Monday, May 30, 2011

Will Japan's Travel Industry Get The Hint?

by Armand Vaquer

Above, Haruo Nakajima. Could he and his alter ego be the ones who revives Japan's tourism industry?

It is amazing how things can go viral over the Internet.

A few days ago, I posted a blog "Can Godzilla Save The Japanese Tourism Industry?" at Monster Island News, Godzilla 2012 and Armand's Rancho Del Cielo blogs. I posed the question in this way:

Getting up this evening from much-needed sleep (I have to work the graveyard shift in Burbank again tonight), I found an email about a Twitter Tweet from Tom Baker of The Daily Yomiuri:

Can Godzilla help save Japan's tourism industry? Monster expert @ArmandV comments on an editorial from @DailyYomiuri.

I think Godzilla would be a great help in saving Japan's tourism industry. He's as internationally recognizable as Mickey Mouse. Of course, the tourism industry would need the cooperation from Godzilla's owner, Toho Co., Ltd., but ads featuring the King of the Monsters promoting Japan tourism could do the trick. Also, taking on Haruo Nakajima, the original Godzilla suit actor, as a goodwill ambassador in a advertising campaign for Japan tourism would be a plus. Given his age (he's 82), his participation would have to be limited a bit. But seeing the crowds gather around him on Hollywood Blvd. (see photo below from his daughter Sonoe) convinced me that he could be useful. And, I think he'd have a ball!

Above, Haruo Nakajima drew a crowd on Hollywood Blvd. last month. Photo courtesy of Sonoe Nakajima.

As I said before, the Japanese tourism industry needs to think "outside of the box" to get travelers over to Japan. It's worth a try!

Checking Google, I found that a number of websites have picked up on the posts. They range from other bloggers to travel websites. Maybe the Japanese travel professionals and tourism bureaus (especially the Japan National Tourism Organization) will get the hint?

Wouldn't be cool to see Godzilla and Haruo Nakajima featured in promotions for Japan travel? They would certainly catch a lot of attention!

Both Godzilla and Haruo Nakajima are valuable resources that could and should be tapped. We'll see what develops.

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Burbank, CA – March 29, 2010 – Legendary Pictures announced today that they will develop and produce a new film based on Toho Company’s famed GODZILLA character. Through the terms of the agreement, Legendary Pictures has acquired the rights to produce a movie inspired by Toho’s Godzilla, a franchise the Japanese company created and has nurtured for over fifty years.

Toho’s GODZILLA franchise boasts one of the most widely recognized film creatures worldwide, resulting in a series of books, television programs, video games and more than 25 films worldwide. Legendary intends to approach the film and its characters in the most authentic manner possible. The company will, in the near future, announce a filmmaker to helm the film for an intended 2012 release. The film will fall under the company’s co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Toho will distribute the film in Japan."

"Godzilla" is coming back -- this time, with Legendary Pictures taking the lead, co-producing and co-financing with Warner Bros. for release in 2012.

Legendary announced Monday it had obtained rights to the iconic monster character from Japan's Toho Co., which has overseen more than 25 "Godzilla" films. Toho will release the pic in Japan.

Legendary said it's planning to announce a director shortly.

In addition to Legendary, producers on the new film will be Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Brian Rogers. Yoshimitsu Banno, Kenji Okuhira and Doug Davison will exec produce.

"Godzilla is one of the world's most powerful pop culture icons, and we at Legendary are thrilled to be able to create a modern epic based on this long-loved Toho franchise," said Thomas Tull, Chairman and CEO of Legendary. "Our plans are to produce the Godzilla that we, as fans, would want to see. We intend to do justice to those essential elements that have allowed this character to remain as pop-culturally relevant for as long as it has."

Legendary noted the film will fall under its co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Legendary's productions with Warners have included "The Dark Knight," "300" and "The Hangover."

Speculation about a new "Godzilla" has been active since last summer. The Bloody Disgusting web site reported in August that the project was in development.