Locals Warn of Disturbances Caused By Rising Popularity of Anime Pilgrimages

posted on by Kim Morrissy

Economics magazine Money Post published an article on its website and latest print issue regarding the possible downsides caused by the rise of anime pilgrimages within the last decade. The article publishes several quotes from locals and people related to tourism bureaus that are directly affected by the anime tourism boom.

The city of Numazu in the Shizuoka prefecture has experienced a boom in visitors since the release of the Love Live! Sunshine!! anime in 2015. According to chief tourism strategist Norihito Masuda, the town received 4 million yearly visitors around the time it was released, a number which increased by 600,000 two years later. The tourist information center close to the anime locations received 13 times the number of visitors from previous years.

According to some locals, there are worries about disturbances in private places. The real-life middle school that is the inspiration for the school depicted in the anime now has a sign on its front gates in both English and Japanese telling visitors that only people related to the school are allowed entry.

"Zealous fans have entered the grounds without permission and taken photos that happen to catch students in them," say the locals. "Because of that, the school had to put up a notice to avoid trouble."

A food store owner has also commented with ambivalence on the swarm of visitors they've received after their store was depicted in an anime. "The fans can't stop their cars, and they even take up the parking space of the stores next door."

The article also references the vandalism of the Love Live! Sunshine!! manhole covers in Numazu last year, prompting the city to temporarily pull the covers. The covers were re-installed four months later with security cameras in place.

Nevertheless, the article notes the positive economic effects of anime tourism, as well as the fact that in some cases, the locations continue to bring in tourists years after the anime has finished airing. Tourism studies professor Takeshi Okamoto said that the economic effects in areas portrayed in NHK's Taiga dramas tend to last for only two years before disappearing, but there are some anime, such as Girls und Panzer and Lucky Star, which continue to bring in steady numbers to their real-life locations year after year.

Source: Money Post

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