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Naval City of Yokosuka Uses High School Fleet to Draw Tourists

posted on by Eric Stimson
Models efforts after Ōarai's success with Girls und Panzer

The popular spring 2016 anime High School Fleet is set in Yokosuka, a Tokyo suburb with an American naval base and Japanese naval port and training facilities. To capitalize on being showcased in the anime, the city is promoting its connections to the show and attracting tourists interested in cute high school girls and the military.

High School Fleet features real-life Yokosuka locations like Mount Kinugasa Park and Suwadai Shrine, and East Japan Railway Company's Yokohama branch has encouraged tourism there by anime fans through "stamp rallies" (scavenger hunts). The Japanese military's Kanagawa Provincial Cooperation Office has distributed High School Fleet recruitment posters to drum up interest in joining the navy.

The banner welcomes the girls to Yokosuka Girls' Marine High School.

The Kinugasa Shopping Arcade celebrates High School Fleet with posters and banners, and since July, 34 different retailers have participated in a campaign that gives customers High School Fleet character badges if they spend over 500 yen (about $5). They also decorate their stores with life-size character panels.

The Japanese sweets store Sakakura Sōhonka especially celebrates the anime, since it is featured in it; High School Fleet-themed pudding and dorayaki (pancakes filled with bean paste) is on sale, and on weekends and holidays the fifth floor fills with 34 life-size character panels. The store owner claims about a hundred fans come on weekends.

The explicit model for Yokosuka's anime promotion is Ōarai, a town north of Tokyo which is featured in Girls und Panzer, another anime about attractive girls doing militaristic things. Ōarai has celebrated Girls und Panzer with decorated trains, cars, a tank, and more; the town now collects 21 times more revenue than before Girls und Panzer, thanks to the anime. Yokosuka's efforts so far are working — though not quite to that extent.

Yokosuka is no stranger to anime pilgrimages; it's also promoted Tamayura and Arpeggio of Blue Steel.

Source: Otapol; Images from Twitter, Koko wa Yokosuka and High School Fleet official website

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