Despite its long-time popularity as East Asia’s number-one tourist destination, the popularization of anime streaming services such as Netflix and roll has brought a new breed of tourist to Japan’s shores: the western anime otaku.
Normally seen sporting cat ears and broken Japanese learned from anime, more and more of these foreign visitors have converged upon popular tourist destinations in recent years. Despite this, the same tourist destinations have experienced significant drops in the number of overall visitors over the same time period. As we can see from the pictures one Kyoto tourist was nice enough to allow Anime Maru to use:
With a large new demographic flocking to Japan eager to spend money, why are overall tourism numbers down in Japan? “The unfortunate truth is that Japanese locals have learned to avoid western anime otaku tourists, usually taking extreme measures to hide behind nearby vending machines. Why? Anime Maru was lucky enough to get in contact with an anonymous user on Japan’s 2chan imageboard who was willing to explain.
It’s not even that all of you western anime otaku bother us personally that much. In fact, usually you’re all perfectly nice people who are trying your best with your terrible Japanese and your difficulty with culture shock. But when you come to a country with thousands of years of proud history ingrained into every member of society because you liked an anime and wanted to visit all of the ‘anime high school field trip’ sites, we tend to think you’re all just kind of silly.
The otaku tourists remain completely oblivious to the judgment they’re receiving from what few locals they see during their trip, happy to continue shouting English phrases followed by “desu” and referencing Attack on Titan regularly.
Our Anime Maru Japanese correspondent asked some tourists in Tokyo why they thought they weren’t seeing any locals, to which they replied, “We’ve been super lucky our whole trip, it’s almost like everyone has been steering clear of us!”
With the seclusion caused by the tourists, the already-poor Japanese birth rate has dipped deeper into negative territory and the country now faces a birth crisis unlike any other in recorded history. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a press conference on Tuesday where he told the media with tears in his eyes that “Anime has ruined Japan, it was a mistake”.