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Asia Minute: Japan’s Anime Play for Tourism


Hawai‘i is on track for another record year in tourism in 2016. So is Japan—and government and business leaders there are adopting a new strategy to push their visitor numbers even higher. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute. 

If you think “Pokemon Go” got people moving, wait till you hear about the latest tourism draw in Japan.  It’s related—built around the popular Japanese themes of anime and manga.  Anime is animation—but also so much more.

It generally includes the wild colors and characters and fantastical plots of manga, those illustrated graphic novels or magazines or stories.  Taken together, anime and manga are the twin pillars of a new plan to attract visitors to Japan.

88 different locations across the country are going to be christened “animation spots.”  From train stations to schools and even former homes of manga artists—the idea is that travelers will visit them.  Most are places that are significant in the lives of various manga characters or story lines.

The group doing the designating is the “Japan Anime Tourism Association”—and its leaders hope to have a finalized list put together by December.  Tourism is the goal—and increased manga sales wouldn’t hurt the feelings of the Association…but the chairman of one publisher and film studio has a loftier goal.  He told a Tokyo news conference late last week that “animation can change the times.”

Nick Yee’s passion for music developed at an early age, as he collected jazz and rock records pulled from dusty locations while growing up in both Southern California and Honolulu. In college he started DJing around Honolulu, playing Jazz and Bossa Nova sets at various lounges and clubs under the name dj mr.nick. He started to incorporate Downtempo, House and Breaks into his sets as his popularity grew, eventually getting DJ residences at different Chinatown locations. To this day, he is a fixture in the Honolulu underground club scene, where his live sets are famous for being able to link musical and cultural boundaries, starting mellow and building the audience into a frenzy while steering free of mainstream clichés.
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