Departmental Bulletin Paper French Anime and Manga Fans in Japan : Pop culture tourism, media pilgrimage, imaginary

Sabre, Clothilde

1pp.1 - 19 , 2016-08-22 , Center for Advanced Tourism Studies = 北海道大学観光学高等研究センター
Japanese pop culture, particularly anime and manga, have been an important part of the French cultural scene since the 1980s. French fans have created communities that share references about this pop culture and more generally about Japan. This specific imaginary drives some fans to travel to Japan to discover the actual places which appear in their favourite manga/anime. Focusing on the travel experiences of French tourists, this article introduces the notion of media pilgrimage as a useful way of conceiving such behaviour. Taking an anthropology of tourism approach, the article details the processes that guide the tourist experience on trips induced by media-contents-related imaginaries. This clarifies the connections between media-related images, perceptions of Japan as a tourist destination, and the concrete activities of foreign tourists during their stay. The article also identifies a gap between the Japanese perception of Western tourists, as indicated by the ‘Cool Japan’ campaign, and the tourist experiences of French visitors. Places chosen as sites for media pilgrimage by French fans are heavily influenced by the ways in which the Japanese contents were first viewed and consumed in France, but there is little evidence of awareness of this in Japanese promotional materials aimed at French tourists.

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