The sad truth is that sometimes Japanese consumers are a simple bunch, at least in the eyes of the ad men. Forget complex marketing strategies or clever stunts. The way to their hearts is just to put a famous person on the front of whatever it is you’re selling.

Hence there are so many TV commercials and other ads featuring the same gallery of celebrities. Hence Hollywood films will have some random Japanese model appear at a press conference to promote the movie. And hence this free 126-page guide for Hiroshima Prefecture tourism has sold out immediately after it hit the shelves.

nakeru hiroshima perfume tourism booklet magazine guide sold out popular

It was published and released on July 14th, but reprints have already been ordered. How come? Well, in order to give the booklet a push, the folk at Hiroshima made the decision to pay a no doubt not inconsiderable pile of cash to have Perfume to appear on the cover, looking cute and pop like the trio of young girls always do.

Within two hours of launching the campaign website, they had already reached the limit for 2,000 reservations, and now the publishers are getting orders from book stores all over the country, desperate to get their hands on the rare booklet. The initial run of 50,000 copies is almost all gone and the next run won’t arrive until mid-August.

nakeru hiroshima perfume tourism booklet magazine guide sold out popular

The idea to include Perfume in the “Nakeru! Hiroshima-ken” (literally, “Hiroshima Prefecture that will make you cry!”) booklet and campaign is not as cynical as it sounds, since the girls originally hail from the region (it does, though, time in nicely with the release of their latest single). They also appear in a short PR video and are interviewed in the book.

The best place to get a copy in Tokyo is from the TAU Hiroshima Prefecture Store in Ginza, though at time of writing it no longer has any guidebooks left.

nakeru hiroshima perfume tourism booklet magazine guide sold out popular

The immense popularity of Perfume is a somewhat curious phenomenon. On a superficial level, they are hardly what you might think of as glamorous by global music group standards. Rather, like many Japanese idol groups, they are presented as “amateurs” and this is reflected in that essentially only one member could be called traditionally beautiful. But it also shows in their ultimately fairly limited abilities to sing and dance, let alone write their own songs. Their managers, though, are savvy folk and know to employ talented people to make cool music videos and album covers, which raises the level of their sophistication. But what is the appeal of the Perfume girls themselves? Clearly they must have something, as this latest development shows.

Now we just have to see if the Perfume effect can actually increase tourism in Hiroshima.

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  • russell August 4, 2014

    “The idea is not as cynical as it sounds, since the girls originally hail from the region.”

    this is kind of odd framing since they were born in the city of hiroshima, went to school there and had their first two singles released by a local label…

  • William (Post author) August 4, 2014


    I think you are misunderstanding the sentence. Yes, they are from Hiroshima but many people don’t know that, especially those who have only heard of Perfume since they had more mainstream success. So at first glance it *seems* like just another tourist tie-up where the bureaucrats have paid an ad agency to hire some celebrities or singers. These are everywhere you look in Japan. Almost every campaign or advertisement features a celebrity. But actually this time there is a real reason for connecting Perfume and Hiroshima.

  • Jungle August 8, 2014

    You may be on to a Japan trend (*cough*), William. Aichi Toyota teamed up with SKE48 to do an online photo book featuring its cars and Aichi Prefecture. SKE48 is based in Nagoya, which is the capital of Aichi Prefecture; and Toyota has its headquarters in Toyota City, which is also in Aichi Prefecture. The link to the photo book: