Yama no Susume Guestbook – Hanno Central Community Center – No. 11 (Jan 2018 – Aug 2019)


Guestbooks are often left out by the staff or owners of anime-significant locations for anime fans making pilgrimages there to sign, both as a way to memorialize that they were there, as well as a way to leave messages and tributes to the show for other fans to see.

However, these places can be difficult to find and access, especially for short-term visitors to the country, and when one does finally make a trek to these locations, that is usually just one of many stops that they plan to make that day, so who exactly has the time to sit down and look through all the messages and pretty drawings in the guestbooks, especially if one isn’t familiar with the language? Not to mention all the fans that have no way to make a long and expensive trip to Japan. In addition, in all cases that I know of, the book isn’t backed up or preserved in any way, so what happens to the feelings and memories people have written down if a book gets destroyed, lost, stolen, or otherwise damaged?

Japan seems to likes their ephemeralness in general, but as an archivist, I strongly disagree — especially with public books like this. These are potentially important first-hand historical sources of anything from people’s writing styles and sentence structures of these times, to the societal ebb and flow of people coming and going to these places before, during, and after a corresponding anime season airs, or as the parent building undergoes closures or renovations, or as COVID prevents overseas visitors (and thus people writing in English) from making these pilgrimages, and so on. The guestbooks showcase everything from heartfelt messages of what the show means to them, lovely drawings of people’s favourite characters, business cards from artists, and people from all over the world wanting to leave a small mark of their trip and their love of the show behind.

These guestbooks aren’t strictly an anime phenomenon, but the vast majority of the ones I know about are anime-related, and at any rate that’s where my interests lie, so that’s what I have been trying to archive so far. I do not believe there’s any other site currently doing this sort of archival, although I haven’t done an exhaustive search, and it’s even okay if there is.

Once I upload enough of these guestbooks, I might split this introduction off to a separate page linking them all together. But for now, it can live on this page as this is the first guestbook that I have archived and uploaded.

About this guestbook

This guestbook was located in Hanno (Hannou, 飯能市) Central Community Center in Hanno, Saitama, and was labelled No. 11, implying there was a 1-10 as well. Those guestbooks were not accessible to the public on the day that I visited though, and I didn’t have time to ask. I wrote a diary entry of my trip that day, and it can be separately found here.

This No. 11 guestbook contains messages roughly from January 2018 to August 2019. Also see:

ට  No. 12 guestbook

I scanned this book on Oct 27 2022, using the vFlat Scan app on a Google Pixel 5. It was actually the first full book scan I used the app for, and it’s not very good, but speed was as important as quality.


Page 2 — The first entry on the page is labelled H29.1.6, where H stands for Heisei — Heisei 29 in Japan corresponds to the year 2017. However, as the next and subsequent entries all use H30, or Heisei 30 (2018), and this entry was made on January 6th, this was probably a derp by the author who was too used to writing the previous year as part of the date rather than the new year. Especially since it’s the first entry in the book. We’ve all done this, yes?

Page 3 — I often skip blank pages if there are a bunch of them in a row, but at times when it’s just a blank page on the back of a page that was skipped due to the ink soaking through or something, and the subsequent page after that is also filled in, I usually just scanned it anyway.

Page 27-30 — Season 3 ended on Sep 25 2018, or H30 9/25 on page 30, and although Season 4 wasn’t officially announced until 2022, a new Yama no Susume anime project was apparently teased in as early as September 2019 (source) (local). But even before S3 ended, you can already see people clamouring for the next season even in just the rare English messages (8/30 — “We hope that season 4 will be announced soon!” and 9/23 — “MAY THE 4TH SEASON BE WITH YOU!”, etc.)

Page 60 — There’s an enormous leap in date here, from August 2019 right to February 2020, and I actually have seen this in quite a few guestbooks since. The reason is just that sometimes people don’t realize there’s a newer book for whatever reason, and sign off in the last few pages of a retired book instead. I don’t count these when figuring out when the end date of a book is.

Document dated: October 27 2022.

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