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Ibaraki town’s tank attracts tourists

July 25, 2013 Destination North Asia No Comments Email Email

The town of Oarai, Ibaraki Prefecture, has adopted an unusual symbol to attract visitors: a Ground Self-Defense Force tank.

Oarai is the setting of the popular TV anime series “GIRLS und PANZER” in which high school girls learn “senshado,” a fictitious popular martial art that uses tanks as its main weapon, at Oarai Joshi Gakuen girls’ high school, a fictional school in the Ibaraki Prefecture town. Many tanks appear in the series, in which various facilities and streets of the town are precisely re-created.

The series is popularly called “Garupan” (a portmanteau combining “girls” and “panzer”) by its fans.

During a recent seasonal beach-opening festival, the town displayed a real state-of-the-art GSDF tank with the cooperation of the GSDF.

Events were held during the three-day festival, which began on July 13, with the participation of GSDF equipment and personnel. The town’s efforts to attract sightseers, whose numbers fell after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, harmonized with the GSDF’s wish to promote the significance of GSDF tanks in the nation’s defense among the public.

Edited by : Bill Hurley

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