A rather unique poster of the Keion-bu sidelining as spokesmodels for the Japanese National Census has recently sold on Yahoo Auctions for ¥71,000 (approx. $860 USD); while definitely not a record for impassioned otaku auctions, still surely a princely sum for a B2-sized poster with governmental text obscuring much of the artwork.
The poster itself is a Kyoto City advertisement encouraging residents to participate in this year’s national Census (this year’s Census Day fell on Oct. 01).
The auction maker does not state specifically where he acquired this copy of the poster, other than that it was not stolen or any other illegal method, but does describe it as the sort of small poster that would be distributed for storefronts in the Kyoto area.
The poster itself:
The top pink text says:
Residents living in Kyoto Metropolitan Area, Let’s All Participate!
October 01, National Census Day
There are also English, Chinese and Korean equivalents lower down.
As the auction says, the artwork is as splendid as one would expect from a Kyoto Animation artwork, although it does seem to lose something with all the official blurbs laying on top of it all.
A variety of other special artwork featuring the girls of K-ON! has been seen as part of the census – for some reason (likely regional pride at the success of Kyoto Animation) K-ON! was selected as the source of image characters for the census, despite the anime itself having no actual connection to Kyoto – it is apparently set in the Saitama/Tokyo sprawl.
The extreme popularity of K-ON! and the national exposure (largely via 2ch) of the Kyoto census campaign probably accounts for the high price.
The auction itself can still be seen at Yahoo Japan, but for posterity’s sake, here are screens of the entire auction page:
A slightly modified version of the poster even appeared in a Kyoto newspaper: