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
Anime Regional Development School
There are two new free seminars in a series of online panel discussions from the Anime Regional Development School (アニメ地域おこし学校). A live stream general talk about the school and Q&A session is scheduled May 22 at 11:00 JST. A second live stream featuring contents tourism researcher Okamoto Takeshi (岡本健) is scheduled May 29 at 11:00 JST. Okamoto specializes in anime seichijunrei, among several topic areas, and is currently an Associate Professor on the Faculty of Applied Sociology at Kindai University. As with the rest of this series, the talks will be hosted by “seichijunrei producer” Kakizaki Shundō (柿崎俊道) and Oda Yasuo (小田恭央). Oda is the CEO of SSS, the company that manages local character and vocaloid Tōhoku Zunko.
Contents tourism online symposium
The Academy of Contents Tourism (コンテンツツーリズム学会) will hold its 2021 general meeting and symposium on June 6. The general meeting at 13:00 JST is brief and for members only, while the symposium is free and open to all, beginning at 13:30 JST. Attendance is limited to the first 100 applicants. Interested participants can register here up to June 4.
Warabi Cramer exhibition
An exhibition of production materials from the anime adaptation of Sayonara Watashi no Cramer will be held at the Warabi History and Folklore Museum (蕨市歴史民俗資料館) beginning June 5. Addionally, a banner featuring characters from the series will be displayed in the schoolyard at Warabi Daiichi Junior High School (蕨市立第一中学校), which is the model for the school setting for the main cast. In its coverage, Sankei notes there is an expectation for Warabi to become an anime seichi, and that relevant persons are enthusiastically promoting the city through the work, to that end. Media coverage: Sankei Shimbun
Butaitanbou cut collection
Zachary (ざっかりー @Zacharylion) was one of several butaitanbou-sha hunting for and extensively documenting locations in Odaiba, Tokyo for Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Dōkōkai. He published a two-part article using Nijigasaki as a case study to explain and reflect on the actual process and purpose of taking photos for a butaitanbou report, what practitioners often call cut collection (カット回収 katto kaishū).
Part 1 is philosophical and practical, focusing on his reasons for taking the photos and general approach. For Zachary, finding the precise position to compose a photograph that matches the art helps him sense the connection between the fictional world and real one. He also considers this photography as creating an historical record of what locations looked like at the time of broadcast, as many will change in ways subtle and large over time. He writes about sensing the presence of a fictional character in real locations, connected with but not necessarily the precise compositions from the art, which in a framework of aesthetics we would refer to as antidromic superimposition. He lists a collection of factors that can be incorporated as part of one’s standard for what makes a good butaitanbou cut, including composition, angle, angle of view, time of day, weather, season, filters and color adjustment. However he cautions not to think of it as competition with others, but something you do for yourself, and your criteria should reflect your own needs and purpose.
Part 2 is technical, getting into the specifics of understanding camera lens focal length and how it affects compositions, as well as using parallax to find the precise point of match with the art.
Karatsu Zonsaga emigrant
Freelance writer Nakagawa Jun’ichirō (中川淳一郎) published an interview with a 36 year old man from Fukuoka Prefecture surnamed Tabata (田畑), who was motivated to emigrate to Karatsu, Saga Prefecture by seichijunrei for Zombie Land Saga, moving to the city in 2020 March. Tabata originally had few impressions of Saga, but became aware of interesting locations through the anime series. His initial seichijunrei visits were inspired by local food and beverage businesses featured in the series, but these ultimately led him to increasing engagement with Saga locals and other Zonsaga fans, both online and in-person, and further probing into local sites and features beyond those in the anime. Tabata says Saga locals, similar to the humor employed in Zonsaga, will at first use self-deprecating language such as, “There’s nothing in Saga,” but at heart are proud of their communities and happy to welcome and share their insights with newcomers. For Tabata, the combination of a nonprofit organization that helps prospective emigrants with job hunting and housing, along with opportunities for local volunteer work and informal support networks, helped him make a relatively smooth transition.
Numazu Love Live emigrant
Chiteijin Kakitama (地底人かきたま @pokeTC_meganest) moved to Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture in 2018 March. He published an article of observations and reflection on his life there over the past three years. Though seichijunrei for Love Live! Sunshine!! was how he first came to be familiar with the city, and doubled as scouting trips while he was evaluating several locations for a potential move, this article focuses almost exclusively on practical concerns. Kakitama writes at length about transit links within the area and to metropolitan nodes, car sharing and rental services (he does not currently own a car, but thinks it is an unavoidable necessity to fully explore the area), shopping and entertainment options, finding employment and other matters. He is frank about advantages and disadvantages with regard to each topic. These thoughts are a useful reality check for anyone considering a move to regional cities in Japan, not just anime emigrants.
Hirosaki Flying Witch emigrant
Taya Naoki (たやなおき @justtaiyaki) was motivated by manga and anime series Flying Witch to emigrate to setting location Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture, moving to the city in 2021 March. Taya is originally from Kansai, worked in Tokyo after graduating university, and visited Hirosaki multiple times for seichijunrei following the 2015 anime adaptation. He cites diminished motivation after ten years of working in Tokyo and a desire to support the local community in Hirosaki, particularly after the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, as main factors in the decision. Taya currently works in apple farming, and has a future goal to create tourism content based on Flying Witch. Media coverage: Hirosaki Keizai Shimbun
Flying Witch Neputa
The Witch Association Hirosaki Branch (魔女協会弘前支部) is a Flying Witch fan club based in Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture. The group was formed in 2018 May, an outgrowth of online fan exchanges, and is currently managed by emigrant Taya Naoki (see above story). Although the 2020 Hirosaki Neputa Matsuri (弘前ねぷたまつり)—a summer festival featuring large fan-shaped floats with elaborate art—was cancelled due to Covid-19, the Association created a miniature float made of corrugated cardboard and adorned with art by Neputa painter Miura Yūki (三浦岳仙) that incorporates characters from the manga and anime series. The painting depicts protagonist Kowata Makoto and first daimyō of Hirosaki Domain Tsugaru Tamenobu fighting demons representing the coronavirus. The float was constructed in 2020 November and December, exhibited at an event in Aomori City, and is now on display at the Machinaka Information Center (まちなか情報センター) in Hirosaki. Media coverage: Mutsu Shinpō
Chiba Evangelion rice terraces
Fans of Evangelion are traveling to visit Ōyama Senmaida (大山千枚田), rice terraces in Kamogawa, Chiba Prefecture, after they appeared in the film Shin Evangelion Gekijōban. The nonprofit organization Ōyama Senmaida Preservation Society (ＮＰＯ法人大山千枚田保存会) seeks to preserve both the scenery and methods of this type of traditional rice cultivation by leasing individual paddies to residents in the greater Tokyo area, who are expected to visit the rice terraces about seven times a year for mowing, planting and harvesting, under the guidance of experienced farmers. It is not uncommon for the Society to receive requests to for filming at the terraces, though at the time of Evangelion location hunt the identity of the planned work was not revealed. Media coverage: Nihon Nōgyō Shimbun
Takayama Jujutsu Kaisen seichijunrei
There was addition reporting about Jujutsu Kaisen fans making pilgrimages to Senkōji (千光寺) in Nyuukawa-chō Shimobo, Takayama, Gifu Prefecture. Media coverage: Kyodo
Anime consumption survey
Research firm Testee (テスティー) conducted a survey on anime consumption habits of high school and college students, finding approximately 90% in each group reported watching anime. Seichijunrei was indicated among the responses to the question of what activities an individual engages in with regard to their favorite works, with Seishun Buta Yarō wa Yumemiru Shōjo no Yume o Minai (Shōnan area, Kanagawa Prefecture), Natsume Yūjin-chō (Hitoyoshi and Kuma region, Kumamoto Prefecture), and Yuru Camp (Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures) mentioned most. Media coverage: All About News
Anime regional revitalization award
Animonozukuri Award (アニものづくりアワード) recognizes anime, manga and character content collaboration tie-ups with other industries, and has been held since 2017, though the 2020 awards were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2021 May, the award will for the first time be presented as part of the Kyoto International Manga Anime Fair (京都国際マンガ・アニメフェア), also known as Kyomafu (京まふ), and adds a new category for regional revitalization (地方創生部門). This new category targets initiatives that use anime, manga or characters to promote local industry and tourism, including public relations activities, tourism marketing, collaborations between traditional crafts and media contents intellectual property, business related to seichijunrei, and events. Media coverage: @Press, Anime Anime Biz, Anime Anime
Bamboo background art
Anime background art studio Bamboo will publish a book (Bamboo 背景画集) of work it has produced over the past 15 years, featuring over 500 images from multiple genres. Notable butaitanbou inducing works include Uchōten Kazoku and Penguin Highway. The book also includes art from Sword Art Online and Ghost in the Shell: Arise. The release data of the book is May 21.
Tajimi Yakumo contents origin
Contents tourism researcher Kawashima Tarō published an interview with Koike Kazuhito (小池和人) who, in an unconventional way, acts as the producer of the Yakunara Mug Cup mo free manga and associated Tajimi tourism promotion material, all of which are the basis for the anime series. Koike is chairman of Planet, an IT company that makes patient database systems for dental clinics. Koike is orginally from Tajimi, returned there to establish the Planet office, and brought together people and resources to create Yakumo as a side project.
Somewhat improbably, the origin of Yakumo was a draft of a story intended to promote tourism to the city called Tajimi Monogatari (多治見ものがたり), written at Koike’s request by Tokyo Disneyland general manager Hori Teiichirō (堀貞一郎), who was a mentor to Koike. Hori was also an amateur potter and performs the voice of the ghost host at the Tokyo Disneyland Haunted Mansion. Hori passed responsibility for the unfinished draft to his grandson, who Koike describes as an otaku. Koike tasked the grandson with pushing the project forward, ultimately taking the form of the free manga, with the help of a group of friends. Ultimately, the only person out of that group to stay with the project was Kajiwara Osamu (梶原おさむ), the author of the manga and later the story for the anime version. In the beginning, Kajiwara was working in part-time jobs elsewhere. Koike hired him to work at Planet so that Kajiwara could move to Tajimi and begin creating a Yakumo team within the company.
Though Koike had considered an anime as part of his original vision for Yakumo, he had not put resources into developing this and thus was completely surprised when contacted by Nippon Animation about adapting the story. Someone who had grown up in Tajimi, working at the studio, became aware of the free manga and brought this up for consideration. Media coverage: ITmedia Business (part 1, part 2)
Tajimi Yakumo promotion
Tajimi, Gifu Prefecture ramped up local promotion of Yakunara Mug Cup mo as the series began broadcasting in April, including installation of large banners and posters around the city, and converting the official city car into an itasha. City officials and other concerned parties stated explicitly their expectations of “seichi-fication” (聖地化) through the series. Media coverage: Mantanweb 1, Mantanweb 2, Chūnichi Shimbun
Zipang regional revitalization
Freelance media consultant Sakai Osamu (境治) published an article about Zipang, a company targeting regional revitalization through media contents, born out of Mainichi Broadcasting System. Zipang plays a behind-the-scenes role in location tourism and other promotional activities based on Yakunara Mug Cup mo, acting as a coordinator between the content creators, Tajimi city government and tourism promotion groups, and broadcasters. Media coverage: Yahoo News Japan
Sakai will also moderate an online panel discussion about Zipang’s role in promoting Tajimi tourism and Yakumo featuring the company’s CEO and CCO, and staff from CBC TV on May 25 at 17:00 JST. Admission for the webinar is 2200 JPY and interested participants can register here.
Current Season Pilgrimage
@flyingbird1124 made a pilgrimage (updated post) to Koremasa-bashi in Fuchū; Ochiai, Tama; Ishida-ōhashi in Hino; Kamiogi and Minami-Ogikubo, Suginami Ward; Nakano, Nakano Ward (preceding all Tokyo Metropolis); Sugekitaura, Tama Ward, Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture for SSSS.Dynazenon ED, Episode 1 through Episode 6.
@Bf109K1 made a cycling pilgrimage to Fuefuki, Fujiyoshida and Yamanakako, Yamanashi Prefecture; Oyama, Shizuoka Prefecture; Hakone, Odawara, Ōiso, Hiratsuka, Chigasaki, Fujisawa and Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture for Super Cub Episode 6.