Photo/Illutration Actor Tetsuya Bessho, left, a newly appointed Tokyo Tourism Ambassador, poses with Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike at the metropolitan government office on Feb. 13. (Soichi Tsuchidate)

To bolster sightseeing in Tokyo, the metropolitan government appointed celebrities, virtual YouTubers (VTubers) and other well-known figures with ties to the capital as “tourism ambassadors.

“We have rallied people who will be promoting the appeal of Tokyo on various fronts, including gastronomy, fashion, anime, law, culture and cinema,” Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said about the selections. “We hope to work with them to enliven Tokyo by drawing on their abundant experience and high-name value.”

Among the 16 new Tokyo Tourism Ambassadors are chef Kiyomi Mikuni, ballet dancer Tetsuya Kumakawa, actor Tetsuya Bessho and fashion director Misha Janette.

Their activities will include attending the metropolitan government’s tourism promotion events and appearing in public relations videos.

Bessho is president of the Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia. The international event, held annually in Tokyo, is accredited by the U.S. Academy Awards and is one of the largest film fests of its kind in Asia.

During a ceremony for the new ambassadors on Feb. 13, Bessho referred to the way the word “kanko,” meaning sightseeing, is written in a pair of kanji that, together, literally means “seeing the light.”

“I have been told that tourism is about ‘seeing the light’ of a place,” he said. “Cinema is made up of the paint of light. I hope to convey the aspects of splendid Tokyo whose sightseeing is magnificent because of the connections of lights.”


Kiyomi Mikuni, Haruyuki (Hal) Yamashita, Yoshihisa

Akiyama, Katsumi Kusumoto, Yusuke Nomura (chefs)

Tetsuya Kumakawa (ballet dancer)

Tetsuya Bessho (actor)

Harry Sugiyama (media personality)

Richard Collasse (chairman of Chanel G.K., the Japanese arm of Chanel SA)

Alan Poul (film producer)

Jonathan Malveaux (investor)

Hakken (cosplayer)

Misha Janette (fashion director)

Sakura Miko, Mori Calliope, Gawr Gura (VTubers)