There is more to anime than just sales figures.
When we talk about the anime industry that is dying, we tend to look at sales numbers alone. This is hardly always the complete picture. Anime has a greater impact than most might think. It can even create macroeconomic effects.
The Japanese government sure does a lot to capitalize on the wonder of anime and has therefore set up a special website where the places used in anime are put in a nice summary for those who want to initiate their anime pilgrimage.
This is just one of the many efforts by the Japanese governmental departments, in this case the department of tourism that is trying to help and obviously stimulate tourism, consequently increase domestic spending. In another article I wrote about the Cool Japan initiative which had to promote anime and other Japanese entertainment products abroad.
Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, vice president of the Anime Tourism Association and the chairman of publisher Kadokawa Corp, said in an article at the Japan Times that the growing popularity of anime abroad, gives new opportunities for Japan to boost its tourism economy.
Apparently anime is already a large motive for tourists to visit Japan. According to the article a lot of Taiwanese tourists came to visit the coastline of Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture which was featured in the series “Slam Dunk.” Another example is a staircase towards a shrine in Tokyo which attracted hordes of tourists who’ve seen the movie “Your Name.”
There are also numerous instances where anime characters or other fictional beings are representatives of products and even towns. The city of Fujiyoshida, a town near the Fuji mountain created a moe character to promote its town, hoping to attract younger tourists to visit the city. Another 1500 people visited the city of Ōarai to celebrate the birthday of Kay from Girls und Panzer. Ōarai is the setting town of Girls und Panzer.
Using anime character goes beyond tourism alone. The popular fictional character Kuroneko from the series Oreimo was used in a Mazda car ad. This was back in 2011, so using fictional characters is not a new development. Microsoft created Tōko Madobe who is the mascot for the Windows 10 operating system.
The list of anime characters being used as selling points is nearly endless. It’s clear that anime generates more economic growth. It has a wide reach, motivating people to book their flight to Japan to discover where some of their favorite fictional characters come from and ultimately spend money. In Japan they are even used for products. Whether this stimulates more revenue needs more research, but it’s done with a purpose and it reaches audiences that are better reached using fictional characters.
The anime industry is too massive to topple over and the previous examples show that characters can be licensed to serve in ads, generating more revenue for the production studios. Revenue comes from different sources, even from places you did not expect and not stimulate the anime studios, but also local economies.