Japanese prefecture makes novel pitch to Thai tourists

A series of romantic tales written by four Thai novelists is part of a new campaign to attract Thai tourists to Kagawa Prefecture in Japan.

The series entitled Kagawa, Let Love Lead, was launched on Thursday at the National Book Fair in Bangkok. It consists of four different love stories named after four locations in the Japan's smallest prefecture located on the southern island of Shikloku: Shodoshima Forever, Destiny in Kotohira, Sweet Ogi-Megi and Winter Love in Takamatsu.

With sponsorship from Kagawa Prefecture, the Thai writers travelled to locations there to find inspiration for their stories.

"I have visited only Japan's big cities including Tokyo and Osaka so I was intrigued to experience Japan's small towns, like Kotohira," the author of Destiny in Kotohira, Sirikarn Suppalertporn, known by her pen name "Rinthorn", told Kyodo News.

"I spent around a week in Kotohira and its neighbouring cities to travel and research my novel in May last year. I was very impressed with the beautiful scenery and simple, yet modern, ways of life in the countryside," she said.

"I was also very impressed with the beautiful nature of the town, especially the greenery and old shops alongside the steps while climbing Mount Zozu to Kotohiragu (a Shinto shrine), which is one of the main locations in the novel. Everywhere has its own history to rediscover."

According to the series' publisher, the books have received not only a good reception from the existing fan base of the four authors, but have also received interest from television producers.

"Some TV producers have shown interest in the novels and are currently reviewing the possibility of making TV dramas out of the stories," said Vuttichai Yusupap, assistant editor of Teeruk Press.

"Though Kagawa is the smallest prefecture in Japan, it is a very artful place, so we want to promote its tourism and introduce these cities to Thai people."

Since Japan introduced a visa exemption scheme for Thai travellers in 2013, it has seen an influx of Thai tourists. Almost 800,000 Thais visited Japan in 2015, the fifth largest tourist group after travelers from South Korea, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.

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