2016-2-17

Gunma Image Enhancement Promotion Office

Gunma Prefecture to Release Promotional Video “GNN GUNMA News Network”

GUNMA, Japan, Feb. 17, 2016 /Kyodo JBN/ –

Gunma Image Enhancement Promotion Office,
Public Relations Section, General Affairs Division, Gunma Prefecture

Gunma Prefecture to Release Promotional Video "GNN GUNMA News Network" Featuring Uniquely Japanese ‘Beating of Hot Spring Water’ and ‘Hot Water Field’

– Story Set at Kusatsu Onsen hot spring in Japan about Foreign Student Encountering Allures of Gunma Prefecture –

Gunma Prefecture is producing promotional videos in order to deliver its appeals to audiences in Japan and abroad. As Part Four of a Five-Part Series, "Foreign Student YouTuber Rita Visits Gunma, the Land of Bossy Wives: Hot Spring Episode in Kusatsu" will go up on the "GNN GUNMA News Network" on our official website (http://www.pref.gunma.jp/01/b2101106.html), YouTube (Commercial: https://youtu.be/-RYE1a0XPcQ, Short film: https://youtu.be/kJinntgHrj4), and other sources on February 16.

The story in this promotional video series begins with Rita, a foreign student and YouTuber who launches the GNN GUNMA News Network website to provide an introduction to Gunma Prefecture, Japan, where she visits for her studies. At the World Heritage Site Tomioka Silk Mill (*1), hot spring areas such as Kusatsu Onsen (*2), and the Shimonita leek field that she visits for her video, Rita sees the strong, powerful women of Gunma at work. Through her encounters with the various appeals of the prefecture, Rita gradually gains an understanding of the true meaning of "bossy wives", a "hard-working and unwavering" characteristic of theirs that is the pride of Gunma.

With sericulture as a bustling trade since ancient times, women in Gunma Prefecture have always been extremely hard workers, busy with their silk worm farming and their regular farming activities while also taking care of their housework in between, and it is said that the term "bossy wives" originated in comments made by husbands who boasted that their women were the best wives around. "Kakaa tenka: Gunma’s Silk Story" became the first to be designated a Japan Heritage (*3) story by the Agency for Cultural Affairs.

Since 2012, foreign tourists to Japan have been increasing in number, posting a 47.1 percent year-on-year increase to 19,737,400 in 2015. In order to deliver the appeals of Gunma Prefecture from the perspective of a foreign visitor, the main character in the new promotional video is Rita, played by Christina Candu, a 26-year-old from Romania who had been selected in an audition among foreign women who live in Gunma Prefecture.

The video, which will be Part Four in our series, takes place at Kusatsu Onsen, one of the three major hot springs in Japan. Since ancient times, Gunma Prefecture has been a prominent hot spring area for people throughout the country, and the video will be featuring scenes from "yubatake" (*4) and "yumomi" (*5).

Impressed by the lively way that the women of Gunma work, Rita discovers images of women who will be living in the new era to come. In addition to the promotional video, a short film will be released simultaneously, and both will be available for viewing on YouTube, our official website, and our official Facebook page.

Video Overview
– Time/date of release: Tuesday, February 16, 2016
– Commercial: https://youtu.be/-RYE1a0XPcQ (1 min. 15 sec.)
Short film: https://youtu.be/kJinntgHrj4 (7 min. 3 sec.)
– Title: "GUNMA News Network": "Foreign Student YouTuber Rita Visits Gunma, the Land of Bossy Wives: Hot Spring Episode in Kusatsu"
– Concept: Upon visiting Kusatsu, Japan’s top onsen hot spring area, Rita wonders if it’s because of the hot springs that the women of Gunma appear to be radiant. She witnesses the women of Gunma, the land of "bossy wives", and becomes convinced that they will become a global standard as a model image for women who live in the new era to come.

Description of terms related to famous sites/customs in Gunma Prefecture
(*1) Tomioka Silk Mill
A modern model silk-reeling factory that the Meiji government established in 1872 for the country’s modernization, the Tomioka Silk Mill enabled the mass production of raw silk, for which production yield had long been limited, and received recognition for enriching people’s lives, both within and outside Japan, and obtained a World Heritage designation in 2015.

(*2) Kusatsu Onsen
Boasting the top discharge of hot spring water, Kusatsu Onsen is one of the three major hot springs in Japan. Kusatsu Onsen offers excellent hot springs which have thrived since ancient times and healed many people, both in mind and body, and has received top ratings in hot spring rankings since the feudal Edo period.

(*3) Japan Heritage
A designation by the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan for a story that speaks about the culture and tradition of Japan through historical appeals and characteristics of local areas. Various cultural heritage stories full of appeals, both tangible and intangible, become the basis for maintaining and using these regional cultural properties in a cohesive manner to strategically promote the narratives within Japan and abroad to revitalize regional economies.

(*4) Yubatake
A facility where the hot spring source water is allowed to flow freely onto the ground and into wooden gutters and "yunohana," or mineral encrustations, a component of the hot spring water, are collected and adjustments are made in water temperatures.

(*5) Yumomi
The temperature of the source water at Kusatsu Onsen is around 51 degrees Celsius and up, including places where the temperature may be higher than 95 degrees Celsius, making it much too hot for direct bathing. A method had thus been contrived to insert six-foot boards into the hot source water for "yumomi," to "beat the hot water" until it cools to a sufficient degree for bathing. "Yumomi" not only lowers the temperature but also softens the water as well as serves as a warm-up exercise before bathing.

About Gunma Prefecture
Gunma Prefecture is situated at the center of the main Japanese island of Honshu. The shape of the prefecture resembles a crane spreading out its wings and flapping them, so much so that it is used in a popular local card game where it is described to have "the shape of a soaring crane." Gunma is blessed with an array of natural beauty that includes the famous Jomo-Sanzan (the three famous mountains of Akagi, Haruna and Myogi), and boasting more than 200 onsen (hot springs): Kusatsu, Ikaho, Minakami, and Shima in particular. The onsen in Gunma have a rich variety of components, flow rates, histories, and culture.

Official website for Gunma Prefecture: https://www.visitgunma.jp/en/index.php