From Matsuri to Anime Convention: The Experience of Festivals and Contents Tourism in Japan

Friday, July 18, 2014: 10:42 AM
Room: 423
Oral Presentation
Clothilde SABRE , Hokkaido University, Japan
For foreign tourists, festivals are mostly associated to cultural events that present a colorful and picturesque image of a different and exotic culture. This work is then an attempt to question new forms of tourism, in order to draw a parallel between festivals and other types of gathering that attract foreign visitors. This study is lying on the idea that tourism is made significant by a specific imaginary of the visited place. The travelers choose and comprehend their destination and its culture through the picture they have before and during the trip, a picture elaborated on various references. When enjoying festivals in a foreign country, tourists can see a concretization of their imaginary about the culture they discover, and sometimes, participating to the event, they feel immersed in that exotic universe.

The aim of this presentation is to show that this process is also at work in the case of contents tourism, when the travelers experience media pilgrimage (i.e visiting places with significance in media narratives, Couldry 2005), guided by a fantasy built on pop culture and media references. Taking the case of Japan, this comparative study intends to show the similarity between the experiences of traditional festivals and pop culture events. In addition to data collected among French tourists in Tokyo, fieldwork will be conduct during specific events in 2014. Then, some traditional matsuri will be compared to events like the Comic market in Tokyo or the Toyako Festa in Toyako (Hokkaido). The Sapporo snow festival, that mixes playful aspects of traditional festivals and pop cultural influences, will also be investigated. So, the analysis will question the structural similarity between these tourist experiences, in order to examine to what extend contents tourism renews cultural tourism