I Wanna Make Foreign Tourists SmileTour Guiding in Kyoto Dressed as Ryoma2 November 2015 - Local topics
Hidenori Ichiyama, who lives in Kita Ward, Kyoto and is usually a department manager for an international logistics company, transforms into Ryoma Sakamoto, for one day only in both spring and autumn. He said, "I make the mental switch as I apply the make-up."
To please foreign visitors with a glimpse of "samurai," he appears here and there in Kyoto City, along with Hiroshi Sakiyama, who plays a role of Shintaro Nakaoka, one of his classmates from junior high school. "We're on our feet for about four hours being photographed by thousands of people."
To please foreign visitors with a glimpse of "samurai," he appears here and there in Kyoto City, along with Hiroshi Sakiyama, one of his classmates from junior high school. "We' re on our feet for about four hours being photographed by thousands of people."
Approximately 20 years ago, he visited South Dakota, U.S.A., as a travel agency's tour conductor and enjoyed a homestay. At that time, his host family asked him, "Where do samurai live in Japan?" He cannot forget the disappointment on their faces when he replied, "There are no samurai."
Soon after that, the same family came to Kyoto and asked the same question. Not to disappoint them, he took them to Toei Kyoto Studio Park, Ukyo Ward. They shouted with glee at the sight of actors in samurai costume or ninjas flying around.
He actively talked to foreigners who looked lost to guide them. With the increasing number of foreign visitors to Japan in the 21st century, he has begun to receive the same question as before in the street, "Where are the samurai?"
"I was treated kindly in a foreign county. I must repay that favor." He took a bold step. In autumn 2011, dressed in the fashion of Ryoma Sakamoto, he went around tourist sites where there were many foreigners.
Foreigners, even after passing by, turn back with surprise. Groups hesitate about whether to approach him or not, but when he signals with his eyes that it's OK, they come running up to him all together.
One day every April and November, he parades around Teradaya and Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Fushimi Ward, and an area around Yasaka Shrine in Higashiyama Ward. This fall he will be out on November 15. Three of his classmates will participate.
He has found his post-retirement dream. "In the future I would like to run a dumpling shop where there are always samurai."
Photo= In character as Ryoma Sakamoto, Ichiyama agrees to be photographed with a foreign tourist (right). On the left is Sakiyama, dressed as Shintaro Nakaoka= 2012, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto(translated by Galileo, Inc.)