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Osaka railway creates superhero to attract foreign tourists

28 Comments
By Master Blaster. RocketNews24

A new superhero has arrived to save the people of Osaka from evildoers. This is great because just the other day some savage left an empty can in my bicycle’s basket while I parked it.

Unfortunately for me, his beat is just on the Rapi:t express train running between downtown’s Namba Station and Kansai International Airport. But if you happen to find trouble on the way to or from KIX there’s only one name to call out for help: Rapi…Ra…Rapee-itl-dee-yer!!?

Thanks to the Japanese spelling we can get a good sense of his name. In Japanese the “t” is pronounced like “toe” so the ending would be like “-toldier” very similar to “soldier.” However, even knowing this it’s still a bit of a mouthful to say “Ra-pee-tol-jer” and without a working knowledge of Japanese katakana one would be even more in the dark.

Also, as you probably assumed, the errant colon in his name is because of the Rapi:t train that he represents. This is a rapid service from Namba to the airport that will get you there or back in a little over 30 minutes. Its name is German for “rapid” and the “i:” is an approximation of the International Phonetic Alphabet symbol for an “ee” sound.

Of course, when making a mascot aimed at foreigners, it’s important to have a catchy name that takes two paragraphs to explain. But that’s not all to Rapi:tldier’s charm! His head is also modeled after the locomotive of the Rapi:t and he’s sporting a cape with leopard print lining. This is a pattern beloved by many an upper-middle-aged Osaka woman.

Now that we’re all up to speed, please watch the 20 minute video below showing us The Birth of Rapi:tldier.

It’s endearing that the staff of Nankai Electric Railway (at least I hope that’s just the Nankai staff) did the entire production in English.

In the meantime Rapi:tldier will be making appearances at various international travel events to promote Osaka and their train. Keep an eye out for him and be sure to practice how to pronounce his name in case you ever do run into him.

Sources: How To Enjoy Osaka, Namba Keizai Shimbun

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28 Comments
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@Probie`s first comment, maybe they just took a look at large number of superhero films that become Hollywood blockbusters, and figured another hero would be more popular than another Funasshi type?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He'll go the way of usual "attempts to allure foreigners" when it comes to mascots; everyone will laugh and joke about how stupid it is, then the mascot designed to appeal to foreigners and get their feedback will be, "misunderstood!" and "something foreigners just can't understand" and quietly not mentioned out of embarrassment. It'll be liked by a few people in the area it represents, solely because he's 'from' that area, and locals will say he should rival funashi (or whatever the crazy pear's name is) or fukkyuppy, but whatever. If they want to appeal to foreign people and attract foreign tourists, they ought to research what foreign people like instead of just assuming they know (better). Hopefully this just goes away quietly and people don't get all defensive as they often do with failures.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What's with the dude in blackface????

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How about making a train from KIX to Umeda sometime this century? Surely that would be more useful?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As a foreigner, watching this movie, I felt the need to retract and contract. It seemed like the message was obstructed by the way the film was constructed. I found the soundtrack distracting, acting unattractive and the abstract story protracting needlessly. I hate to detract from their effort, but I did not feel attracted.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ha ha ha

that is all i can say - but good effort with the English!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It was pretty bad. The "secret police" is an unfortunate moniker in my opinion.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If y'all think this is funny, you should watch it with the closed captioning!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

wtf?

No foreigner is gonna spend the time it takes to get what the fudge this thing is. They'll just chalk it up to crazy Japan being crazy Japan. Take a pic and laugh at it when they get home.

Here's a hint, you want foreign tourists, hire some foreigners and listen to their advice. And when I say foreigners, I'm not talking about that insufferable lot like Becky or those other clownish halfs on TV.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Just where do you begin with how ridiculous this is......

2 ( +2 / -0 )

tourist boards severely need to hire experts who know what type of branding actually leads to attracting tourists...all these mascots and silly heroes and ninjas will do nothing to attract more toursists.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Earth Chemical should get right onto developing man-sized equivalents for deployment at all points of entry into Osaka, to umm............. protect the foreigners which this campaign will attract in droves.

http://www.earth-chem.co.jp/top01/gokiburi/goki_hoihoi/goki_hoihoi.html

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ist alles kaput in Osaka that they need to say "schnell, schnell"??

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Superheroes. Stuffed toys. Mascots. The standard Japanese way to promote anything. Does it work?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Can the superhero save Osaka from Toru Hashimoto too?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Hmmmm .....just watched part of that vid, isn't there already a group, that believes that Osaka is being overrun by cockroaches ? Strange that this has been made in English and is trying to attract tourists. Fails on all levels.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@klaus

Yep, fair enough!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Clueless about being adults in other parts of the world.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@lucabrasi

Yup, it is used like this ;-)

But it was a latin word "years ago" (rapidus).

Mutual agreement? :-D

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@klaus

Don't know how long you've been away from Germany, but my dictionary says:

Rapide: Sehr schnell. ("Es ging rapide bergab mit ihm")

Surely it's a German word? : )

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@lucabrasi,

well, lets not split hair, but where did you come up with that idea?

But maybe, me being a German and having lived in Japan for too long don't know my native language anymore?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The name is reminiscent of another infamous Japanese superhero that started with R

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is a pattern beloved by many an upper-middle-aged Osaka woman.

So many bells that can't be un-rung here...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Because we foreign tourists are so familiar with the existing superheroes . . . .

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@klausdorth

"Rapide" is German. And that's how it's pronounced, with the accent on the second syllable.

Latin would be "rapidus".

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Isn't it quaint how they think foreigners will like childish characters like Japanese do?

15 ( +17 / -2 )

Well, before writing something, maybe looking for the origin of words wouldn't be a bad idea:

"Its name is German for “rapid” .....

Wrong, "rapid is not German at all, however, Latin. meaning "fast".

2 ( +4 / -2 )

If this is aimed at tourists, it will send an ominous message, as in "Visit Osaka but behave or this robot-soldier will lock you up forever".

4 ( +4 / -0 )

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