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Speechless: Rumors swirling about Japanese onsen resort steaming Lady Gaga

Shukan Jitsuwa Sep. 27
Shukan Jitsuwa Sep. 27

A promotion venture for an onsen hot spring resort in Ishikawa Prefecture that nicked the name of Lady Gaga is rumored to be raising the ire of the pop diva, reports weekly tabloid Shukan Jitsuwa (Sep. 27).

Since October of last year, the Kaga Onsen area shrewdly modified the pop singer’s name to Lady Kaga in creating a welcoming service in which women dressed in traditional kimono garb provide tours to visitors. The group’s Web site says, “The Kaga woman holds the heart of hospitality.”

The magazine suspects that the Kaga Onsen area believed that the diva would not find a problem with the project given her support for Japan following the Great East Japan Earthquake in March of last year. In June, evening tabloid Tokyo Sports mentioned a potential suit from the Lady Gaga camp.

The organization, which is prolific on Twitter and Facebook, has 180 ladies on its books. For a fee of between 1,000 and 1,500 yen, a trip to an accompanied local shrine or forested area or a boating excursion can be arranged.

“The number of male tourists has increased,” says an employee at a big-name travel company. “So far, the rumor of the lawsuit has not done any damage to the campaign.”

The group intends to revitalize the local economy. The gimmick is not the first time a region utilized its name in a promotional venture. In Yanagase, Gifu Prefecture, the modern tale of the Kuchisake-onna (the slit-mouthed woman) features prominently in a promotional venture. “Am I beautiful?” asks the Web site, referring to the phrase that the woman supposedly uttered while armed with a pair of scissors. Though supposedly cited nationwide, the myth of the Kuchisake-onna was first reported in the newspaper now known as the Gifu Shimbun in the late 1970s.

Shukan Jitsuwa says that thus far it is likely not a case of a “Bad Romance” between Kaga and Gaga.

“As of now, Lady Gaga herself is not aware of the matter,” says a writer covering the entertainment business, insinuating that a suit in fact is not pending.

Source: “Lady ‘Gaga’ ga ‘Kaga’ ni kureeimu onsen gai de okita kokusai funso,” Shukan Jitsuwa (September 27, page 223)