February 22, 2022
Fukuyama signs twin cities agreement with Gotham City, home of The Batman.
Fukuyama goes one beyond building a giant Gundam statue to protect the city of roses in the east of Hiroshima Prefecture.
“If anything should happen to Fukuyama City, Batman will be there to protect us at a moment’s notice.”
Naomi Edahiro, Mayor of Fukuyama City
The city has signed a friendship city agreement with the city of Gotham, the hometown of comic book hero Batman. It is a first in the “history” of the fictional city.
If it all seems a bit batty, there is some reason to this madness. The emblem of Fukuyama City is actually a bat (kind of strange looking bat, but a bat nonetheless) and the location of Fukuyama Castle which celebrates its 400th anniversary this year was one called “Bat Mountain”.
Although Fukuyama has pushed its association with roses heavily in recent decades take a close look at that very Japanese signifier of town spirit – the humble manhole – and you will indeed see bat motifs incorporated into the various designs.
The signing of the friendship deal on Monday February 21 at the Warner Bros Japan office in Tokyo is sure to drum up some local interest in the release of the latest movie incarnation of the masked avenger The Batman to be released on March 11. Reports also say that the sign of the bat will be beamed into the sky above Fukuyama every night between March 7 and March 27.
Let’s hope they don’t get more than they bargained for when Gotham sends its delegation to the city’s annual Rose Festival when it returns after the pandemic.