Festival Offers Latest in Japanese Pop Culture

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Silent Siren

Silent Siren

SAN FRANCISCO — The annual J-Pop Summit, hosted by Superfrog Project, will be held from July 22 to 24.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

This Japanese cultural festival has been held in San Francisco every summer since 2009. By introducing the latest in Japanese music, fashion, film, art, games, tech-innovations, anime, and food, as well as niche subcultures, the festival has become a landing platform for new trends from Japan. The festival is also getting attention as an effective opportunity for promotion and entry point into U.S. markets.

In 2014, the festival was held in Japantown and was attended by about120,000 in two days.

To kick off this year’s festivities, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu will give a special live concert performance on Friday, July 22, at the Regency Ballroom, 1290 Sutter St. She is one of Japan’s biggest pop and fashion stars and represents the dynamic fusion of Japanese pop culture, fashion and music.

The singer is currently marking her five-year anniversary as an artist with an international concert tour “KPP 5ive Years Monster World Tour 2016” supporting the release of her first retrospective album, “KPP Best.” Kyary Pamyu Pamyu was a headliner at the J-Pop Summit in 2013 and returns to San Francisco to celebrate her anniversary with fans.

Artwork by Kaori Wakamatsu

Artwork by Kaori Wakamatsu

J-Pop Summit 2016 continues Saturday and Sunday, July 23 and 24, at the historic Fort Mason Center, 2 Marina Blvd. (at Buchanan) in San Francisco’s Marina District. Attendees will experience a colorful assortment of Japanese pop-influenced culture, accented by ramen vendors, sake-tasting, and other attractions to be complemented by celebrity guests of honor, anime programming, cosplay and karaoke contests, and a wide assortment of vendors and other programming.

Sebastian Masuda, art director of Kawaii International

Sebastian Masuda, art director of Kawaii International

Musical guests during the weekend include the electronic dance group World Order; all-female pop rock band Silent Siren; pop house unit Wednesday Campanella; idol dance troupe Tokyo Performance Doll; kimono cosplay duo Yanakiku; and ani-pop duo GARNiDELiA.

Guests of honor include popular illustrator Kaori Wakamatsu; visual pop artist Hiroyuki-Mitsume Takahashi; artist Ken Hamazaki a.k.a. “The Red Man”; Japan’s drag royalty and singer Mitz Mangrove; and Japan’s favorite, Go-Torch Characters.

NHK World, an international broadcasting service and one of J-Pop Summit 2016’s sponsors, will host events at its booth. These events include cooking demonstrations with “Dining with the Chef” TV personalities Chef Tatsuo Saito and host Yu Hayami, as well as pop culture provocateur Sebastian Masuda and the iconic Japanese character mascot Domo.

The expanded Travel Pavilion will feature “Japankuru’s Virtual Trip,” where guests can dive deep into Japanese culture and “visit” three zones (Zone Tokyo, Zone Station, Zone Stage) featuring interactive experiences showcasing what makes Japan a travelers’ delight, fusing the past, present and future.

Mitz Mangrove

Mitz Mangrove

Attendees are invited to take part in or just witness the fun spectacles of the J-Pop Idol karaoke contest (judged by Silent Siren), the Odottemitta Dance Contest, and the popular Cosplay Masquerade. J-Pop Summit also announces the first-ever “J-Pop Queen” drag contest, hosted by San Francisco’s most sought-after gay icon, D’Arcy Drollinger.

Sake Summit, a two-day sake-tasting celebration, is joining the J-Pop Summit. Prominent sake-makers and distributors from Japan and the U.S. will gather and serve the finest of sake, cocktails and other drinks from Japan.

A variety of affordable ticket options and VIP packages will give attendees the maximum amount of flexibility to customize a memorable J-Pop Summit experience. For more information, visit www.j-pop.com.

Concurrently, the 2016 Japan Film Festival of San Francisco (JFFSF), the first and only fully dedicated Japanese film celebration for the Bay Area, opens July 23 and runs through Sunday, July 31, at New People Cinema, located inside New People, 1746 Post St. in Japantown. This year’s JFFSF proudly presents a broad collection of current and acclaimed Japanese cinema, a total of 15 films, across a variety of genres such as action, sci-fi, documentary, anime, shorts, live music, kabuki theatre, crime mystery, and family drama. For more information, visit http://JFFSF.org.

Chef Tatsuo Saito and Yu Hayami of "Dining with the Chef."

Chef Tatsuo Saito and Yu Hayami of “Dining with the Chef.”

TPDomo, a new unit consisting of NHK mascot Domo and idol group Tokyo Performance Doll, will kick off J-Pop Summit at Fort Mason Center as the opening cardio workout at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday with their new exercise, “Domobics.”

TPDomo, a new unit consisting of NHK mascot Domo and idol group Tokyo Performance Doll, will kick off J-Pop Summit at Fort Mason Center as the opening cardio workout at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday with their new exercise, “Domobics.”

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