• JAPAN IN FOCUS

‘Haikyu!!’ Characters Named to Help Promote Sendai

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Ayumu Murase, second from right, and others attend the unveiling ceremony of an illustration featuring Shoyo Hinata and Tobio Kageyama from “Haikyu!!” in Sendai on Aug. 19.

SENDAI — Shoyo Hinata and Tobio Kageyama, two characters from the popular volleyball manga “Haikyu!!,” have been named special envoys to promote Sendai.

“Haikyu!!,” which is about a volleyball team at Karasuno High School in Miyagi Prefecture, was serialized in Shueisha Inc.’s Weekly Shonen Jump manga magazine until July 2020. More than 55 million copies of the manga have been printed as of August 2022, according to the city. The manga has also been adapted into an anime series and movies.

The city introduced the idea of appointing manga and movie characters that have connections with Sendai as special tourism envoys earlier this fiscal year. Hinata and Kageyama were selected as the first special envoys and appointed on Aug. 19.

The date has been designated as “Haikyu!! no Hi!” (Haikyu!! Day) as a play on words. The number eight in Japanese can be read as “ha,” the number one can be read as “i” and nine can be read as “kyu.”

A black-and-white illustration, drawn specially by “Haikyu!!” author Haruichi Furudate, features the two characters. The art piece was unveiled to the public in a 2.64-meter high, 1.41-meter wide glass case in front of Kamei Arena Sendai, a location famous for its connection to the series, on the day.

Ayumu Murase and Kaito Ishikawa, who voice the characters of Hinata and Kageyama, attended the unveiling ceremony.