words mary von aue | images héctor garcía
What is a Tourism Ambassador you might ask? Nobody is sure, but the honor was bestowed upon Taylor Swift last year in a move that presumably made visitors to New York City feel more “welcomed.” Taking a page from New York, Japan has decided to name its own Tourism Ambassador and tapped another celebrity keen on ground breaking dance moves and dramatic entrances: Godzilla.
Finally, the same Godzilla that destroyed the Tokyo Tower is coming back to pulverize the rest of the nation with his wit and charm.
The angry looking (but probably just misunderstood) reptile mutation was appointed special resident and Tourism Ambassador for Shinjuku ward, AP reports. A towering 171-foot Godzilla head was unveiled at one of the offices of Toho, the Japanese film studio that gave us the classic 1954 film. After a decade long hiatus, Toho will be shooting another film this year, so today’s announcement will be sure to create more buzz for Godzilla’s cinematic return.
The move is part of a larger market-opening strategy launched by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe. The new Godzilla statue is already attracting tourists, but it’s uncertain if he’ll be visiting his old stomping grounds of Rainbow Bridge and the Parliament Building. The Tourism Ambassador was unavailable for a quote, but reps say he is eager to breathe new life (and fire!) into Japan's tourism industry.