Hyper Japan Website: http://hyperjapan.co.uk/
If you love traditional or popular Japanese culture then you will love Hyper Japan. For many of us the Hyper Japan convention is as close as we can get to visiting Japan and this year it’s going to be even bigger and better. It’s moved to the O2 arena and I’m really excited to see how the change of location will affect the convention. In particular I’m looking forward to seeing all the cute fashionistas, the fashion shows and buying a whole load of cute stuff but they have managed to get some top music artists to come to the UK as well. There’s even a special Japan music night featuring VAMPS coinciding with it too. I really hope this is a sign of things to come and the convention will continue to grow and attract all sorts of Japanese artists, traders, acts and businesses. It’s really exciting.
Hyper Japan doesn’t just cover Anime, Manga and Cosplay like a lot of conventions, it really is about Japan on a whole. It features contemporary and traditional Japanese art, music, fashion, film, martial arts, food and goods. It really is the place to go if you have any interest in Japan. There are even stands there dedicated to helping you plan your trip or advice on where you can learn the language. I went through the Hyper Japan website and tried to highlight some of the main things happening, it’s so big this year that it took a really long time and I’m sure I’ve missed things. They still have more to announce!! Anyway, here is a rough guide of what’s happening, I hope you find it helpful 🙂
Food & Drink –
If Japanese food is your thing then you should check out the EAT-JAPAN area which will have a range of stalls selling drinks, food, deserts, alcoholic beverages, sweets etc.
There’s also the separately ticketed area called the Sake Experience which is Europe’s largest public tasting event for sake, there you can learn more about Sake and sample a variety of Japanese Sake’s.
Sake Experience: http://hyperjapan.co.uk/latest-news/quality-japanese-brews-return-for-the-sake-experience-2015-at-hyper-japan-festival/
Hyper Japan tries to offer variety so they have booked a range of artists for this year’s event. There’s the more traditional with Hibiki Ichikawa and Akari Mochizuki. J-Pop with Heisei Kotohime, Less than Love and Tokyo Girls’ Style and idol groups Honey Spice and Dempagumi.inc. If Visual Kei & J-Rock is more your thing then you should check out ONE NOT’E, LOST ASH and VANIRU. Gothic lolita’s Die Milch bring a modern twist to classic music and TOMOCA adds some Wa-Pop. There’s even a touch of R&B with ILU GRACE. Then if that’s still not enough there’s singer May J. who not only is the main host of NHK Worlds J-MELO, has sold thousands of CD’s, is multilingual and has performed all over the world she also sang the end credits version of “Let It Go” in the Japanese release of Frozen! Then, if songs from Anime are more your thing, they have singer Eir Aoi performing who has had an impressive number of songs featured in anime openings and endings. Exciting! It’s also just been announced that YOSHIKI and TOSHI of X JAPAN are going to be doing a special un-plugged performance which is HUGE. X JAPAN are pretty much the pioneers of Visual Kei and are the biggest rock band in Japan!!
JAPAN NIGHT is a separate event, you can get a discount on tickets if you are attending Hyper Japan. This year HYPER JAPAN will be teaming up with JAPAN NIGHT, a J-rock event which showcases Japanese artists at venues around the world! VAMPS are the headlining act.
JAPAN NIGHT: http://hyperjapan.co.uk/latest-news/vamps-and-more-j-rock-bands-in-japan-night-at-hyper-japan/
Hyper Japan will have a large gaming area where Nintendo will be showcasing their newest titles as well as having a range of classic favourites available to play. There will also be card gaming available and in the HYPER Maid Café not only will you be able to have a selection of sweet treats and ice cream but there will be a host of retro videogames and boardgames to play. Other activities in the cafe will include things like origami, drawing, singing and dancing along with the maids.
Anime & Manga –
Not only can you meet and chat with other fans but there will be a range of exhibitors selling merchandise and the latest publications as well as events taking place. They also have the Japan Anima(tor)’s Exhibition which will be showing a range of short films that will showcase new talent and which artists to expect great things from down the road. There will also be a range of seminars taking place with top industry professionals discussing ‘Things you’ve always wanted to know about anime’, ‘How is the music used in anime and games produced?’ and ‘Let’s sing anime songs together!’. There’s even a replica of the Colossal Titan’s head from Attack on Titan. Japan Authors’ gallery KAORI aims to spread word of some outstanding manga writers, novelists and artists whose works could be seen as representative of Japanese culture. They’ll be showcasing a top selection of wonderfully talented people at their HYPER JAPAN Festival booth.
Cosplaying is always welcomed at Hyper Japan and this year along side the usual COSParade there will be a photo booth to document your costume and Cosplayer Tables where guest cosplayers will be on hand to give tips, advice and hold informal discussions.
In the culture area you will find traditional clothing, including the kimono, accessories, home wares and other Japanese goods for sale. Travel companies giving you advice and information about visiting Japan and language schools to help you find a place in the UK to learn Japanese.
Hyper Kawaii –
My favourite area! This area is where you will be able to shop for everything cute from clothing, accessories, jewellery, home wares, plush toys and more. The HYPER J-Style Collection will be holding fashion shows featuring Japanese clothing brands and showcasing street fashion trends worn by Japanese fashionistas here.
Dance troupe Takarabune will be performing. Katanaya-Ichi are a sword fighting troupe who will be showcasing their skills. Mukoangie are a comedy duo act who will be sure to entertain and Japanese company ITK will be back to showcase their newest version of the Handroid. Takamasa Sakurai, a leading expert on Japanese anime, fashion and music as methods of cultural exchange, will be giving a special presentation on the global success of Japanese idols – you should look up some of the articles he has written online, very interesting and insightful. I’m really glad that he will be attending this year.