Anime and manga are set to play a bigger role in promoting tourism across Japan under an initiative launched Friday to make better use of the nation's pop culture.

Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, vice president of the Anime Tourism Association and the chairman of publisher Kadokawa Corp., said increasing global recognition of both art forms meant they are "what Japan needs to take advantage of to drive its economy."

"It is impressive that the presence of Japan's pop culture in the world has grown into something that can be on par with Hollywood," Kadokawa said, citing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's performance at the closing ceremony of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August, where he appeared on stage in a Super Mario costume.