JONES Thomas E.
   Department     College of Asia Pacific Studies
   Position   Professor
Language English
Publication Date 2009/08
Type Research paper (Academic/Professional Journal)
Peer Review Peer reviewed
Title Prefectural branding in Japan: Tourism, National Parks and the Shinshu brand
Contribution Type First author
Journal Place Branding and Public Diplomacy
Volume, Issue, Page 5(3),pp.192–201-192–201
Author and coauthor Nagata, S. Nakajima, M. & Masuyama, K.
Details Japan's rural peripheries have suffered dramatic depopulation in the postwar period as a result of urbanization driven by education and employment. Subsequent attempts at regional revitalization have seen corporate branding techniques increasingly used in regional public diplomacy, although the intangible nature of place branding has undermined attempts to conclusively prove its effectiveness. This contribution re-examines the Japanese place-branding boom through the case study of Nagano prefecture’s Shinshu Brand, raising questions over its portrayal as a success story in previous research. Nagano’s increasingly tourist-based strategy is examined in detail, and the omission of its four national parks (NPs) is discussed. Analysis shows that these parks, by definition the areas with the greatest biodiversity and most spectacular scenery in Nagano, fall under the jurisdiction of disparate agencies of central government and management that is increasingly distanced from the local prefecture. This article proposes that the active incorporation of these existing brands into Nagano’s portfolio is vital to a tourist-based economy and the sustainability of the Shinshu Brand. Just as branding is a two-way process between brand identity and brand image, NPs are also vital regional resources that should be actively included in prefectural brands.
DOI 10.1057/pb.2009.13