Oita: Small town launches promotion ‘attack’ to boost ‘titanic’ home

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Statues near the Oyama Dam.

HITA, Oita — A museum celebrating the megahit manga series “Shingeki no Kyojin” (Attack on Titan) opened its doors on March 27 at a roadside rest area in Hita, Oita Prefecture.

Located in the town of Oyamamachi, the hometown of the manga’s author Hajime Isayama, the Shingeki no Kyojin in Hita museum was opened as part of an initiative to revitalize the area. Prior to the museum’s opening, the about 170-square-meter space was a restaurant at the Michi no Eki roadside rest area.

About 150 items, including works from Isayama’s childhood and original illustrations from the “Attack on Titan” series, are on exhibit. Visitors can also catch a glimpse of an area re-created to resemble his Tokyo workspace. Admission is free and visitors can take photos as they please.

“The exhibits are huge and meticulously displayed. I think even people who aren’t fans of the manga will enjoy themselves here,” said a visitor from Fukuoka.

Area revitalization endeavors themed around the manga series aren’t just taking place at the museum.

Last autumn, a group of citizens operating under the name “Hita’s Shingeki revitalization committee” used funds raised through crowdfunding efforts that began in the summer of 2019 to install statues of the manga’s main characters in a plaza located directly below the Oyama Dam.

The statues, which range from 138 to 145 centimeters in height, depict protagonist Eren and his friends Mikasa and Armin in their youth.

The 94-meter-high dam evokes of a huge wall in a scene from the manga’s beginning, in which the three are rendered speechless at the Titans bursting through a protective wall around a human settlement in their first attack.

It is one of several augmented-reality photo-op areas, where different Titans will appear to those with an exclusive augmented reality app installed on their smartphones.

In March, a 2.3-meter-tall bronze statue of another popular character, Captain Levi, was installed just outside of JR Hita Station. One of the story’s most beloved characters, Levi is claimed by some to be humanity’s strongest soldier. The statue depicts him wielding two swords and striking a cool pose.

It has been recommended that visitors come and see the museum after first getting a look at both featured statue areas and the AR photo op spots.

“We want to boost Hita to the highest level through both the manga’s appeal and the energy of the fans,” said Sotaro Oda, head of the revitalization committee.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A monument of a Titan welcomes visitors at the entrance of the Shingeki no Kyojin museum in Hita, Oita Prefecture.