J.K. Rowling, author of the fantasy series “Harry Potter,” has let muggles in on a big secret — there is a hidden magic school in Japan.
Rowling revealed the Japanese version of Hogwarts on her Pottermore website Friday, along with schools in North America, Brazil and Africa. In the “Harry Potter” universe, there are now 11 institutions worldwide where young wizards and witches secretly learn how to use magic.
The Japanese school, named Mahoutokoro (Place of Magic), is described as situated on the highest point of the volcanic island of Minami Iwo Jima, or Minami Iwoto, as it is known in Japan. According to Rowling’s essay, Mahoutokoro is famous for its academic prowess and strong record in Quidditch, a sport in which players must fly on broomsticks and dodge flying balls.
The school has unique traits that distinguish it from the others, including robes that change color depending on the wearer’s knowledge — pink for beginners, gold for students with good test scores, and white to reveal those practicing dark magic.
Rowling even makes an oblique reference to the Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military by writing that Quidditch players have to be careful when flying because of “planes from the muggle air base on a neighboring island,” perhaps referencing the joint-use airstrip on Iwoto.
The announcement is sure to please Japan’s large “Harry Potter” fan base, which includes the millions who have visited Universal Studios Japan theme park and its Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction. The first “Harry Potter” film, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” is one of the top grossing films in Japanese box office history.
The announcement of the new schools was accompanied by new Twitter accounts and is most likely designed to whet appetites for the upcoming movie “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” a film based on the “Harry Potter” universe and set in the United States with a script penned by Rowling herself.
While the schools in Japan, Brazil and Africa all have back stories, the page for the North American institution simply states “Coming soon . . .” meaning fans may have to wait until the film’s release in November to find out.
Several outlets set Twitter abuzz with the news. Many fans also posted art using the Mahoutokoro hashtag to suggest what the Japanese school’s uniforms should look like.
The story became one of the top trending articles on the Niconico website, drawing hundreds of comments of surprise, such as “No way!” and “I wish I could’ve gone to this school.”
One person wrote, “It looks like ‘Harry Potter’ fans will be coming to Minami Iwo Jima,” while another asked “Huh, did I graduate from this school?”