Articles tagged with: Atsuko Hashimoto

  • New summer course to explore anime tourism

    By | Reposted from the Brock News

    Colourful signs and billboards in Akihabara, Tokyo, Japan, show anime characters.

    Learn about how anime fans who flock to locations in Japan to celebrate their favourite films and characters are shaping a new form of tourism in TOUR 2P98 this summer.

    A new Brock course taking place this summer will dive into the phenomenon of tourism driven by anime fandom.

    “Anime Tourism,” offered asynchronously online by the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies as TOUR 2P98 in the Summer 2024 session, is open to students with five or more credits. No knowledge of Japanese language is required. Registration for the Spring and Summer Terms is now open.

    The course will examine anime culture, the development of anime tourism destinations and the impact of anime tourism. It will also explore the geography, history, culture and mythology of Japan.

    bronze statue of three Attack on Titan anime characters in Hita, Japan

    Professor of Geography and Tourism Studies Atsuko Hashimoto photographed this statue of characters from Attack on Titan in Hita, Japan.

    “I am interested in how anime tourism is contributing to the development or rejuvenation of communities,” says Professor of Geography and Tourism Studies Atsuko Hashimoto, who also plans to offer the course in the Fall/Winter session. “There are certain anime films which have specific towns or specific locations — the shrine, the forest or the part of the townscape — that are so precisely drawn that many people can actually identify the location and want to visit it.”

    Her research explores the trend of anime fans seeking out the physical locations of animated settings and travelling there to mimic favourite characters and take photos for social media, which she compares to similar pastimes like geocaching.

    Hashimoto says that when fans decide to travel to locations from their favourite anime, there can be both positive and negative social and economic effects, and the course will explore all of these dimensions.

    As an example, she points out that while much of the current anime tourism phenomenon is driven by Japanese fans, international visitors descending on a location that is unprepared to receive them with accommodation or translators can create problems.

    However, the economic benefits of anime tourism are motivating many local governments to devote resources — from new special divisions of government to YouTube channels showcasing towns — to attracting filmmakers and creating even more interest in their locations.

    “We can already see how the Japanese Government, local tourism marketing offices, businesses and even local people are taking advantage of this anime tourism phenomenon, even trying to be featured in anime films,” she says.

    Hashimoto says she is looking forward to discussing favourite anime examples with students and exploring how fans can help build a sustainable and responsible tourist industry around anime.

    Together with Professor of Geography and Tourism Studies David Telfer, Hashimoto recently presented a paper on anime tourism entitled “Fictive Places in the Real World: Anime Film Tourism and Regional Development in Japan” at the International Conference on Literary and Film Tourism in Barcelona, Spain. She will soon speak at an event hosted by the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto on the cultural significance of anime as a lead-in to a screening of the 2022 film Suzume (Suzume no Tojimari).

    Story reposted from the Brock News

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  • New book examines human rights issues in tourism

    After almost a year of travel restrictions and stay-at-home mandates, many Canadians are looking toward a future when they might visit distant locales once again.

    Atsuko Hashimoto, Associate Professor in Brock’s Department of Geography and Tourism Studies, hopes that before hopping on a plane, people might first consider how travel may impinge on the rights of others.

    To help readers understand the implications of tourism across a range of topics related to human rights, Hashimoto published Human Rights Issues in Tourismat the end of December, following a historical year for both the tourism industry and human rights worldwide.

    “When we started writing this book, no one could have foreseen all the changes that 2020 brought,” says Hashimoto. “We have seen many pro-democracy demonstrations and the rise of rights activism around the world, the number of asylum seekers increasing exponentially and a global pandemic that has, for the most part, stopped non-essential travel, or ‘taking a holiday,’ resulting in many people’s rights to work being severely compromised.”

    Human Rights Issues in Tourism is part of Routledge’s Tourism, Environment and Development Series.

    Co-authored with colleagues Elif Härkönen of Linkoping University in Sweden and Brock Political Science alumnus Edward Nkyi (MA ’11), the book covers a background of human rights issues related to tourism, from sustainable development goals to politics, before taking deeper dives into specific issues such as human security, displacement, discrimination, privacy, free movement, labour conditions, sex tourism, the environment and Indigenous rights.

    “I like the idea that tourism is a window to what is happening in society,” says Hashimoto. “Readers may be surprised to realize how our own behaviours are, without us noticing, hurting other people.”

    Hashimoto, whose research has long focused on the empowerment of women in rural communities and other disadvantaged groups, says it’s important to acknowledge the part tourists may play in the relationships that exist between globalization, tourism and human rights.

    “Can you imagine as an international tourist that the resort hotel you are staying in used to be a local fishing village?” she says. “The villagers were removed from the area so that the hotel could be built and local access to the beach is now denied. Almost everything in the resort hotel is imported from other countries, so local suppliers benefit very little — even the traditional Indigenous souvenirs sold in the hotel have been mass produced in another country and imported.”

    Hashimoto encourages potential tourists to think of any trip they plan as a visit to someone else’s home, determining if and how their visit will benefit local people and how their mode of transportation may contribute to climate change, another serious human rights issue examined in the book.

    “You are taking a vacation for relaxation and fun, but your enjoyment should not be a burden to others,” Hashimoto says.


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  • Professors visit high school students in Japan

    On June 19, 2018, Drs. Atsuko Hashimoto and David Telfer gave a lecture and workshop to Hokkai Gakuen Sapporo High School students in Japan on ‘Global Risks’. The students are in the Global Program and attend Brock University ESL for one month every year.

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