City in western Japan says tourist ‘princess’ can now be of any gender

A western Japanese city that has held annual competitions to recruit single female “princesses” to serve as tourism ambassadors will drop the gender requirement starting this year, in a move organizers say out of “consideration for changing times.

The tourist office in Kashihara, Nara prefecture, said it would retain the title “Princess Sarara” but would open the recruitment process to anyone aged 18 or over who lives, studies or works in the city. prefecture, excluding high school students. It will also remove the single status requirement.

The photo provided taken in August 2021 shows three people previously chosen to fill the role of Princess Sarara’s tourism ambassador in the city of Kashihara, Nara prefecture. (Photo courtesy of Kashihara City Tourism Association)(Kyodo)

The title Princess Sarara refers to Uno no Sarara, Empress Jito’s name before her ascension to the throne. The reigning empress created Fujiwara-kyo – Japan’s first planned capital which served as the center of government from 694 to 710 and whose site is now occupied by Kashihara.

Previously, the ambassador was recruited as Kashihara Campaign Lady, but the title was changed in 2009. “We hope that many people, regardless of gender, will apply for this position so that we can publicize the attractions of the city,” a board official said. said.

The application deadline is May 6. Three people will be chosen to fill the role at events taking place over approximately 30 days per year.

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