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Japan: A feminist tried to create a controversy about Onsen Musume, without success

Onsen Musume (温泉 む す め) is a Japanese multimedia project featuring anime themed characters onsen (thermal waters). The characters are then anthropomorphic versions of these establishments and star in different media such as anime, manga and video games. The project started in November 2016, accompanied by a music video produced by the studios Doga kobo in 2017.

But today, four years after the debut of this multimedia project that has also boosted the industry of this type of establishment, what brings us together is not something related to its achievements, but an attempt to stain them. Yumeno Nito, representative of the Tsubomi Cafe (an organization that uses buses that act as cafeterias but also as shelters for women who feel in danger), posted an update about it:

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«On a business trip, I saw a panel on “Onsen Musume” and wondered why they had put something like that. I have investigated it and it is horrible. Female characters with raised skirts, in sensual and daring poses, with appearances of underage students and drinking alcohol, characters of “curative medicine”, underage students who yearn to be “sensual adult women”, and so on. This is all sexist and sexual exploitation“, wrote.

Fortunately, his attempt to boycott the project was not only unsuccessful, but he rallied supporters to defend it by writing about their positive experiences, while the managers of the hot springs establishments attached to the project pointing out the positive results it has brought to the business in general. .

  • «Two and a half years ago Mahiro Iizaka, a girl from “Onsen Musume”, arrived at Iizaka Onsen… The community has regained its pride, we have grown as a team and with the support of our fans we are going to overcome this COVID-19 pandemic».
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  • «Interest in going to the hot springs has definitely increased».
  • «In 2018 and 2019 they had the “Onsen Musume” app that allowed taking photos with altered reality (AR). I would love for them to do it again, it was awesome».
  • «61 facilities from 14 thermal centers cooperated in the concentration of stamps to promote the Shinmai Onsen Musume. Many fans surprised the management with a winter tour of the Tohoku region. Both the character and the voice actress were named Yonezawa tourism ambassadors, and Natsumi Murakami gave us a message of encouragement for the COVID-19 pandemic.».
  • «I don’t want to post updates in defense of Onsen Musume. The more responses that are generated, the more attention the person who started it all will have. But if we don’t say anything that this is “in defense,” then it won’t spread. I will just tell you some facts».
  • «Onogawa Komachi is an Onsen Musume (hot spring) that was born from a hot spring establishment. The scenario on the Onogawa Komachi model was discussed, and the establishment agreed. There was also a woman present at the meeting. Thanks to the success of the character, the city now has a poster, each store has its own merchandise, and the fun of walking around the city has increased!».

Synopsis of Onsen Musume

The Onsen Musume that inhabit places throughout Japan are deities that were born when water began to gush from hot springs. Its appearance does not differ from that of a human being. Most days they attend the Onsen Musume Normal School on the island of Odaiba, where they study “Onsenology”, the science of hot springs. They live in ryokan (traditional Japanese-style inns) in their hometowns. After classes and on days off, they help out at the ryokan, as well as at places like tourist information centers in hot springs.

To create excitement in hot springs across Japan that (in the history of the Onsen Musume) have begun to see the number of tourists decline, the Onsen Musume are instructed by Sukunahiko, the highest-ranking thermal deity, to work as idols ( a type of song and dance artist that is popular in Japan). This makes the Onsen Musume form different groups and spread their hot springs through songs, dances and sometimes other extracurricular activities.

Source: Yaraon!

© 温泉 む す め / Enbound, Inc.

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