Anime Tourism Researcher Takeshi Okamoto Warns Against Over-Commercializing the Phenomenon

posted on by Kim Morrissy

In recent years, anime-related tourism has been on the rise, as dedicated fans flock to the real-life locations that inspired the backgrounds in their favorite anime. Many local governments have recognized the potential positive economic effects this could have on their area and have been supporting anime-related tourism, but researcher Takeshi Okamoto warns against over-commercializing the phenomenon.

He told Yahoo! News in an article published on May 11: "Of course anime tourism has an economic effect, and it will encourage people who like anime to come to the locations and bring new ideas. However, visitors will lose their zeal if it's too over-commercialized. In order to avoid that, it's necessary to study in detail what the visitors value. The hotel tie-up with the Love Plus romance simulation game is an example of that."

In 2010, Hotel Oonoya in the Shizuoka Prefecture held a collaboration with Love Plus. The hotel staff would lay out two futons even for visitors who were staying alone, a fact which caused a stir online. The implication was that the extra futon was laid out for the visitor's favored girl in the game.

Okamoto explained: "It's not that you should never have gimmicks, but that if you're going to do them, you'd better research your audience and do it properly. If it comes off as sloppy, then the visitors will see right through it."

He advised organizing committees to try doing things with the locations that the visitors would not be able to simply accomplish by themselves. This would have to be different for every location because every anime property has different fandom references and in-jokes.

In addition to studying anime tourism, Okamoto has also published research analyzing the effects of Pokémon Go on tourism.

Source: Yahoo! News

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