Okayama Prefecture appeals for more tourists and volunteers to visit with dance video

JIJI

Local people are calling, through a dance video, for more tourists and volunteers to travel to Okayama, one of the western Japan prefectures that sustained heavy damage in last month’s torrential rains.

The clip, the first in a planned series of videos designed to support the reconstruction of downpour-hit areas, features some 200 people dancing while singing the catchphrase, “C’mon baby Okayama!”

The video, released on YouTube on Aug. 9, was made by Setouchi Sunny Inc., an Internet broadcaster based in Takamatsu in neighboring Kagawa Prefecture.

At the beginning of the clip, Okayama Gov. Ryuta Ibaragi says, “The more people come, the more Okayama will be cheered up.”

Using a parody of Japanese hip-hop dance group Da Pump’s hit song “U.S.A.,” the clip shows local people and volunteers singing the altered lyrics and dancing to the chorus of the song.

The video was shot at tourist spots in the prefecture, including Okayama Korakuen Japanese garden in the city of Okayama and a scenic historical quarter in the city of Kurashiki, as well as at an evacuation shelter in Kurashiki’s Mabicho — a district severely damaged by the rain.

A similar video normally takes two months to complete. But Setouchi Sunny chief Ryushi Osaki, 29, completed the Okayama clip in around two weeks with the help of his acquaintances and others in the prefecture.

Osaki said he worked to make the clip available during the summer holiday season. He also said he wanted to prevent the memory of the disaster from fading away.

“I wanted to do something as I heard that the number of tourists was falling,” Osaki said. “I’d like to continue sending out information to bring in people.”