Contents Tourism: Fictional narratives and locations that beckon us to travel

Conference/Symposium | March 11 | 9:15 a.m. | Kroeber Hall, Gifford Room, 221

 Takayoshi Yamamura, Hokkaido University

 Millie Creighton, University of British Columbia; Akiko Sugawa-Shimada, Yokohama National University; Michael Dylan Foster, University of California, Davis; Margaret B. Swain, University of California, Davis; Rongling Ge, Xiamen University; Deirdre Clyde, City College of San Francisco, and University of Hawaii, Manoa; Min Joo Lee, University of California, Los Angeles; Kyungjae Jang, Hokkaido University

 Daniel Fischer, University of California, Berkeley; Nelson Graburn, University of California, Berkeley

 Shinobu Myoki, Tohoku University; Ryoko Nishijima, University of California, Los Angeles

 Center for Japanese Studies (CJS), Townsend Center for the Humanities, Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, Center for Chinese Studies (CCS), Center for Korean Studies (CKS), Cambria Press

The focus of this conference emphasizes the contemporary contents tourism, based mainly on the stories and characters of manga, anime, the internet, young peoples’ “virtual world,” rather than commercial or politically/geographically driven cases. The components are: the artist/creators who may or may not be professionals, the distribution media which may be broadcast programs or interactive media, the fans who admire and attribute special qualities to the fictional beings and places, and the tour, the (self)organized travel and the ritualized performances, often considered pilgrimages (Jang 2015) at the chosen destinations. These performances usually involve cosplay [costume play], that is the fans dressing up as or for the fictional characters.

These forms of contents tourism pertain to age groups, especially as a kind of rebellion of detachment of the (unmarried, underemployed) youth from those older, much as did Banana Yoshimoto’s inventive fiction since 1988. There is also a strong gender component with different personages and “cults” appealing to different genders. Prime is the proto-adolescent female figure engendering moe [burning, attraction] to young people of both genders but tending towards porno-attraction for middle-aged and older males (Yamamura 2008). There are more specialized programs, “cults” and events appealing to narrower gender audiences. For instance Yaoi-con consists of homo-erotic male figures which are designed to and in fact attract and fascinate – and arouse female “fans” (Uzama 2011) and this had grown to be popular abroad, especially in the United States (Masaki 2008). In 2015 the Yaoi-con (convention) took place in a hotel near San Francisco airport and two of the conference participants attended for research purposes.

Not all contents tourism is so esoteric or limited to Japanese fans. “Power Spot” tourism is a Japanese “spiritual craze” which designates certain places and spiritual destinations engendering “pilgrims” for “worshippers” in places not necessarily celebrated by Japanese traditional religions. While this relates culturally and overlaps with Japans animistic Shinto (the religion of 8 million kami [“gods’]),” it has generated its own fan groups and promoted visual consumption life styles such as Yama girls. It also bears resemblance to European-derived Geo-caching (Elder 2016) which is also practiced in Japan by tourists and Japanese alike. Clothilde Sabre, a French scholar associated with the Hokkaido équipe, is writing on Pokémon-Go as a driver of new tourism destinations in Japan (personal communication 2016). Above all, anecdotal evidence and prelim- inary research suggests that similar Contents Tourism phenomena are growing elsewhere in East Asia (McCarthy 2016), the USA and Europe

Contents Tourism is already an important topic in Japan at the economic, sociological, geographical and cultural levels. There is an Academy of Contents Tourism (Academic, Governmental and Business Membership), there are two volumes on Contents Tourism (Nishikawa et al. 2015; another that I have just reviewed for a press); and there are a number of research centers. The British Association of Japanese Studies held a Mini-Conference: “Civil Society, Tourism, Anthropology” in July 2016, at the Research Faculty of Media and Communication, Hokkaido University. Above all it is a field of immense creativity, of importance to major groups of Japanese (and Korean and some Chinese) nationals. The power of the symbolism and attraction is perhaps best measured by reports (Jang 2016; Okamoto 2015) that these “cults” are the only successful way of getting hikikomori (self-imposed recluses), out of their isolation into civil society. About a million young people, mainly men aged 18-35, live permanently in their bedrooms parents’ homes! (Zielenziger 2006).

Schedule and Participants:

Friday March 10th

5.00pm - Opening Reception, Sponsored by Cambria Press

(P A Hearst Museum, Main Gallery, 102 Kroeber Hall)

6.30pm - Opening Address
Prof. Takayoshi Yamamura (Center for Advanced Tourism Studies, Hokkaido University)
“Who Creates ‘Contents Tourism’? A new tourism model induced by pop culture in the age of mixed media.”
(Gifford Room, 221 Kroeber Hall)

Saturday March 11th
(All in the Gifford Room, 221 Kroeber Hall)

9.15-11.00 am - Neo-Destinations and Community Focus
Millie Creighton (University of British Columbia)
Akiko Sugawa-Shimada (Yokohama National University)
Michael Dylan Foster (University of California, Davis)

11.15 am -12.25 pm - Media and Representations over Time
Shinobu Myoki (Tohoku University)
Margaret B. Swain (University of California, Davis) & Rongling Ge (Xiamen University)

12.25-1.40 pm - Lunch Break

1.40-2.50 pm - Media and creation of pilgrimage/tours
Deirdre Clyde (City College of San Francisco, and University of Hawaii, Manoa)
Bianca Freire-Medeiros (University of Texas at Austin and Universidade de São Paulo, Brasil)

3.10-5.00 pm - Multi-cultural, cross-cultural youth tourism
Min Joo Lee (University of California, Los Angeles)
Ryoko Nishijima (University of California, Los Angeles)
Kyungjae Jang (Hokkaido University, Japan)

5.15-6.00 pm - Discussants
Daniel Fischer (Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley)
Nelson Graburn ((Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley)

6.00-7.00 pm - Open Discussion among participants and audience

This event is free and open to the public., 510-642-3415