Last week, the small town of Hokuei in the Tohaku District of Tottori Prefecture (in Southern Honshu) seen some big activities and fanfare as the normally quiet little town played host to a visiting foreign guest – the infamous and popular American comedian and talk-show host Conan O’Brien!

©2018 The Sankei Shimbun & SANKEI DIGITAL © Conan O’Brien

Hokuei Town – otherwise nicknamed “Conan Town” – is the birthplace and hometown of mangaka Gosho Aoyama – who wrote and illustrated the famous “Detective Conan” manga series that have subsequently seen numerous multi-media adaptations like games, animated movies and a whole slew of merchandises and collaborations, etc. Not forgetting his roots, Aoyama-sensei  made good use of his creation’s fame to bring fame to his hometown; and the town naturally responded in kind, as we previously reported about there being live-size “Detective Conan” statues set up in Tottori Sand Dunes Conan Airport – which is located not far from Hokuei Town.

This fame, however caught the attention of American comedian and talk-show host Conan O’Brien, and he mentioned in both his show “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and his twitter account that he ought to “visit the town to settle once and for all, whom the ‘Real Conan’ really is”.


Upon arrival at the small town, however, things did not progress as seriously as it all seemed.  O’Brien was even given a sash and made “Honorary Samurai” and “One-Day Mayor” by Mayor Akio Matsumoto himself. To reciprocate the kind gesture, O’Brien jokingly presented the mayor a “Miss Iowa” sash, and the two went about town – tagged along with an entire entourage of the town fathers, grassroots leaders and of course, the media – the whole day wearing their respective sashes. ‘Honorary One-Day-Mayor’ O’Brien was pictured posing with ‘Miss Iowa’ Matsumoto in front of a statue of Conan Edokawa, the main protagonist of the “Detective Conan” series. He also carried out his mayor-ly duties and served 1,000 burgers to the people of Conan Town who have turned out enmasse to witness and welcome their foreign guest; as well as greet some school children he met en-route his tour of the town.

©2018 The Sankei Shimbun & SANKEI DIGITAL © Conan O’Brien
©2018 The Sankei Shimbun & SANKEI DIGITAL © Conan O’Brien

The short visit ended on an amiable note and no actual war broke out between the parties involved. O’Brien himself thinks the place is great, the people are nice, and he totally enjoyed his short stay and care in their awesome hospitality! The Governor of Tottori Prefecture, Shinji Hirai, even put up an honorary traditional parasol dance at the airport before O’Brien was due to fly off to other destinations of his Japan visit.

© Conan O’Brien

Readers who wish to read up more on the visit may refer to this Japan Times article; as well as Conan O’Brien’s own twitter account where he has personally posted photos of his visit.