Friday, January 09, 2009

Lucky Star Tourism Research

Lucky Star related visits to Washinomiya Shrine have been in the news again this week, with the start of 2009 bringing a record number of hatsumoude (New Year's visits)--about 420,000 people according to Animaxis--to Washimiya, with many pilgrimages no doubt inspired by the continued popularity of Kyoani's slice-of-life comedy. The Lucky Star tourism phenomenon is apparently starting to attract some academic attention, with Takayoshi Yamamura, a cultural tourism expert from Kyoto Saga University of Arts, recently writing a paper titled: "Study of the birth and development of a sacred place for anime fans." An abstract is available in English, though the paper itself is Japanese only:

This paper is a survey of how the town of Washimiya became the "sacred place" for anime fans ever since fans from all around the country rushed to visit the town after it was used as a setting for the animation "Lucky Star," leading also to the town successfully holding two events for these fans. The following three points were discussed.
1)The process leading up to the town becoming a "sacred place."
2)The process leading up to the town welcoming tourists.
3)The roles of tourist related corporations outside the town.
As a result, it was found that in each process the local commerce and industry association played a central role. It was also found that with the town's commerce and industry association at the core, a local shrine, local shops, fans, and corporations from outside the region (copyright owners and a tourist agency) were able to build a relationship of mutual benefit as a backdrop to the current success.

Anyone out there feel comfortable reading communication science papers in Nihongo?

Yamamura, T. 2008. Study of birth and development of "sacred place for anime fans": discussion of tourist promotions based on animated work "Lucky Star" focused on Washimiya, Saitama Prefecture. The Journal of International Media, Communication, and Tourism Studies 7: 145-164.

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