Mobilityland; Japan’s American Propaganda Theme Park
Posted on October 17, 2010
Mobilityland is a multi-purpose, sprawling complex built by the Honda Motor Company and located in the town of Motegi in eastern Tochigi prefecture.
The centerpiece, the Twin Ring, concerns two racing courses: Super Speedway, an American style oval course and Road Course, with its European layout and flavor.
Opened in 1997, this theme park is considered a sort of Disneyland; it seats about 60,000, houses an automotive museum, a luxury hotel, a kids’ play land and many interactive driving exhibits.
But Mobilityland is not what it seems to be on the surface; it is in fact, a simulated shadow, an imitation theme park re-envisioned and presented to a Japanese audience.
Mobilityland is unlike other amusement parks that are basically under the thumb of the mass-media conglomerates that own them, supporting themselves through ticket sales and merchandising.
Although owned by Honda, Mobilityland doesn’t promote or sell cars made by Honda. There are no showrooms on the premises and very little Honda racing equipment for sale.
This odd fact is understood only when the larger picture is clearly seen. Mobilityland promotes a lifestyle and not a brand. That lifestyle is an alien one in Japan that is known as American culture.
“The park was built to offer the new mobility culture of American motor-sports to the Japanese people. Judging from the packed house at the Indy Car race, they’ve accepted,” according to the English version of the company’s website.
Mobilityland is a parody; an absurd celebration of Americanism. It’s not just the spirit of racing and adventure or the joy of American car culture and freedom that has run amuck here. It is the indiscriminate totality of everything red and white and blue that would have embarrassed even George Washington.
The small and ancient town of Motegi is the site of the” Motegi Supaamerikansandesutorito, which translates roughly into “Super American Sunday Car Parade.”
This automotive swap meet provides a venue for Japanese collectors to display their American classical cars, but the real motivation is the absurd opportunity to “fully enjoy the day as an American.”
Fans sport American-style race gear and motifs like Woody Woodpecker, Felix the Cat, Mickey and Minnie Mouse and almost every American product brand logo imaginable.
If you can imagine the people of a small US town attempting to stage an authentic sumo-wrestling match, you could say that you got the idea but not the reasoning behind this odd demonstration.
What is going on here anyway?