Sunday, August 29, 2010

Let Them Name You… and They will Come?

Down and out Yubari, the bankrupt Hokkaido city immortalized by NYT elegist Normitsu Onishi, is selling naming rights left and right. First came the municipal civic center (most likely a lightly used composite of a concert hall and smaller meeting rooms) and…public toilets? Whatever.* According to this Asahi piece, Yubari is extending the idea to the local baseball field and other athletic facilities**. But why stop there? Why not SELL THE NAMING RIGHTS TO YUBARI?

Seriously. It’s not as if precedent is lacking. The city of Toyota was named in 1959 for Toyota Motors, not the other way around. And Toyota (the Motors, not the city) didn’t pay a yen. Likewise, the city of Tenri got its name in 1954 as the stronghold of Tenri-kyo, a pseudo-Shinto religion that has its origins during the late Edo era—over the less demonstrative Yamabe, the Tenri-ko’s choice. And, of course, Boston gets its name from the Boston Celtics.

Look, Hyundai, if you have the wherewithal to drop billions of US dollars worth on North Korea with little to show in return, you surely have the billions of Japanese yen—you really need just a fraction of that—to spare so that you can call a Japanese city, I don’t know, Chosun’s My Daddy? I’m Your Bitch, Korea? The possibilities are limitless.

Think about it, Hyundai.
* Dave Barry does have a sewage-lifting station named after him. A far as I can gather, he did not pay for this honor either.

** Between the public toilets and the baseball field, the Yubari authorities obviously have a sequencing problem.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.