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Japanese town aims to ignite explosive reputation with bombastic promotional video

A car is seen crashed into the community gym and enveloped in explosions in Itoda, Fukuoka Prefecture, on Aug. 20, 2019. (Mainichi/Kenta Somatani)

ITODA, Fukuoka -- This town in Kyushu, southwestern Japan, is creating a new promotional film featuring explosive pyrotechnic stunts that hark back to the dramatic, action-packed police dramas of the past.

Although there have thus far been explosive demonstrations carried out on a private level as part of town revitalization efforts, this video has also had help from the municipal government.

As production uses locations including a community gymnasium that is set to be demolished, the public-private initiative to promote Itoda as an "explosive town" continues.

A car is seen being pursued by another vehicle decked out like a police car. Tires screech across the tarmac. At high speed, both cars dodge past a pre-set pillar of fire that leaps into the air with a great bang. The car being tailed by the cops then smashes into the entrance of the gymnasium, where it is engulfed in flames and the sound of explosions.

A car chase scene in which vehicles dodge a plume of fire and smoke is seen while being shot at the community gym in Itoda, Fukuoka Prefecture, on Aug. 20, 2019. (Mainichi/Kenta Somatani)

The vivid action scenes that unfolded took place in late August, on a location shoot in the town. The director of the unlikely promotion video is Kenta Nagayoshi, 47, a Tokyo-based videographer originally from Fukuoka Prefecture.

From January, Nagayoshi and others have been holding explosive action scene filming events across the Chikuho region, including in Itoda. With a thorough safety plan in place, the team has been able to showcase the scenes to spectators. It is hoped their efforts will encourage more crews to shoot on location in the area.

The town government has welcomed the initiative too. When it came to commissioning the PR film, they chose Nagayoshi and gave him a brief to make something with impact. It granted permission to make and film pyrotechnic scenes at the 41-year-old gymnasium set to be demolished, and entrusted the filmmakers with its production.

The plot of the promotional film revolves around a recently retired couple who returned home to Itoda after living in Tokyo. There, they introduce their visiting daughter to the town's appealing qualities, including the ruins of Itoda Castle, the shopping street, and the residents themselves. The explosive action scenes appear as excerpts from an independent film the husband and others have made in the town.

The film is planned to be completed by the end of the year, and will be released via the official site for the town office, as well as on social media sites including YouTube. Nagayoshi said, "I want to show people in and out of this country the good things about Itoda."

Takahiro Morishita, assistant director of the town office's community promotion section said, "We want to sell this town as 'Itoda, an explosive town,' and ignite awareness of the area."

(Japanese original by Kenta Somatani, Kyushu News Department)

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