Video game inspiration receives massive support in request for repair donations.

Watazumi Shrine sits on the coast of an island in Nagasaki Prefecture, and is dedicated to Toyotama-hime, a Shinto sea goddess. In keeping with this, the shrine’s most distinctive feature is its torii gates that rise out of the ocean waters.

However, with Nagasaki being located at the southwest corner of Japan’s main islands, the prefecture is prone to getting hit by powerful typhoons in late summer and early autumn. So while the shrine ordinarily boasts a pair of watery torii gates, the one seen on the right in the photo below was knocked over and destroyed during a typhoon that swept through the area on September 7.

▼ The torii following the storm

Repairing the gate won’t be easy or cheap. Aside from the difficulty of installing it away from dry land, it’ll actually need to be constructed on a different island and shipped to Watazumi. While the shrine has been soliciting donations from the community, the rural town has a population of less than 30,000 people, and it isn’t a particularly wealthy demographic either.

So the shrine decided to hold a crowdfunding campaign on Japanese crowdfunding site Campfire, hoping to raise five million yen (US$47,620). That might seem like an ambitious goal for a countryside shrine, but Watazumi has a special advantage: it’s located in the town of Tsushima, on Tsushima Island, the setting of Sony’s hit PlayStation video game Ghost of Tsushima, which came out last summer.

While Watazumi itself doesn’t appear in the game, the designers drew heavily from the island’s landscape and history, including coastal shrines for players to visit in the samurai/ninja epic. Watazumi Shrine even mentions Ghost of Tsuhima in its crowdfunding campaign’s description, and the island’s recent time in the video-game spotlight seems to have raised the public’s awareness and appreciation of it. Not only has the crowdfunding campaign met its goal, it’s nearly tripled it, with 13,262,277 yen raised as of this writing.

With more than a month left until the end of the campaign (which can be found here), it seems likely that the final tally will at least triple the original target, and since that goal was chosen for being an estimated one third of the total cost to replace the torii, it looks like Watazumi will be able to return itself to its full glory and keep a physical part of its cultural heritage intact.

Source: Campfire/和多都美神社 via Hachima Kiko
Images: Campfire/和多都美神社
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