The Japan Tourism Agency this week announced the winners of its annual awards for the best tourist draws in Japan. Prizes went to American singer Lady Gaga and the Hula Girls, a group of Hawaiian-style dancers from the Fukushima onsen resort of Iwaki.
The agency said that Lady Gaga was honored for performing a live show in Japan in July to raise money for tsunami survivors and for helping to drum up interest in Japanese culture. The Hula Girl team was praised for helping tourism by continuing to perform in Fukushima despite the risk of radiation.
Other recipients included Hidetoshi Sakamoto, the director of the Aso Design Center, a think tank working to strengthen ties within the Aso area in Kumamoto Prefecture, to promote regional development and tourism, to protect the environment and scenery, and to disseminate information. Tomomi Masuda was also selected for his work as the president of the Tottori Tourist Board and the progress he has made in town revitalization projects in Tottori. The traditional ghosts and goblins that appear in the famous manga “GeGeGe no Kitaro” were also recognized for popularizing Japanese culture overseas.
The awards will be presented at a ceremony on Oct 3 in Tokyo.