J-Pop Summit Festival to Feature Actor/Comedian Rome Kanda

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SAN FRANCISCO — The 2012 J-Pop Summit Festival has announced that it will welcome Japanese actor/comedian Rome Kanda for a special in-person appearance on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 25-26.

Rome Kanda

Kanda, who is known for his quirky 2008 comedy reality show, “MAJIDE! I Survived a Japanese Game Show,” comes to the J-Pop Summit for a stage appearance and autograph session to promote his new biographical digital manga series, “Samurai Spirit: The Story of Rome Kanda,” which will be soon available in English for the Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod touch as well as Android-enabled devices.

Kanda is scheduled to appear on the Main Pagoda Stage, located in Japantown’s Peace Plaza on Post and Buchanan streets, on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m., to be followed by an autograph session at the New People tent.

He will also do a fun samurai performance on the stage with audience members. J-Pop Summit attendees that are interested in joining him for the live performance should check in at backstage with festival staff 30 minutes prior to the performance.

For more details, visit www.j-pop.com.

“I’m looking forward to my appearance at the 2012 J-Pop Summit Festival and I invite everyone to attend and also catch my special free samurai show,” says Kanda. “I appreciate the opportunity to meet attendees and debut my new digital manga biography, ‘Samurai Spirit.’“

Image from "Samurai Spirit: The Story of Rome Kanda." (FreeHand)

He started in show business as an actor and went on to appear in numerous films and TV shows in Japan before eventually moving to the United States. He gained further notoriety after he began doing comedy routines at venues like L.A.’s iconic Comedy Store.

Kanda was later cast as the emcee for the reality series “I Survived a Japanese Game Show,” which ran in the U.S. in 2008 on ABC and followed a group of American contestants as they tried their luck on a quirky Japanese TV game show. The show ran for two seasons and was awarded the Rose d’Or (Golden Rose) at the Global Entertainment Television Festival, one of the most important international events for entertainment television.

Kanda was also known as the manic host of the hit G4 television series “Unbeatable Banzuke”; he has appeared on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “Saturday Night Live” and was featured in films, including Takeshi Kitano’s “Sonatine” and “The Informant,” which was directed by Steven Soderbergh and starred Matt Damon.

His amazing life experiences are depicted in “Samurai Spirit,” an ongoing digital manga series developed by FreeHand, one of the leading comic/manga production companies based in Tokyo that specializes in comics planning, production and advertisement. The series features artwork by Sho Wakasa and is produced by Ryo Kurashina, who is well-known in the Japanese manga industry for bestselling series such as “Jo-Tei” (Empress), “Ya-Oh” (King of Night) and “Jo-Oh” (Queen of Queens.) “Samurai Spirit” currently runs seven chapters that are available for only 99 cents each. Additional chapters will debut shortly.

The J-Pop Summit Festival is an annual Japanese pop culture celebration that features live bands and artists from Japan, panel discussions, film premieres, fashion and DJ dance events, and celebrity appearances. The festival is hosted by New People, 1746 Post St. in Japantown, in cooperation with the Japantown Merchants Association. In 2011, the two-day event attracted 55,000 attendees.

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