Could Love Live! Make an Appearance at the Tokyo Olympics?
posted on by Eric Stimson
Love Live! School idol project has taken Japan's anime enthusiast community by storm in the past few years (as any regular reader of ANN can attest), and it's even achieved some mainstream recognition, as epitomized by its appearance in last year's Red and White Song Battle. But is it ready for the world's biggest stage — the Summer Olympics opening ceremony?
Hiroshi Hase, Japan's Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and a former pro wrestler, certainly thinks so. He was invited by Takaaki Kidani, the president of Bushiroad (which publishes Love Live! School Idol Festival), to attend the "final" μ's concert at Tokyo Dome on March 31. He wore a T-shirt to the event and waved a glow stick. His thoughts were recorded in a blog post:
18:00 [6 PM], I arrive at Tokyo Dome.
Invited by President Kidani of Bushiroad.
It's the first time I've seen it.
This is what Japan's proud anime culture is all about, and shouldn't we express it!?
Hase has since identified himself as a proud "Liver" (Love Live fan) and even asked to be called "Minister Love Liver." He compared the enthusiasm he saw at the concert with New Japan Pro Wrestling events. "I want to spread this heat to the world," he said. "I'd like to roll out the Cool Japan strategy with Japan as the dispatcher of manga, anime, games and characters." Finally, he said he'd like to include Love Live! in the Olympic opening or closing ceremony.
Hase (right) with Kidani (left)
However, Liver reaction on Twitter was not particularly appreciative. Fans regarded Hase's idea as "reckless" and inappropriate for the Olympics. "[Love Live concerts] are only exciting because people who like Love Live go," one tweeted. Many fans were also reticent at the idea of Love Live! somehow representing Japan as part of the government's Cool Japan initiative.
Hase is not unusual for his appreciation of anime and manga culture. Hase claims there is a "League of Manga MPs" in the Diet, and former prime minister Tarō Asō was nicknamed "Rozen Asō" when he was spotted reading Rozen Maiden at Haneda Airport. Furthermore, AKB48 producer Yasushi Akimoto is on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Committee.