Caron Cooper Outside Fosse Farmhouse Castle CombePhoto - Caron Cooper B&B Owner Outside Fosse Farmhouse Castle Combe

Guest blog by Caron Cooper

We got in touch with Caron Cooper at Fosse Farmhouse in Castle Combe to find out about her fascinating story and the inspiration behind Japanese anime at the farmhouse which has been a massive success story and main attraction for Japanese visitors. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at Fosse Farmhouse

My name is Caron Cooper and I run Fosse Farmhouse in Castle Combe. Previously I had an amazing career as an international DJ in my 20's and travelled around the world which was an incredible experience. When I finally decided to return to the UK, I wanted to find a place in the country side that I could escape to. Although I was born and raised in London the city no longer held any attraction for me so I simply headed out on the M4 and arrived in Bath - which was just perfect. I found a Farmhouse that was being sold at auction near Castle Combe and decided to attend   - however I never really considered that I would actually be the successful purchaser - but I was!

Fosse Farmhouse as it Appears in the AnimePhoto - Fosse Farmhouse as it appears in the Anime

What is the story behind Fosse Farmhouse?

The Farmhouse needed a huge amount of restoration which I had not accounted for. At that time, I traded antiques at Portobello Road Antiques Market every weekend departing at 2am to arrive by 4am.

One day there was a knock at my door. ‘Hello where is Castle Combe?’. My reply was ’would you like to have a cup of tea?’ Thank goodness that I did as this was a photographer for Country Living Magazine whom went on to give me a four-page feature which was amazing!

How did this help put Fosse Farmhouse in the spotlight? 

When Country Living was published the B&B really took off. Although I was located near to Castle Combe - one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds it was still relatively undiscovered at that time. I was still dealing in Portobello Road and took the magazine with me to show my customers.

One Saturday a Japanese couple stopped at my stall and immediately recognised Fosse Farmhouse in the magazine as they had read the article in Japan. I was astonished that the publication was sold in Japan and I immediately invited them to visit me for a cream tea the following day. They did,and this is how my connection with Japan began 30 years ago.

 What was the inspiration for Japanese anime at Fosse Farmhouse?

When the Japanese couple Shozo and Yasuko Mitani returned to Japan they put the photographs that they had taken at Fosse Farmhouse at the entrance to their B&B to show all their customers.

This was pre - internet don’t forget so the only form of introduction then was by word of mouth. Soon I was getting faxes and phone calls from their Japanese guests wanting to stay here. The Mitani’s invited me to visit them in Japan - which I did the following year.

Their B&B was filled with British Antiques and had a tearoom where I was invited to bake scones and meet the customers. I loved the experience and from that time have visited Japan on a regular basis.

The Cameraman Tomo from GENCO StudioPhoto - The Cameraman Tomo from GENCO Studio

How did the connection with Japanese media develop?

I was invited to participate in a British Fair in Tokyo that was organised by the British Embassy and soon I was being interviewed by Japanese magazines and TV.

I have since published 2 books in Japan and welcomed the Japanese Imperial Royal Family to Fosse Farmhouse who stayed at my B&B for three nights on a private visit in 1994. In 2012 I was contacted by a travel agent in Tokyo whom I had met on one of my previous visits.

Her client GENCO are an animation company based in Tokyo. GENCO were looking for Cotswold farmhouse to use as a filming location and she had recommended me! I was curious as to why an animation story needed to be filmed at an actual place and she explained that if it existed then it became real in the fan’s eyes.

What happened next? 

The director and producer visited in September 2012, they filmed all the rooms and the garden and even my vintage Morris Minor that was parked outside. Each frame was then drawn by hand by a team of 300 studio artists in Tokyo. In 2014 the first series of KINIRO - MOSAIC also known as KINMOZA! was broadcast on Japanese TV.

It has become incredibly popular and is viewed by over 5 million fans a week.  Other locations that feature in it are the canal bridge at Bathampton, Kemble station, Cirencester and Bibury. The third series will begin production next year (2019).  

I have become quite a celebrity in Japan and was invited to the premier of the film of the anime 'Pretty Days' which was released in 2016. I walked the red carpet with the voice actresses and signed many autographs for waiting fans.

Caron’s 1854 Morris Minor that has a staring role in KINMOZA!  Photo - Caron’s 1854 Morris Minor that has a staring role in KINMOZA!

Do you get lots of fans visiting?

The fans from all over the world now visit Fosse Farmhouse on a continual basis to stay in the B&B bedrooms and holiday cottages that they have seen in the anime.  Most of the fans are in their 20's & 30's and many have never visited England before.

I am delighted that the animation has inspired them to come and I'm thrilled to have been involved in such a successful production.


What’s your proudest moments?

My incredible story won the "AA B&B STORY OF THE YEAR" 2018. Plus, now I’m very famous in Japan. The animation filmed at Fosse Farmhouse is called 'Kiniro Mosaic' also known as KINMOSA! has 5 million fans watching at the present time. The image below is really special as the ladies in it are incredibly famous in Japan. On the left is Risa Tanaka and on the right is Yuri Yamaoka.

Japanese Anime at Fosse Farmhouse Castle Combe

Photo - Anime Character Alice Cartelet (middle) with Voice Actresses Risa Tanaka & Yuri Yamaoka - Sony Augemented Reality App 


Do you have any hidden gems in Wiltshire?

My hidden gems in Wiltshire would be Biddestone - the duck pond and sitting outside the village pub in the summer watching the Chippenham Morris dancers perform is very special.

I also love Corsham Court as it houses the most incredible collection of art work outside of the National Galleries.

What an amazing story! Find out more about Fosse Farmhouse and book your stay here. Plus, if this has inspired to discover more about Japanese anime then visit here.

Here's a small snippet of Kiniro Mosaic!  

Kiniro Mosaic - Alice Character Song きみいろスノウフレーク from Inori Sakura on Vimeo.

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