“Hello, foreigner, stay away,” may have been a more accurate theme than “Endless Discovery” for Japan’s latest attempt to attract tourists. While the Japan Tourism Agency was announcing its campaign last week, foreigners were being banned from one of the most popular attractions for Tokyo visitors — the Tsukiji fish market and its morning auction.
If that weren’t self-defeating enough, the music group “Arashi,” was hired on to attract Korean and Chinese tourists because, well, we’re not sure. It is a pretty good guess that Koreans and Chinese visit Japan for reasons other than this is where these guys live. As for the slogan, “Endless Discovery,” it was quickly ridiculed by many in foreign community: Endless Discovery that your Japanese lessons were a waste of money and time; endless discovery that you’re doing the wrong thing; endless discovery that you’re lost, and so on.
Our free advice: 1) Read “Nation Branding” by Keith Dennie; 2) Support negotiations with Western TV to rebroadcast the Japanese travel programs that are shown regularly on the major Japanese channels. This worked really well with the Western rebroadcasts of Takeshi-jo and Sasuke, generating a lot of interest in Japan.