Mutual Images 8th International Workshop

Ryukoku University



 5-8 June 2020

Pilgrimages are a phenomenon as old as humanity with relevant consequences in the social, economic and cultural lives of countries and regions. On an individual level, there are many motivations behind the pilgrim experience where identity aspects such as religious affiliation, spiritual beliefs, tradition or mere curiosity play an important role. In recent years, the cultural industries and tourism industries have also developed sophisticated strategies in order to reach new audiences and gain market share. Content producers have obtained the sponsorship of national agencies in order to develop their products as a way of reinforcing National Branding. National agencies focused on tourism and development have found that representations of cultural heritage through fictional media positively impacts tourism through these Media Pilgrimages (also referred to as Content Tourism or Media Tourism), and media representations become a relevant tool for regional development. 

The aim of the symposium was born from two ideas which correspond with relevant pillars of modern East Asian economies but also to many post-industrial societies. The first is the common cultural background of East Asian countries like Japan, Korea or China. These commonalities have made possible the rise of economic and cultural transnational flows which include as a main vortex pilgrimage destinations. The second, corresponding to a more contemporary shared meaning, is the consequence of the relevance of creative and cultural industries and their influence on the collective global imagination.

With this purpose, graduate students, scholars, independent researchers, and industry practitioners are invited to submit papers and presentations for this workshop. Contributions on the following topics or related areas will be specially considered:

  • Popular Culture and Contents Industries as vehicles for self-representation (manga, anime, games, pop music, film, tv series and more)

  • Interaction, Overlap and Competition between Cultural Heritage and Popular Culture appeal

  • Religion, spirituality, and superstition: temples, shrines, religious figures, animism, yokai and fox spirits

  • Political Communication and Media Culture. The “popular” response to social or natural crises (natural disasters, political transitions, etc)

  • Contents and institutional strategies such as “Soft Power”, from Japan but also other from East Asian Cultures

  • Assessing the concrete (economical, political, cultural) value derived from the international and national markets. Differences in strategies for appealing to each of these audiences.

  • The role of destination image and national branding in impacting tourists’ perception and attitudes toward a culture or nation. Positive (emotional bonds, affect, popularization…)  and negative effects (stereotyping, infantilization...) of the creation and dissemination of these images. 

  • Fictionality vs ‘authenticity’: finding manga, anime, and game settings

  • Media consumption and cultural exchange

  • Media representations and national stereotypes in Japan and other East Asian Cultures in relation to cultural and religious tourism

  • Games and Big Narratives i.e. Pokémon Go for the world traveler: seeking nests all over Asia

  • Comparing media contents tourism among East Asian markets or with other countries

  • The relationship between pop-culture, new media, globalization and tourism trends


We are delighted to confirm that Dr Craig Norris (University of Tasmania) and Dr Eriko Kawanishi (Kyoto University) will be keynote speakers for the Workshop.


Indicative Bibliography about this topic could include


  • Anholt, Simon. "Beyond the Nation Brand: The Role of Image and Identity in International Relations." Exchange: The Journal of Public Diplomacy, vol. 2, no. 1, 2013, pp. 6-12.

  • Crouch, David et al. "Introduction: The Media and the Tourist Imagination." The Media and the Tourist Imagination: Converging Cultures, edited by David Crouch et al., Routledge, 2005, pp. 1-13.

  • Hernández-Pérez, Manuel. "Thinking of Spain in a Flat Way’: Spanish Tangible and Intangible Heritage through Contemporary Japanese Anime." Mutual Images, vol. 3, 2017, pp. 43-69.

  • Kawanishi, Eriko. "Two Types of Japanese Pilgrimage to Britain " EASA2018: Staying, Moving, Settling, 2018. 

  • Norris, Craig. "A Japanese Media Pilgrimage to a Tasmanian Bakery." 1, vol. 14, 2013, doi:10.3983/twc.2013.0470.

  • Okamoto, Takeshi. "Otaku Tourism and the Anime Pilgrimage Phenomenon in Japan." Japan Forum, vol. 27, no. 1, 2015, pp. 12--36, doi:10.1080/09555803.2014.962565.

  • Okamoto, Ryosuke (Iwabuchi Deborah & Enda Kazuko transl.) Pilgrimages in the Secular Age: From El Camino to Anime. Tokyo: Japan Library, 2019

  • Sabre, Clothilde. "French Anime and Manga Fans in Japan : Pop Culture Tourism, Media Pilgrimage, Imaginary." International Journal of Contents Tourism, no. 1, 2017, pp. 1-19.

  • Seaton, Philip and Takayoshi Yamamura. "Japanese Popular Culture and Contents Tourism – Introduction." Japan Forum, vol. 27, no. 1, 2015, pp. 1--11, doi:10.1080/09555803.2014.962564.

  • Yamamura, Takayoshi. "Anime Pilgrimage and Local Tourism Promotion: An Experience of Washimiya Town, the Sacred Place for Anime "Lucky Star" Fans." Journal of Tourism and Cultural Studies, no. 14, 2009, pp. 1-9.


More suggestions in relation to these contents or different discussion boards related to these topics, will be welcome.



Proposals can be sent employing the submission form below, before the 

30th November 2019

***NEW DEADLINE ***** 30th January 2020

Questions about the event can be directly addressed to the Organising Committee at 


Organising Committee: 

  • Dr Manuel Hernandez-Perez

School of The Arts, University of Hull


  • Dr Aurore Yamagata-Montoya

Mutual Images Research Association

  • Prof Jessica Bauwens-Sugimoto

School of International Studies, Ryukoku University, Kyoto

Submission form