23 Janvier 2015
January 20, 2015
By NAOYUKI TAKAHASHI/ Staff Writer
KORIYAMA, Fukushima Prefecture--Gainax Co., the anime company best known for the hit series "Evangelion," is setting up a studio in Miharu to help draw people back to this rural area still reeling from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and nuclear disaster.
Executives of the Tokyo-based production company and officials from the town government signed a business agreement to establish the studio and a museum at a ceremony on Jan. 19 in the neighboring city of Koriyama.
"We hope to contribute to Fukushima's reconstruction even by a little by transmitting information and producing content from Fukushima to the world," said Yoshinori Asao, the president of the company's new subsidiary anime production company, Fukushima Gainax, at a news conference.
Under the agreement, the studio and museum in Miharu will be established in April.
The studio will be located in the former Sakura Junior High School, which closed in fiscal 2012 due to the declining number of young people. Fukushima Gainax will rent the building from the municipal government.
The company plans to hire around 30 staff members from local communities and elsewhere to work on projects such as the film "Uru in Blue," which will hit screens worldwide in 2018.
In the museum to be built next to the studio, visitors will be able to learn about the process behind anime production. The facility aims to attract 30,000 visitors annually by holding anime-themed exhibits and events that will invite voice actors as guests.
Asao, originally from Fukushima city, came up with the idea to establish the studio in the prefecture in autumn 2013 to "bring back the local children, and the upbeat mood they bring, even just a little.”
He was inspired by news reports that local economies in the area were in ruins, and that children who were evacuated from the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant still had not returned.
Gainax decided on Miharu for the studio because the town is close to Fukushima Airport and JR Koriyama Station, where the Tohoku Shinkansen makes regular stops. The well-preserved condition of the school building was also a contributing factor.