Utilizing Popular Characters for Regional Growth

Utilizing Popular Characters for Regional Growth

The ability to stimulate regional economies and cultures is the unifying force behind games with historical themes. Among these, Sengoku BASARA was responsible for igniting a renewed interest in history, and continues to be popular among young people, from teenagers to people in their 30s. In this way, game content popular among the young people expected to lead this regional growth can become a trigger for local revitalization.

Utilizing these strengths, in recent years Capcom has focused CSR activities on regional municipalities. For example, leveraging the extraordinarily high visibility of Sengoku BASARA, Capcom supports regional growth from four angles: economic development, cultural promotion, public safety and participation in elections.

Efforts including gubernatorial election posters targeting young people, vehicle-related theft prevention posters and collaborations with museums to increase attendance are already demonstrating results. The following section introduces examples of Capcom initiatives aimed at regional growth.

The Appeal of Sengoku BASARA The Appeal of Sengoku BASARA

Image: Sanada Yukimura and Date Masamune

Sengoku BAsara logo

While this action game for home video game consoles is based around the warlords and historical facts of the Warring States (Sengoku) Period, its fresh, unique take on this theme proved popular and ignited interest in history nationwide; in total, the series has sold 3.8 million units.

Initiatives Across Japan Initiatives Across Japan

Diagram: Initiatives Across Japan

Support for Economic Development

Capcom uses Sengoku BASARA characters, which are extremely popular with young men and women, to increase tourist numbers and sales of tie-in merchandise at events. By appealing to the youth and family demographics in particular, we have realized significant economic results.

ExampleHamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, October 2016

Popular Sengoku BASARA Warlords
Ii Naotora and Tokugawa Ieyasu Contribute to the Revitalization of Hamamatsu City

Capcom released an app that utilizes Sengoku BASARA characters, and features stamp rally and guide map functions that guide users around 30 historic and tourist destinations in Hamamatsu. Capcom further contributed to Hamamatsu’s tourism programs by wrapping a train on the Tenryu Hamanako Line with Sengoku BASARA characters (dubbed the “Naotora Gou”), as well as with life-sized stickers of Ii Naotora featured on the “Red Train” of the Enshu Railroad—both limited—time activities taking place from October 2016 through December 2017.

Example 2Ueda, Nagano Prefecture, March 2017

Sengoku BASARA‘s Sanada Yukimura Struts His Stuff at Historic Sanada Clan Sites

Sengoku BASARA‘s Sanada Yukimura is helping to bolster local revitalization efforts as the city of Ueda’s mascot. Since 2010, Capcom and the Ueda Chamber of Commerce and Industry have collaborated on a number of events and products, bolstering the city’s tourism and overall image. These efforts lead Ueda CCI chairman Mr. Yanagisawa to honor Capcom with a Certificate of Appreciation on March 10, 2017.

Message from the Ueda CCI Chairman

Image:Sengoku BASARA's Sanada Yukimura Struts His Stuff at Historic Sanada Clan Sites

上Message from the Ueda CCI Chairman

Example 3Wakayama Prefecture, August 2016

Sengoku BASARA Character Used in Wakayama Prefecture Tourism Promotion Campaign

logoThe Taiga Drama Sanada Maru/Sanada Yukimura & Sengoku Wakayama Promotional Campaign Association used a character from Sengoku BASARA Sanada Yukimura-den, the latest title in the series, as a campaign character. A stamp rally was conducted around historic Sanada-related areas and the game character appeared on a pamphlet providing Wakayama Prefecture sightseeing and gourmet dining information, bringing a sense of excitement to Wakayama Prefecture tourism measures.

Image: Sengoku BASARA Character Used in Wakayama Prefecture Tourism Promotion Campaign


Example 4Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture, March 2015

Conclusion of a Comprehensive Partnership Agreement with a Regional Municipality, a Game Industry First

Using costumed Sengoku BASARA characters including Takeda Shingen, these activities began with a stamp rally and the distribution of premium merchandise gift vouchers in support of tourism promotion activities leading to local revitalization. Looking ahead to 2019, when Kofu celebrates 500 years since its establishment, we plan to utilize local hero Takeda Shingen to expand these measures and generate buzz that attracts people from all over Japan.

See “Message from the Mayor of Kofu “

Images: Conclusion of a Comprehensive Partnership Agreement with a Regional Municipality, a Game Industry First

See “Message from the Mayor of Kofu “

Support for Cultural Promotion

Capcom co-sponsors events at museums to increase the number of visitors and support historical and cultural enlightenment. These activities aim to provide young people with opportunities to learn about local history and culture through their interest in Sengoku BASARA characters.

Example 5Saitama Prefecture, July–August 2015

Special Museum Exhibit at the Saitama Prefectural Museum of History and Folklore

Inspired by interest in the game characters, a special exhibit titled Sengoku Guide—Cool Basara Style was held at the Saitama Prefectural Museum of History and Folklore to teach young people about the history of Saitama from July 18 to August 30, 2015. The display, which featured arms, armor, helmets and ink paintings, attracted nearly 14,000 people, more than twice as many as any other exhibition project in the past.

Image:  Poster "Sengoku Guide — Cool Basara Style —"

Example 6Tsuchiura, Ibaraki Prefecture, March 2013

Collaboration with Tsuchiura City
Museum Draws 28,000 People

Capcom co-sponsored The BASARA’s Armory: The Armor and Blades of Busho Who Tore Across Sengoku special exhibition held at the Tsuchiura City Museum in Ibaraki Prefecture. The exhibit featured Sengoku BASARA character illustrations and panels that drew a wide range of age groups to the museum. During the seven-week special exhibit, 28,000 people, equivalent to an entire year’s worth of visitors, attended the exhibit, the first achievement of this magnitude for the museum.

Image:Tsuchiura Poster

Support for Public Safety

Capcom supports the maintenance and improvement of local public safety in conjunction with police departments by holding events and creating posters to raise awareness featuring warlords from Sengoku BASARA who are associated with each prefecture. These efforts have yielded quantitative results with respect to the reduction of crime.

Example 7Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, February 2014

Using Three Capcom Characters to Prevent Vehicle-Related Theft and Other Crime in the Keihanshin Area

The Sengoku BASARA characters Sanada Yukimura, Keiji Maeda and Kuroda Kanbei, associated with Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo Prefectures, were used as mascots in a joint-campaign aimed at preventing vehicle-related theft and other crime in these areas. In addition to displaying awareness posters, 25,000 leaflets were distributed by police departments and auto parts retailers as part of a broad promotion aimed at reducing crime in these three Kinki region prefectures.

Images: Using Three Capcom Characters to Prevent Vehicle-Related Theft and Other Crime in the Keihanshin Area

Example 8Osaka, April 2013

First Use of Date Masamune in an Osaka Police Department Vehicle-Related Theft Prevention Awareness Poster

Date Masamune, a character appearing in Sengoku BASARA, was the first mascot utilized for the Osaka Police Department vehicle-related theft prevention campaign. Vehicle-related crimes are common in Osaka, which in 2012 had the highest incidence of vehicle-related thefts in Japan and has since remained at a high level. Amid these conditions, Capcom contributed to police department public relations awareness activities through the use of characters popular with young people that were displayed on posters and distributed on leaflets.

Image:First Use of Date Masamune in an Osaka Police Department Vehicle-Related Theft Prevention Awareness Poster

Support for Participation in Elections

Capcom supports awareness of elections and increased rates of youth participation in voting through the creation of awareness posters and events held in conjunction with election committees making use of local hero characters that appear in Sengoku BASARA.

Example 9Kochi Prefecture, November 2015

Promoting Gubernatorial Elections with a Mascot Based on Local Hero Chosokabe Motochika

A character based on local hero Chosokabe Motochika was used in an attempt to increase voter turnout and stimulate interest among young people, who have little interest in elections, in the Kochi Prefecture gubernatorial elections held in November 2015. A variety of media, including posters displayed throughout the prefecture, television commercials, radio and newspaper advertisements and streetcars wrapped in promotional materials were used to announce the elections, which resulted in significant buzz being generated on social media, mainly Twitter and Facebook.

Image: Promoting Gubernatorial Elections with a Mascot Based on Local Hero Chosokabe Motochika

Example 10Miyagi Prefecture, October 2009

Promoting Gubernatorial Elections with Overwhelmingly Popular Mascot Date Masamune

Aiming to raise the voter participation rate among young people and spread awareness of Miyagi Prefecture gubernatorial elections, Date Masamune, a well-known feudal lord from the Sengoku Period and overwhelmingly popular Sengoku BASARA game character, was chosen as the election awareness mascot. In addition to election posters displayed throughout the prefecture, multimedia including television commercials and public transit ads were vigorously employed in a broad appeal that resulted in raising the voter participation rate 6.2 percentage points.

Image: Promoting Gubernatorial Elections with Overwhelmingly Popular Mascot Date Masamune

Message from the Ueda CCI Chairman

Sengoku BASARA Essential in Attracting
Young Visitors to Bolster Ueda’s Tourism

Kenichiro Yanagisawa
Chairman of the Ueda Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Since 2010, we have worked with Capcom to revitalize Ueno’s tourism, utilizing the Sengoku BASARA character Sanada Yukimura.

We’ve been able to attract Sengoku BASARA fans from all over Japan to Ueda with activities that even have received newspaper coverage. These activities included selling both local craft beer and “Shinshu Sanada Yukimura Gassenki Apple Cookies” (made with Nagano’s own, famous apples), as well as running the train “Sengoku BASARA Sanada Yukimura Gou,” featuring a train wrap done in a Sanada Yukimura motif.

On top of a national Sanada trend in 2016, which saw the NHK Taiga television drama Sanada Maru and the movie Sanada 10 Braves, it was a boom year for historic sites related to the Sanada clan. As such, we appealed to tourists with events such as the Sengoku BASARA Sanada Yukimura-den Special Exhibition and a live discussion with Hiroyuki Kobayashi and Soichiro Hoshi (the Sengoku BASARA series producer and the actor who voiced Sanada Yukimura in the games, respectively). From as far north as Hokkaido and as far south as Shikoku, droves of primarily young Sengoku BASARA fans visited—with women lined up for such events from as early as six in the morning.

We also held a special stamp-collecting event, where participants received red stamps at locations set up by Ueda City Hall, with the goal of filling up original stamp collection books. By setting up capsule toy sales at these locations, Sengoku BASARA fans from all over Japan came to Ueda. More than ten thousand participants visited three event locations, and more than five thousand participants visited all six. We recorded 17 thousand unit sales for the capsule toys, a feat that once again communicated to me the appeal of Sengoku BASARA.

It is with gratitude for our work together that I presented Capcom with a Certificate of Appreciation today.

Message from the Mayor of Kofu

I Feel a Definite Response, with an Influx of New Visitors in Addition to Traditional Tourists

Yuichi Higuchi
Mayor of Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture

Kofu was established as a castle town in 1519 under the rule of Takeda Nobutora, the father of Takeda Shingen. After the Warring States Period, during which the Takeda clan was very active, Ko-Edo culture flourished during the Edo Period and with the promotion of new industries in the Meiji Period, Kofu culture blossomed. In 2019, we celebrate 500 years since the establishment of Kofu, then two years after that, the 500th anniversary of the birth of Takeda Shingen, then in 2027, the Linear Chuo Shinkansen will commence operations.

I am aware that my mission is to prepare a foundation for the creation of Kofu’s bright future through further developments going forward. I believe it is important to enhance the visibility of Kofu and ensure that people understand the city’s appeal, as well as to provide people who will raise the next generation of children with a sense of what Kofu has to offer. Thus, we must engage in measures aimed at encouraging people to relocate here.

As part of these activities, we have concluded a comprehensive partnership agreement for local revitalization with Capcom.

Since 2015, we have been engaged in three major projects: the KOFU SAMURAI Wi-Fi & Sengoku BASARA Stamp Rally (approximately 6,500 participants), the KOFU & Sengoku BASARA Warring States Treasure Hunt Game (approximately 2,000 participants) and the tourism PR website “Master Shingen Returns!”

The events attracted a large number of people, from young women with a strong interest in history and families with small children, to foreign tourists from England who learned of the event online and other new visitors in addition to traditional tourists. The special website received over 70,000 page views in March 2016 alone. All of these results were better than anticipated, which made me once again realize the power of popular games.

From the natural wonders of Shosenkyo Gorge, to wine, jewelry and other specialty products representing Japan and historical resources dating from Master Shingen to the present, everyone who visits Kofu will feel its rich charm.

In particular, Takeda Shingen is an important tourism resource and the pride of Kofu. Even today he is loved by local residents as the region’s hero. At last year’s event, his armor-clad figure issued orders and Kofu was introduced through a dialogue with Master Shingen on our official website, among other PR efforts I myself lead personally. Going forward, in addition to the partnership agreement centered on the promotion of tourism currently under development, we will attempt to cooperate with the activities of other cities, which I believe will lead to revitalization of the region.

“Master Shingen Returns!” Kofu City Official Site (external link)

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