National

Projection mapping a popular addition at weddings, other events

Kyodo

Projection mapping, in which images are mapped onto 3-D objects, has become a familiar technology, increasingly being used for everyday occasions like wedding ceremonies.

In Japan, projection mapping first drew huge attention in 2012 when an event dubbed Tokyo Station Vision was held to celebrate completion of work to restore the Tokyo Station building to its original appearance in 1914.

Since then, it has been used at public facilities including aquariums, shopping complexes, hotels and Tokyo Disneyland.

At a white arched wedding chapel set beside Lake Biwa in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, images such as sunlight on water and mountains with green forests are projected onto walls and windows.

Biwako Hotel has offered a projection mapping video service since June 2013 as it tries to set itself apart from rivals in the wedding industry, where competition has intensified amid the declining population.

Some 60 percent of couples tying the knot at the chapel request the service, and there has been much interest from outside the prefecture as well, according to the hotel.

During the service, a two-minute video that incorporates real scenery and computer graphics is displayed on columns, beams and other objects, making guests feel they are actually in the water.

The video starts shortly before the bride and groom enter the chapel.

“We definitely wanted to use this edgy technology,” said Chie Hirota, 29, of Takashima, Shiga Prefecture, whose wedding ceremony was held at the hotel in May.

“Our guests enjoyed it very much, saying they were quite excited,” she said. “It will become a memory for life.”

A toy based on the technology has also been launched.

Bandai Co.’s Hako Vision, a palm-size box available at a suggested retail price of ¥540, contains a model of the Tokyo Station building.

A 10-minute video can be projected on to it using a smartphone placed on top of the box.

Hyuma Mihara, a Bandai official who was inspired by Tokyo Hikari Vision, the Christmas version of Tokyo Station Vision, developed the toy in collaboration with the creators of the Tokyo Station event.

Mihara said that the toy, which comes with chewing gum, has become a huge hit and is popular with families.

Bandai, a unit of Bandai Namco Holdings Inc., has also released versions based on the Tokyo National Museum and “Mobile Suit Gundam,” the popular anime series.

The Gundam version is popular abroad and Bandai will continue to increase the lineup of the Hako Vision series, Mihara said.

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