Osaka Planning Its Own 'Cool Japan' Attraction Park

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

Osaka's otaku sub-culture is often overlooked for the more famous Akihabara, but the city is home to Den Den Town, its own nerdy paradise and a humongous cosplay street fair. Osaka also has Universal Studios Japan and its Cool Japan attractions that includes the popular heroes from Shonen Jump, Attack on Titan, and this year, Sailor Moon.

Besides these obvious draws for fandom, the city is also planning a new park to showcase popular anime and manga works as Japanese cultural arts like kabuki and rakugo. The tentatively named "Cool Japan Park Osaka" takes its name from Japanese government's "Cool Japan" program. A summary of the upcoming park development was announced on Friday. The Japanese entertainment conglomerate Yoshimoto Kōgyō, Osaka-based broadcaster Zaiban Television Hōsōkyoku, and 13 other companies are collaborating on the park. Both private and public funds will be used to develop and build the park.

Three theaters, each different sizes and specializations, will open in February 2019. The theaters vary in size with the largest housing 1,144 seats and the smallest just 300 seats. The organizers hope to bring in 500,000 domestic and foreign tourists a year. Osaka's mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura said at the announcement that he expects Osaka Castle Park to be "the best park in Japan."

The Cool Japan Initiative is run by Cool Japan Fund Inc., public-private company that the Japanese government employs to fund projects as part of its "Cool Japan" program. While hopes are high for this new park, Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei wrote in November that most of the initiative's investments have under-performed.

"Cool Japan" is a program supported by the Japanese government and various companies that promotes modern Japanese culture such as anime and manga abroad. The program revolves around the premise that Japan's strength in business and international affairs lies in anime, manga, films, fashion, and other fields of Japanese arts and entertainment content.

The Japanese Finance Ministry allotted 45.9 billion yen (about US$403 million) in funding for the "Cool Japan" program for its 2017 fiscal year, a 22% increase from last year.

Source: Sponichi Annex

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