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Foreigners play role in creating Tsushima maps for visitors

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The walking maps of Tsushima, Aichi Prefecture, in five languages

By Yoshiki Sawamura / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterTSUSHIMA, Aichi — The city of Tsushima in Aichi Prefecture has made five tourist maps — in Japanese and four other languages — to help first-time visitors, particularly people from overseas, stroll through the city.

“People from different countries and territories know best what kind of maps their compatriots will find easy to look at and use,” said an official in charge of the maps at the Tsushima municipal government.

Therefore, people from the United States edited the English map, while the simplified Chinese map was edited by people from China and the traditional Chinese version by people from Taiwan. There is also a Korean map edited by people from South Korea.

Each version features different photos and layouts.

To create maps that meet the values, tastes and needs of people from these countries and territories, the city worked with people from there from September 2017 to February this year. It asked them to take a walk in the city and visit Tsushima Shrine, Tennogawa Park and other local tourist attractions.

The city then confirmed what it had suspected — there were subtle differences between the information the city wanted to promote to tourists and the information non-Japanese people were interested in. The city utilized this finding in making the maps.

In the English version, the city emphasized a fun atmosphere by using lively photos of restaurants and other places. The Korean version features photos and detailed explanations about places where people can feel spiritual power, such as temples and shrines.

The version in simplified Chinese contains many photos and text, following the advice that Chinese people feel they benefit more when they get plenty of information.

Americans Zachary Saxton, 31, and Abner Rojas, 26, both assistant language teachers, walked in the city with the English-version map. They said it is easy to understand and conveys the beauty of Tsushima even to people who see the map for the first time.

“I’ve seen many maps, and this one is by far the easiest to use,” Saxton said. “I’ll recommend this to my family and friends when they come here.”

The city official in charge is highly motivated, saying: “To fully show the interesting things about Tsushima, we thoroughly studied and considered what people from these countries and territories like. I hope the maps will bring many foreign tourists to Tsushima.”

The city has printed 34,500 copies of the maps, which are available at locations including Chubu Centrair International Airport in Tokoname in the prefecture, Tsushima Station and Tsushima City Tourist Exchange Center.

The maps can also be downloaded from the city’s website.

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