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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Revival of Comic Panels or "Kaohame Kanban" In Japan

Above, yours truly and a comic panel near the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo.

Four years ago, I visited the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. After roaming around the fish market, I headed to the shopping and restaurant area next to it to have myself a sushi breakfast.

While looking for a restaurant, I came upon some restaurateurs who talked me into posing for a photo in a comic panel (photo above).

Apparently, these comic panels (known as “kaohame kanban” or “kaodashi paneru” in Japan) are great aids in revitalization campaigns in the private and public sectors.

According to The Japan News (Yomiuri Shimbun):
Wearing a twisted cotton headband tied around his head, he lugs a box containing a large bluefin tuna and lots of other fish. And you can, too — just insert your face into the round hole in a funny photo panel, and you’ll instantly be transformed into a fishmonger. 
A much treasured photo spot, the panel is an attraction at Wosse 21, a seafood market in Choshi, Chiba Prefecture. 
Known as comic foregrounds in English, such panels are called “kaohame kanban” or “kaodashi paneru” in Japanese. They contain images of people or animals, but are fitted with holes usually where the face should be. 
Comic foregrounds have proven useful in local revitalization campaigns by the public and private sectors. Visitors can undergo a visual transformation with these signboards, which feature highly elaborate designs and shapes, and take advantage of the opportunity to have their portraits taken.
I have seen others in Japan. One that immediately comes to mind was a samurai comic panel at the site of Sendai Castle.

To read more, go here.

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