Rozen Aso: Otaku Tourism Will Save Japan

taro-aso-pm.jpg

Prime Minister Rozen Aso recently debuted his newest plan to shake Japan out of its economic doldrums: otaku tourism.

With one notable exception, Aso’s new plan differed little from the tired promises made in past.

Whilst his plan repeats oft mentioned commitments to an environmentally conscious economic strategy and promises to build a society friendly to the elderly, Aso also unveiled his determination to reinforce the country’s “soft power”.

Soft power is Aso’s euphemism for anime, manga and games, as well as Japanese fashion and similar.

By reinforcing the popularity of Japanese visual culture abroad, Aso hopes to bring foreign otaku by the millions to Japan to soak up the related culture and purchase anime-related goods directly at the source.

Aso confidently predicted that the otaku tourist trade could burgeon to 20 to 30 trillion yen and generate 500,000 new jobs.

The Prime Minister set a target for drawing 20 million foreign visitors to Japan by 2020, more than doubling the current number of 8 million.

Previous efforts to drastically increase tourism, such as the “Yokoso Japan” branding strategy, have met mixed results, but concentrated very strongly on traditional and very staid attractions such as onsen and ryokan, rather than the more modern appeal of Akiba maid sex parlors.

Via Japan Today.

Aso’s strategy looks flawed, or at least highly optimistic, from the very start.

The Japanese visual culture industry is not known for its high wages and a number of high profile studios have either significantly reduced staff or have closed shop altogether; the media industry seems an unlikely economic incubator, and traditional publishers have proven less than dynamic.

The media in question may harbor some technologically progressive industries (video games), but the tourism itself is unlikely to promote investment or consumption which will assure Japan’s technological and scientific growth.

Further, the Japanese themselves may balk at the idea of opening their country to legions of foreigners who may believe that Japan is filled to the brim with cosplaying maids and would-be ninjas (although they seem silent when tourists come expecting geisha and samurai). Even indigenous otaku suffer much scorn.

Many Japanese lament such a maniacal image being associated with them, wanting instead to be taken seriously.

They may overlook the fact that tens of millions the world over do not take much interest in the TV or comics of more “serious” countries…


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    Comment by Genny
    01:54 11/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I've read a separate article about it somewhere. I have to say that it took them long enough to see how their comic industry is doing them good.

    It's attracting more people than trips to the beach (Tropical countries) yet it's still one of the world's most expensive places to go.

    But I don't see Japan opening itself to foreign investment. Like this article said..they're going to make them buy from Japan. An inspiring trait our country doesn't seem to do so well T_T

    Should they provide the budget then Japan would be a force to reckon with.

    Comment by Haruka Amami
    01:47 11/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    "Aso’s strategy looks flawed, or at least highly optimistic, from the very start."
    Yeah, very likely. Wish I could go to Japan right now though..... =(

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:57 11/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    lol "this is the greatest plan ever!" ... no not rly Mr Aso. I can't believe you're willing to piss away your country's history and culture to peddle to foreign tourists.

    Avatar of Artefact
    Comment by Artefact

    As opposed to trying to lure them in on the basis of a few rotten old temples and kimono cosplayers?

    Comment by Riiku
    02:35 11/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Keikaku dori

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:34 20/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    TL note: Keikaku means plan

    Avatar of VZ
    Comment by VZ
    01:29 11/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I want a maid themed Japan airline.

    And yes, perverted otakuism IS a part of Japanese culture so get over it moral prudes.

    Avatar of Aeromax
    Comment by Aeromax
    00:50 11/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Hey, guys. Just a little note before you go (if you do)... please don't make a spectacle of yourself, I really want to be able to go abroad without being "that one guy". I'm really sick of people hating me because of "that one guy".

    Avatar of tingle
    Comment by tingle
    00:23 11/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    well i did go there last year for similar reasons he may not be as crazy as I look.

    Avatar of Krisantes
    Comment by Krisantes
    00:06 11/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    My souvenir? umhh. Maybe a couple of yuri Maids, a high school girl include serafuku and one EVA.

    Avatar of metatron
    Comment by metatron
    00:31 11/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    PM Aso's plan looks promising but it looked a bit flawed...but it could work

    If otaku tourism at Washimiya worked, why not for the whole country?

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:43 11/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the lolis and politicians will look up and shout "Save Us!"...:
    ...and I'll look down, and whisper, "I'll order online".:

    Avatar of Icy-nee-san
    Comment by Icy-nee-san
    00:31 11/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    All Otakus! TO JA-PAN!!

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:50 11/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I hope they start with discounted airfare then because that's what stops me from going back again and again.

    Comment by Bayonette
    03:09 11/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Who needs some boys from Johnny Entertainment where they have female idols, manga, and anime!

    Comment by Soran_happies still rule!
    21:28 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    How come taro aso always has that sneer look...

    Avatar of scwizard
    Comment by scwizard
    10:21 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    JAPAN IS DOOMED

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:41 12/05/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Okay taro aso-san.
    You give me a hotel room and flight tickets, and i'll go buy stuff in akiba.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:36 16/09/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Actually the idea may not be so crazy they could make Akiba a tourist attraction like Las Vegas.
    This really could make money.
    Someone's paying big bucks for those DVDs and figures otherwise they wouldn't be making them.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:14 09/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well, for one Mexico is already thought of as the Guadalajara from Jorge Negrete's movies, which if you ask me is even worse...

    On a side note, if I went on an otaku plan to Japan I would go on a trainspotting plan, because Japanese railroads are cool. Problem is, I already saw French railroads, which are just as awesome (compare Yamanote Line and the Shinkansen with RER D and the TGV) :3

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:33 11/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Summon Weeaboo Horde!

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:41 11/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Finally they realised what they should do. Turn the country in to an anime,loli,hentai,video game paradise.

    Comment by Stefan
    07:33 11/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    It will be like Disney World. Only more moe.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:44 11/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    NIPPON IKIMAAAAAAAASU

    Comment by Role
    13:20 11/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Umm, Mister Aso? Hate to break this to you, but... How can we come as tourists if we're even having problems keeping up with our otaku habits here? Economy sucks EVERYWHERE, bud, not just in your country. I'd LOVE to go, but you'd have to pay my way if that were to happen. Sorry, but thanks to Epic Fail Obama, I'm going nowhere fast.

    Comment by ALT in Japan
    23:52 10/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well, I'm already doing my part by buying copious amounts of figures, magazines and merchandise from my trips to Akiba. Not to mention all that money that went into doujinshi....

    I can definitely see where he is coming from.

    Comment by SaruDa
    17:22 10/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    They could teach their citizens English, that might help tourism.
    And before you flame, I know that Japan requires their students to learn """"English""""

    Avatar of Icy-nee-san
    Comment by Icy-nee-san
    00:30 11/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I know a bunch of koreans that just moved here recently (maybe 2 - 3 years ago) and they speak English BETTER then the white people XP

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:42 11/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    nobody speaks english. not even anon

    Comment by Anonymous

    ENGRISH!=/= english

    way to fail weeabo scum

    Avatar of Artefact
    Comment by Artefact

    The standard of English in the services industry is really poor. I recall on a brief visit to Korea, the hospitality staff had English closer to the level of non-native Europeans than the comparatively lower proficiency usually managed by East Asians. Supposedly Korea is worse than Japan for such matters too...

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:12 10/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    IIRC, it was reported that the standard of English in South Korea is the worst in Asia. No offense to any Koreans out there.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:29 12/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is why many people from South Korea are flooding (more like 'zerg rush') the Philippines for 'affordable' education on the English language. :D

    There are pretty visible presence of Koreans in every university here in my country, although I don't find it alarming as long as they don't cause any trouble.

    Avatar of Artefact
    Comment by Artefact

    I heard this. Possibly the statistic should be interpreted as "worst at passing English tests", because the practical English capability of most Japanese is atrocious.

    Avatar of tomoemami
    Comment by yaku
    17:14 10/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Too late Japan; we do recognize that you have a rich interesting culture, but the maids and anime go hand to hand with it too.

    Now, they could suck it up and try to squeeze our otaku money for all its worth, or keep on wailing about their -already soiled- image.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:35 10/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Maybe not treating tourists like criminals before they even leave the airport would be a nice start, too.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:38 11/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    You can blame the Americans for that. Everyone is a fucking terrorist now.

    Comment by Fujimiya
    17:38 10/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    LoL'ed for Asou's mouth in the picture!

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:36 10/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is fake, isn't? If not, man Japan is doomed....

    Avatar of jinstevens
    Comment by jinstevens
    22:52 10/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Nope, it isn't fake. It's his real strategy. Obviously, I emphasized the part that would interest readers of this site, but the rest of his plan isn't anything that hasn't been trotted out before by either Aso or other Japanese leaders.

    "Soft power", as he puts it, represents his only innovation.

    Avatar of Artefact
    Comment by Artefact

    This sort of soft power is treated quite seriously in analysis of international relations.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:00 10/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    what's with the photoshoped image? xD

    Avatar of jinstevens
    Comment by jinstevens
    22:54 10/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Photo isn't shopped at all. Really.

    Comment by Anonymous
    Comment by Anonymous
    16:37 10/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    They need to relieve that goddamn crowd in comikets first.. whoops, impossible :)

    Avatar of Pandemonia
    Comment by Pandemonia
    22:51 10/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Or expand hugely.

    Tokyo Big Sight AND that aircraft carrier they were offered to borrow previously might work.

    Comment by GeorgieE
    Comment by The Jumper
    17:50 10/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    i know its lol

    but how about ENGRISH?

    they need to know how to speak it properly or weeabos by the millions will ravage japan like rats

    and what about their stuff...will they now manufacture items that have english option with them?

    Avatar of Yangth
    Comment by Yangth

    Oh god, the weeabos... I'd shoot myself too if I had to deal with even one of them.I can't imagine 20 million!

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:42 11/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    You wouldn't believe how many weeaboos there are in my school's Japanese class. The girls talk in funny voices occasionally, and are all fans of Inuyasha. Some of the guys call themselves by similar sounding Japanese names.
    Devante = Daisuke WEEABOO!!!!

    I give this weeaboo example because Devante can be easily spelled in Hiragana or katakana(Va=Ba), and there's no need to use the name Daisuke.

    Comment by shalala

    i feel sorry for you. I hope i never have to see a weeaboo ever in my life.




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