‘Anne of Green Gables’ NHK drama steers tourists to Canada’s Prince Edward Island

JIJI

The number of Japanese tourists to Canada’s Prince Edward Island has doubled this year thanks to a hit TV drama about the first Japanese translator of Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery’s novel “Anne of Green Gables,” which is set on the island.

The novel’s translation by Hanako Muraoka has caused the number of published copies to surge more than five times this year.

From late March to September, the TV drama “Hanako to Anne” (“Hanako and Anne”), was broadcast daily, excluding Sundays, by NHK.

Featuring Yuriko Yoshitaka, the show recorded a viewer rating of 22.6 percent on average in the Kanto region.

Prince Edward Island, off Canada’s east coast, has tourist attractions such as the house that served as the model for the Green Gables farmhouse where the young orphan Anne Shirley was sent, and the home where Montgomery was raised.

According to the Canadian Tourism Commission, Japanese visitors booked 6,706 rooms in hotels and other accommodations between January and September, up 117 percent year on year and the highest number for the period in the past decade. In June, the figure climbed to a monthly record of 2,548 rooms.

With more and more Japanese now familiar with the island, an official from the tourism commission said the number is not expected to fall steeply next year.

The TV drama has also sparked renewed interest in publications.

Shinchosha Publishing Co. has issued Japanese translations of 11 works in the series, ranging from “Anne of Green Gables” to “The Blythes Are Quoted.”

In February, before the TV drama went on the air, the company started putting advertising strips for it on its books. It has since printed 444,000 copies.

“Anne of Green Gables,” the most well-known book in the series, has seen 156,000 copies published so far in the current fiscal year, compared with 28,000 copies for all of fiscal 2013. Sales were particularly brisk around the start and end of the TV drama, according to Shinchosha.

“The serial, which was broadcast nationally almost every day, had a significant impact,” a spokesman for the publisher said.