Ryubo Youkai Watch setting local kids under spell
Youkai, a word or term typically associated with ghosts and Japanese folk creatures, is the latest craze among Japanese and, if anime soothsayers are right, every other pre- and elementary school age kid in the world, and has now found its way to the Ryubo Department Store in Naha City.
The game and accompanying anime are wildly popular, particularly with elementary school children. Youkai, meaning a mystic apparition or mysterious ghost, applies to all sorts of supernatural beings or legends from virtually any culture, thus creating thousands of stories in youkai.
Usually youkai are safely invisible, but become visible to a bearer of a special watch. The event now at Ryubo is called “Appear Yokai-Watch Land; Let’s go to a wonderful Adventure.” The program runs through March 8th, from 10 a.m. ~ 8:30 p.m., with last entry to the 6th floor event hall at 8 p.m. daily. Admission is ¥800 for adults, college students and high school students, and ¥600 for junior high students down to age four. The event is free for kids age three or younger. Everyone needs to pick up a numbered ticket to be guaranteed entry to the event in case it becomes crowded.
Youkai (specters) cause mystical events, sometimes making one ask a favor or sometimes fighting with them, sometimes solving problems, and then making friends with them. The Youkai-Watch ventures into a lot of territory, and kids love it.
Jibanyan will be part of the Youkai program on March 7th. For those who don’t follow Japanese anime, Jibanyan is the Youkai Watch mascot, and kids are enamored. Jibanyan’s popularity over the past few years has bulldozed him past Pikachu, the star of Pokemon anime, and Doraemon. The shaking-hands event with Jibanyan is scheduled for 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the first floor open area at Ryubo Department Store. Admission is free.