Despite being one of the few legal forms of gambling in Japan, boat racing (kyotei) is not enjoyed by most people. Many Japanese people have never been to a race and would struggle to give you directions to one of the large-scale venues across the country where they take place.

So Boat Race Biwako has taken the daring move of implementing a new promotional campaign of hardly even acknowledging the existence of boats and instead starting a fantasy sports system based on a quintet of doe-eyed moe girls…because it just wouldn’t be Japan if they hadn’t.

The campaign is called Sengoku Battle Scramble: Buried Gold where “sengoku” is a pun referring to the “warring states” period but uses kanji that say “boat states.” In it, five of Japan’s traditional regions are given a moe mascot to personify it.

Gun-toting pink-haired Princess Kiku is standing for the Kanto region. Tokai region has pissed-off looking blue-haired Horin. Next, there’s the inexplicably scared-looking Nao over in the Kinki area. Plucky green-haired Miya is keeping her chin up for the Chu-Shikoku region. And finally, Aya looks like she’s falling asleep down in the Kyushu part of Japan.

We are asked to select one of the girls and the stats of boat racers in their parts of Japan will be compiled into the girls’ stats. This battle will run from 1 November, 2015 to 29 February, 2016. Whoever bets on the moe girl with the best performance during that period will be entered in a lottery to win a prepaid Quo Card with that winning character’s picture on it. There are also other prizes to be won along the way like booze (yay!) and tote bags (meh).

The move is an obvious attempt to win over fans of games and anime. But while fantasy sports has been shown to be big business in other countries, but with the inclusion of moe, Boat Race Biwako may have gone a little overboard on the “fantasy” element of it. In the end only time will tell.

Oh by the way, with all this talk about boat racing in Japan, you might be wondering what it actually is. It’s where people whizz around an oval coarse in small hydroplanes. It is actually kind of fun to watch but, given how simple that was to explain, it’s not surprising why people aren’t overly engrossed in it.

Source: Sankei News, Sengoku Battle Scramble: Buried Gold (Japanese)
Images: Sengoku Battle Scramble: Buried Gold
Video: YouTube/Boat Race Biwako, YouTube/KIMURA236B
Original article by Mr. Sato
[ Read in Japanese ]