About two years ago, the bigwigs at the Kyoto Municipal Transportation Bureau got together to brainstorm and figure out how to convince more people to ride the subway. Staggered by historical preservation survey costs, the city turned to anime girls to save its subway. What transpired from the session was a highly successful "Let's Ride The Subway" advertising campaign which effectively decorated the station with a plethora of colorful, cute moe anime girls and brought in more than 50,000 extra passengers a day.
The campaign has been so successful that earlier this month, Moe Uzumasa, the face of the campaign, has recently inspired a new books series known as Kyoto Girls Days. The series follows Moe and two new girls. Each of the characters represents a different railway, as you might guess from their names. Moe is a high school girl that uses the Kyoto Subway to get to her school. She lives her daily life alongside Saki Matsuga, a childhood friend who lives near the Matsugasaki Station. The story also follows a music and plant-loving girl named Misa Ono who lives close to the Ono Station. Together, they tackle everyday obstacles that come with high school life and grow in friendship.
The characters were designed by people within Japan's Department of Transportation. Their popularity has brought in exponentially more passengers for the Kyoto subway. Moe's fanbase alone has caused a rallying of voices from Kyoto University and Kyoto International Manga Museum for more characters to be created in the future. We can't wait to keep our eyes on this project and see what it has in store.