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
Lucky Star Mikoshi in Radio Washinomiya
To commemorate the upcoming first procession of the Lucky Star mikoshi in three years and the portable shrine’s renewed art, a special broadcast of Lucky Star Mikoshi in Radio Washinomiya (らき☆すた神輿 in ラジオ鷲宮) will be livestreamed via Niconico on May 14 from 19:00 to 21:00 JST. The show will cover information about the upcoming public appearance on June 4 and how to participate as a bearer, as well as look back at the past 15 years since the show premiered, and discuss the path forward after three years of restrictions on activity due to Covid-19.
Nanto Sakura Quest video
P.A. Works staff created a video tour of locations in Nanto, Toyama Prefecture used to create the setting of Sakura Quest. The area around Sakuragaike is within walking distance of the animation studio headquarters. They later drive to Jōhana, Inami and other locations. The same staff previously made a similar video for Hanasaku Iroha in Yuwaku, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture.
Takayama Hyōka location
Yomiuri Shimbun follows the Chūnichi Shimbun (here, here and here) with an article about a location associated with works by Takayama native author Yonezawa Honobu (米澤穂信), who received the 2022 Naoki Prize for his most recent novel, Kokurōjō. The new article is about the use of cafe Bagpipe (バグパイプ) in Takayama, Gifu Prefecture as a setting in the Kyoto Animation adaptation of his debut novel Hyōka. It mentions fan seichijunrei to the cafe and the pilgrimage exchange notebook there, which now fills 17 volumes. Media coverage: Yomiuri Shimbun
Kasamatsu Uma Musume promotion
There was additional reporting on the Kasamatsu Racecourse (笠松競馬場) and Uma Musume Cinderella Grey tie-in marketing promotions held between April 27 and May 2, covered previously here and here. Media coverage: Gifu Shimbun
Numazu Marusan closing
Marusan Book Store Nakamise branch (マルサン書店仲見世店) in Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture will close for business on May 31. The reason for the closure is the aging building would have to be refurbished as part of an area redevelopment plan, which in light of declining demand for paper media is cost prohibitive for the owner. The branch is a popular location for fans of Love Live! Sunshine!! visiting the city on pilgrimages. Marusan branches on the north side of Numazu Station and in neighboring Shimizu will continue operation. Media coverage: Yorozū News, Otakomu, Shizuoka Shimbun, Anime News Network
Kita Nippon Shimbun published a series of advertorial pieces under the banner Toyama Seichijunrei (とやま聖地巡礼) between 2021 August and November. Seven of the articles cover manga, four are anime (Kimi no Suizō o Tabetai, True Tears, Ōkami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki, Another). This news outlet has a nearly impenetrable paywall, so it is difficult to glean the details of the contents, though the full text of Ōkami Kodomo was briefly available syndicated on Yahoo News Japan and is now preserved at archive.org.
Comment: I wanted to point this out not for the details of the articles, though they are interesting, but to note that this is a growing trend among regional news organizations in Japan over the past several years. Gifu Shimbun is also a frequent author of this kind of coverage. The writing is notable for the fact that there is no real news, such as an event or change to the physical premises, but in publishing articles to draw awareness to lesser known local tourism resources, these are in some cases the first instances of those resources and seichijunrei behavior associated with them being covered by mainstream media. The stories are often informative, but to me they seem undermined by the grandiose tone (“come experience the magic of entering your favorite fictional work and our breathtaking natural environment”), or FOMO baiting (“so many people are coming here from all around Japan and the world”), and almost always end with a call to action (“why don’t you come and see for yourself?”). Most confusing of all is that, if these are indeed meant to indirectly promote tourism, as they appear to be, why are they behind a paywall?
Nanao Hōkago Insomnia promotion
Anime and live-action adaptations of manga Kimi wa Hōkago Insomnia were announced as greenlit on January 13. The series is set in Nanao, Ishikawa Prefecture. The city has already used art from the manga on the cover of its furusato nōzei (hometown tax) catalog, and a local machizukuri (town making) group has been organizing events targeting seichijunrei. Concurrent with the announcement, Nanao mayor Chatani Yoshitaka (茶谷義隆) declared, “All of Nanao will become a seichi and many fans will visit. I would like to promote expansion of our efforts with regard to nonresidents, to promote the entire region through this work and create a mechanism that can be enjoyed by visitors.” Media coverage: Chūnichi Shimbun
Nanao Machiaruki Center (七尾まちあるきセンター) was awarded the 500,000 JPY grand prize in the Nanao Future Award (七尾未来アワード) for its proposal to organize a “seichijunrei tour” for Kimi wa Hōkago Insomnia. The regional revitalization project competition was organized by the Nanao Chamber of Commerce and Industry Nanao Future Vision Committee (七尾商工会議所七尾の未来構想委員会). Awards were presented to recipients in a ceremony on April 16. The winning proposal puts forth the narrative that in order to attract outsiders to the city, it is necessary to rouse interest within Nanao itself, which it will approach by creating maps and guide manuals, and conducting periodic participatory tours targeting local residents. Judges’ feedback included the comment “This will become a trigger for capturing young people.” News release: Nanao City. Media coverage: Chūnichi Shimbun
Animonozukuri Award 2022
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. This year’s awards cover the period 2020 January 1 to 2022 June 30, and will begin accepting submissions May 16. In 2022 September, the award will for the second consecutive year 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). The regional revitalization category (地方創生部門), which was new for 2021, is again included. The regional revitalization 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. News release: Animonozukuri Award Executive Committee
Arukikata Jojo guide
There was additional reporting on the Chikyu no Arukikata (地球の歩き方) special guide to locations used in JoJo no Kimyō na Bōken that will be published July 14, covered previously. Media coverage: DaVinci