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The K-On! School is Real!

First, there was the story of the increased popularity of the Washimiya, Saitama area of Japan (and in particular the Washinomiya Shrine located there) because of the fact that much of the anime “Lucky Star” is based in that area. Now comes word of the latest real-life-spot-turned-otaku-mecca, Toyosato High School in Shiga Prefecture.

What? Not familiar to you? Then you must not be a K-ON! fan. For this humble school building, and its surrounding areas, were used in large part in that work.

According to the translation provided by the kind commenters over at this YouTube video, the school building, which might be some sort of historical building/landmark, was apparently scheduled for demolition 8 years ago to make way for a new school facility; however, instead they decided not to demolish it and instead built a new school facility opposite the old one. In appreciation for saving the building, the author of the K-ON! manga used the building along with parts of the surrounding area as scenes for his work.

This part at least is true. The resemblance is uncanny, particularly the auditorium where the K-ON! girls held their concerts, the look of the hallways, the music room itself, and even the brass animal figures on the stair bannisters. (Not sure if there is a real life analogue to that statue that the students in K-ON! are always putting funny hats/outfits on tho… I didn’t see one in the video)

Anyway, the building is still being used for some functions (at least I believe the library is being used still – hmm, I wonder if they have the K-ON! manga on their shelves? That would be pretty meta!) And the school is cashing in on the building’s otaku street cred, as they are apparently holding concerts in the style of K-ON! in the auditorium, and the music room is decorated with K-ON! pictures as well as sweets and tea on the tables! (I really hope those are plastic models! Or that they change them daily, but that would be kind of cost-prohibitive…) And the otaku are indeed flocking to the location, as is evidenced by the huge collection of itasha (otaku cars decorated with anime decals, figures, etc. – literally means “painmobile” as in “too painful [for non-otaku] to look at”) parked in the parking lot – not to mention the cosplayers taking photos in front of the building and various landmarks. Sure hope that all of this attention isn’t disturbing the students too much!

Video below. (EDIT 2010-03-24: the original video has been taken down from YouTube for terms-of-use violations. Grrr… However I found not one, not two, but THREE!! fan-made videos of trips to the K-ON school that shows some additional footage of interest (e.g. the guitar shop that the K-ON girls bought their instruments at, the fast food restaurant where the girls often meet and where Mugi-chan got a job (apparently based on a McDonald’s), other views of the surrounding town, etc. And apparently the statue with the funny hats/clothes is actually based on a real-life statue of the man who built the school. Be sure and check out some of the “related videos” too!) (EDIT 2010-03-25: found another video!)

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