Okayama City, the administrative capital of Okayama Prefecture in western Japan has started trending online today after the city’s mayor, Takaya Shigeo (76) appeared in a spoof video uploaded to a spoof website [‘Sorry, this site is only for Japanese’] in which he announces that Okayama City is to be renamed as ‘Momotaro City’, with the motto, ‘Oshii! Momotaro City’. The mayor also appears to sprout horns during the press conference.
‘Momotaro’ or ‘Peach boy’ refers to an old Japanese fairy tale, in which an old couple find a peach floating in the river, from which a young boy emerges. Another version states that after each eating a piece of the fruit the old couple have their youth restored and a son is born to them, who they then call ‘Momotaro’. When he grows up, the boy fights the demons on Demon Island and saves the people from oppression. Though there are many variants of the tale, it appears to have originated in Okayama City.
While this bizarre approach to a tourism campaign has certainly attracted the attention of netizens from all over Japan, it has also been criticised for copying two other innovative tourism campaigns, namely Kagawa Prefecture’s renaming as ‘Udon Prefecture’, and the Hiroshima Prefectural motto.
The video, which is included below, has racked up hundreds of thousands of hits, and has been the most talked about story of the day, but most people are unsure as to what the new motto ‘Oshii! Momotaro City’ even means. The Japanese term is used is ‘おしい/oshii’, and netizens can only speculate as to what it actually refers to; if it is mimicking the Hiroshima slogan, then it means ‘almost there’. But all will be revealed on February 1.
Okayama City to become ‘Momotaro City’? Fictional Press Conference Held By Horned Mayor.
On a video uploaded to a specially-created website for the city, Mayor Takaya Shigeo announcing the name-change of Okayama City.
Possessed by a demon, has the mayor gone mad? On January 29, Okayama City released a video online on a specially-created website, which featured a fictional press conference where the Mayor Takaya Shigeo appeared with demon horns growing out of his head, announcing that the name of Okayama City was to be changed to ‘Momotaro City’, and that the city’s catchphrase would be ‘Oshii! Momotaro City!’
In fact, this was a trailer intended to attract attention to the start of a tourism campaign, saying that as far as details are concerned, ‘On February 1, the truth will be revealed’.
In the video, Mayor Takaya, sprouting two yellow horns, announces the name change at a fictional press conference. The content of the video has been called ‘rehashed’, reminding people of the tourism promotion of Kagawa Prefecture, which gained popularity through a video where the prefecture’s name was changed to ‘Udon Prefecture’. The Okayama City video also shows confused journalists.
In the above video, the mayor announces that the city’s name will be changed to ‘Momotaro City’, and that the city’s motto will become ‘Oshii! Momotaro City’. The final caption that appears on the screen reads, ‘What has happened to the Mayor?’
Comments from Twitter:
It probably is just a copy-cat attempt, but they’ve tried their best.
‘The truth will be revealed on February 1′ → don’t they mean ‘The truth will be revealed on April 1’?
Don’t they just think that they can just stick Momotaro onto anything? w
I’d like to go if they’d called it ‘Demon Island City’ w[Demon Island is where Momotaro goes to fight the demons].
This is a simple re-re-hashing, plus it’s not even funny. The agency have no taste 〜(>_<)RT @metakit: I guess these days it's only the government who can spend tax money that would go with this kind of presentation from an agency.
I support you fondly!!
Okayama City, the city that pinched Hiroshima’s ‘Oshii!’ and Kagawa’s ‘Udon Prefecture’.
So the fact that the mayor is a demon is pretty witty. Mayor, you’re going to get vanquished, so run away 〜 [Momotaro vanquished the demons].
What do they mean by ‘oshii!’?
They should do it (^o^) I’d like to try living in Momotaro City! (^ω^)
The mayor is cute!
Comments from 2ch.net:
Wah — Is this supposed to be funny? Just what I expect from that asphalt jungle, their sense for this kind of thing is off.
The Japanese nation is not the plaything of idiot mayors!
‘Oshii! Momotaroshi’ It’s not clear to me what they mean by ‘oshii’.
Why is the mayor a demon when it’s Momotaro City? Put on a Momotaro costume!
I’m from Okayama Prefecture, but no matter how hard we try we can’t beat the other prefectures for tourism, so please sell our fruit and local specialties in other prefectures. Grapes, and peaches, and persimmons and stuff.
Just what I’d expect from the Okayama metropolis. The fact that the mayor becomes a demon must mean that:
･The mayor is a demon who does evil things
･They mayor’s fate is to be vanquished by Momotaro.
But why is he transforming into a demon though? If he’s transforming into anything it should be Momotaro. If he transforms into a demon, then he should be renaming the city ‘Demon City’.
Come on, they can have fun sometimes. They’re not seriously saying they’re going to change the name or anything.
I’m Japanese, but this is weird. The story of Momotaro originated in Korea. I think they need to pay royalties to Korea.
This just came on the TV! At any rate, it seems that they’ve got permission from Kagawa and Hiroshim. Looks like they’re copying it on purpose www
Not cool. The legend of Momotaro is definitely not something that only belongs to Okayama, is it?