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Central Japan city supports tourism industry with popular anime 'LoveLive' tie-up

Numazu Mayor Shuichi Yorishige is seen holding a plastic bottle resembling a crystal ball that Chika Takami, the protagonist of the anime series "LoveLive! Sunshine!!" holds in a local tourism promotion poster, at the city hall in Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture, on July 22, 2020. (Mainichi/Hiroshi Ishikawa)

NUMAZU, Shizuoka -- The government of this central Japan city where the popular anime series "LoveLive! Sunshine!!" is set has conjured a promotional campaign using the anime to support local tourism, badly hobbled by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

    The promotion includes welcoming guests with gifts with anime-related motifs, and discounts on boat charters, fishing boat rentals and other marine activities. It aims to entice visitors from inside Shizuoka Prefecture and neighboring prefectures such as Yamanashi.

    The campaign, which will cost an estimated 136 million yen (about $1.3 million), was decided solely by Numazu Mayor Shuichi Yorishige, without going through the municipal assembly. All expenses will be covered by national treasury disbursements and there will be no burden on the municipal purse.

    After the Kano River fireworks festival was cancelled this year, the Numazu Municipal Government made 1,600 posters featuring Chika Takami, the protagonist of "LoveLive! Sunshine!!" wearing a "yukata" casual kimono and whispering the words, "Let's meet here again," in hopes that people would come for the festival next summer.

    Visitors who stay at accommodations in Numazu from mid-August will be gifted with a plastic bottle resembling the crystal ball that Takami is holding in the posters reflecting the fireworks -- an item likely to prove popular with LoveLive fans, known as "LoveLivers."

    Visitors can receive a 50% discount (up to 5,000 yen) on marine leisure activities, bathing at Kurura Heda, an onsen hot spring in the city's Heda district, as well as on stays at the Hakamadaki Auto Camp caravan site. Furthermore, people who stay at the city's accommodations will be given a ticket worth 500 yen that can be used for bus and taxi rides in the city. Such discounts will also apply from mid-August.

    Mayor Yorishige said at a regular press conference on July 22, "We hope for people to enjoy taking a trip while following a new lifestyle. Residents from the greater Tokyo area will not be excluded, but we ask that people take measures to prevent the spread of infections."

    (Japanese original by Hiroshi Ishikawa, Numazu Bureau)

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