attractions are manufactured and have no known connection to the films.
Tateyama Shigururi bus wrapping
Nittō Kōtsū (日東交通) launched a wrapped bus featuring designs from Sen’yoku no Sigrdrifa, the first of several planned promotional campaigns in Tateyama, Chiba Prefecture. There is also a poster signed by series cast members at the entrance to JMSDF Tateyama Air Base. There are plans for wrapped vehicles on two bus lines under JR Bus Kantō Tateyama branch (JRバス関東館山支店), as well as character badges distributed at Tateyama Station and character panels displayed at various locations around the city. Media coverage: Bōnichi Shimbun
Numazu Love Live! bus tour
Tōkai Bus (東海バス) will offer Go By Love Live! Sunshine!! Wrapping Bus Local Love Full Tank Fully Enjoy Numazu Tour (ラブライブ！サンシャイン!!ラッピングバスで行く 地元愛♡満タン☆沼津満喫ツアー!!) which, after parsing that mouthful, is as it indicates. The bus tour will operate on weekends and holidays from November 7 to 29. Reservations are already being accepted. Media coverage: Famitsu App
Hakodate Love Live! tour
JALPAK, a tour agency affiliated with Japan Airlines, is offering a Love Love! Sunshine!! tour package to Hakodate, Hokkaidō Prefecture from November 1 to 2021 May 10. The tour was originally scheduled for the spring, but was postponed due to the Covid-19 epidemic. Media coverage: Press release
(神様になった日 Kamisama ni Natta Hi)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Residential neighborhood in Yamanashi City (山梨市), Yamanashi Prefecture.
Yamanashi Prefecture Disaster Prevention New Building (山梨県防災新館) is a multi-function government building that includes some commercial and public spaces.