SAN FRANCISCO — The 2013 J-Pop Summit Festival, San Francisco’s annual celebration of Japanese pop culture, music, fashion and film, celebrates its fifth anniversary by announcing its expansion – to Union Square – as it celebrates this year’s theme, “Make Kawaii Universal,” with a special live concert on Sunday, July 28, from 2 to 4 p.m., featuring one of Japan biggest J-pop stars – Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.
Presented in partnership with Union Square Live, the festival will take downtown San Francisco by storm with “cute” J-pop as a complement to the festival’s core location, Japantown. A variety of live bands, fashion shows, anime and live-action film premieres, guest-of-honor appearances, vendors and a special Pop Gourmet Sake Tasting event are scheduled for July 27 and 28. Additional details on festival events and programming are available at www.J-POP.com.
An integral part of this year’s theme, “kawaii” is a universally celebrated Japanese word that means “cute” or “loveable” and has become a prominent aspect of modern Japanese popular culture, expressed prominently in fashion, music, anime, games, characters, and cosmetics. The word has also become part of daily youth vernacular and is widely used to comment on style and fashion.
“The celebration of the J-Pop Summit spreads beyond Japantown this year and we are very excited to bring a special edition of the festival to Union Square, led by one of Japan’s biggest pop stars, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu,” says Seiji Horibuchi, president/CEO of New People Inc. and chairman of the J-Pop Summit Festival Committee. “By having this opportunity to present the essence of kawaii culture to a mainstream and demographically diverse area of the city, we hope to deliver the spirit and creativity of this unique pop culture phenomenon to even more people.”
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu personifies the style and sound of Tokyo’s fashion Mecca — Harajuku.
Born in Tokyo in 1993, she began as a model for several Harajuku fashion magazines when she was still in high school and her unique looks and bizarre language and behavior caught Japan’s — and soon the world’s — attention. She released her major debut, “Moshi Moshi Harajuku,” in August 2011 from Warner Music Japan, and the music video for its single “Ponponpon” has been played over 50 million times on YouTube. Her first full album, “Pamyu Pamyu Revolution,” was released in May 2012.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu began a world tour in February and released her sixth single, “Invader Invader,” in May.
The Union Square concert will also feature Una, Kylee and Daichi.
Una was formerly a charismatic shop assistant in Harajuku and began her modeling career as a model by getting a snapshot taken by a fashion magazine in 2010. It didn’t take her long to begin appearing regularly in numerous fashion magazines. With her beautiful looks, edgy style, and perfectly balanced body proportions, she represents a new type of Harajuku model capable of expressing not only kawaii style but also showcasing other cool aspects of Harajuku culture.
This iconic figure of the Harajuku street scene will debut her first musical single, “Juicy Juicy,” on Aug. 14.
Kylee, an upbeat 19-year-old pop singer/songwriter currently signed to Sony Music Japan, has become a fast-rising multicultural star that is developing a major following in both the U.S. and Japan. She has been featured in the U.S. on the “Today Show,” and her second single, “missing/IT’S YOU,” released in 2010, was featured heavily in a commercial for online apparel retailer Nissen.
She performed for an audience of more than 50,000 people at a Major League Baseball game 2011 and has also sung for President Barack Obama.
Daichi, a 22-year-old Japanese human beat-box, began teaching himself his amazing skill beginning at the young age of 10. Without using any instruments or machines, he can make more than 50 different sounds using his voice, and moreover, can play rhythm beat and sing melody at the same time.
Known internationally for his talents, he has opened for the likes of Boys II Men and collaborated with numerous singers, dancers, DJs and performers.
Founded in 2005, Union Square Live brings free music, dance, circus, theater, outdoor movies and other entertainment to Union Square Park for everyone’s enjoyment. Held April through October, most programs are presented on Wednesdays at 12:30 and 6 p.m. and on Sundays at 2 p.m.
The J-Pop Summit Festival is hosted by New People, located at 1746 Post St., in cooperation with the Japantown Merchants Association. In 2012, the two-day event attracted 65,000 attendees.