BBC Story on Peter Rabbit in Japan

posted on by Andrew Osmond
BBC website investigates continuing popularity of Beatrix Potter character.

The BBC website has put up a story on Japan's love for the character Peter Rabbit, created by Beatrix Potter.

The story describes how each year, about 15,000 Japanese people visit a small 'Peter Rabbit' attraction/shop, called 'The World of Peter Rabbit,' in the Lake District. 'Many read (Peter Rabbit) in English as a child at school and now share it with their grandchildren.'

The character is far more popular than any of Beatrix Potter's other animal creations. "The Japanese are only really interested in the bunny." Even Tokyo's Mitsubishi Bank has Peter Rabbit as a mascot. There are also themed shops, restaurants and hotels in Japan, as well as a brick-for-brick replica of Beatrix Potter's house and a theme park.

A manager of 'The World of Peter Rabbit' says the Japanese customers would buy its shop out entirely, if they did not have to transport their purchases back to Japan. The managers 'make trips to Japan every few years to meet tour operators and make sure Peter Rabbit stays on their itineraries.'

A representative of Sony's marketing department (Sony is Japan's agent for licensing the Peter Rabbit name in the country) says that beyond Peter Rabbit's cuteness, the character taps "a certain admiration or yearning for European culture which is very different from ours". She cites Beatrix Potter's "British cynicism" or "British way of thinking."

A travel operator adds, "Peter Rabbit is so cute, but he also is very British and people in Japan admire both of those qualities."

Via Otaku News twitter feed

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