Nerima Civic Life Office Industry Economy Chamber Tourism Division
Nerima-City has a deep connection with anime industries such as its accommodating TOEI ANIMATION CO., LTD. (now TOEI ANIMATION CO., LTD.) which produced Japan's first long-story colored animation film. Today, more than 90 anime producers concentrate in the City. We interviewed Norihisa Sawada, an assistant manager of the animation industry promotion desk within the Nerima Civic Life Office Industry Economy Chamber Tourism Division, who is in charge of advertising Nerima as an anime city in various ways.
We have been working on an accumulating/ vitalizing plan during from fiscal 2009 to fiscal 2014 for anime industries living together with our region on the back of City’s deep commitment with the industries. This plan has actually 2 parts, for the first 3 years and next 3 years, and the first plan ended successfully as was initially intended.
The plan aims not only to achieve an ambitious target of industry accumulation but also to have people feel love and pride with Nerima like “Wow, Nerima is cool!” through big anime events and PRs using a character introduced later. In fact, the plan has successfully raised recognition of “animation town Nerima” from 24.5% of the city residents in 2006 to 58.3% in 2012.
Let us introduce our efforts to have our anime industries extend to global markets. Domestic anime markets will soon be saturated due mainly to declining birthrates. We believe Japan’s anime industries ultimately need extending to global markets in the future as they have already been highly evaluated internationally.
Given this, we encourage challengers to exhibit at international trade fairs via the "Nerima Animation Council" organized with 52 anime-related companies. We have assisted exhibitors to the Annecy International Animation Trade Fair held at the City every June and the Tokyo International Anime Fair held every March.
The exhibitions to these fairs triggered communications with a visual-related council based in Quebec, Canada, leading to visible achievements such as Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) being signed.
We are also trying to attract anime production companies to the City. In FY11, the first company moved to the City and joined the Nerima Animation Council thanks to our wide range of preparations. Again in FY12, another company was successfully attracted.
Just one company joining to the City can change many local companies including subcontract structures. This means small/ medium-sized companies also feel at least some spillover effects. We will continue to attract companies, which we hope will vitalize City’s anime industries and induce some spillover/economic impacts.
The official anime character, Neri Maru, has been significantly helping PRs for anime town Nerima. The character was created with the combined image of a Nerima Daikon (radish) and a "horse", a part of City name, calling himself “Hero”.
A short animation is published once every 2 months and also viewed on YouTube. It tweets on Twitter and the costumed character joins various events.
Meanwhile, a wide variety of its character goods including hit product Neri Maru clear files, can badges and plushie cellphone straps are on sale at a Nerima tourist office located on the first basement level of Nerima Station.
Penetration of Neri Maru is going beyond the City or Tokyo to nationwide as it was ranked at 110 out of 865 characters contesting the "Yuru-Chara ® Grand Prix 2012".
*Note: Neri Maru is the official anime character of Nerima City.
(Japan Animation Birthplace, Nerima City)
Address: 6-12-1, Toyotamakita, Nerima-ku, Tokyo
Phone: +81-3-5984-1276 (Animation Industry Promotion Clerk)