Saga teams up with Video Game

Saga Prefecture is teaming up with a video game in an unorthodox promotional exercise. Via the Anime News Network:

To English speakers, “saga” typically means a tale of adventure and daring, but to the Japanese, something else comes to mind — the city of Saga on the southern island of Kyushu, as well as the domain and prefecture it is located in. The modern prefecture is a minor one of a mere 839,000 people, but the domain Saga ruled over was historically significant and played an important role in opening up Japan to Western influence in the 1800s. Saga Prefecture now seeks to boost its image among modern Japanese by collaborating with the Square Enix video game series Romancing SaGa, which is also celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Currently the only planned events are to be held on March 13-16 far from Kyushu — in Roppongi Hills Cafe in Tokyo. During these days the cafe will host the “Romancing Saga Lounge” (with “saga” written in the characters for the prefecture rather than the game). It will include an art exhibition by Tomomi Kobayashi, the SaGa series’ illustrator, and photos of Morodomi furniture, a noteworthy product from Saga Prefecture. There will also be a pottery exhibition — Arita-yaki, or Arita porcelain, is another famed product of Saga Prefecture, and the ones on display here will be Romancing SaGa-themed. There will also be “Romancing Saga food,” utilizing specialties from the prefecture, and Romancing Saga merchandise. Details are not yet available.

On March 16, the cafe will also host a “Premium Night” for a select 100 guests. It will be a discussion panel featuring Akitoshi Kawazu, executive producer of Square Enix; Kenji Itō, composer for the Romancing SaGa series; Tomomi Kobayashi, the aforementioned illustrator; Yasushi Furukawa, governor of Saga Prefecture; and Dan Kaneko, head of the FACTORY SAGA Project, which brainstorms modern applications of traditional Saga Prefecture techniques. Naturally, the talk will be about Romancing SaGa and Saga Prefecture. There may also be a special concert. The event is free, but guests must first apply by March 2 and are chosen by raffle.

Kawazu claims that this crossover has “been his desire for 20 years” and expects that the games will “give Saga Prefecture’s nature, history, culture, and people a new gleam.” For his part, Furukawa hails the collaboration as a “miracle” and says “the appeal of Saga Prefecture and the SaGa series were guided to this connection by the thread of fate.”

For more information check out the Romancing Saga website.

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