J-pop Summit 2015 drew more than 32,000 people
The J-POP SUMMIT, the annual Japanese pop culture event held in San Francisco, returned for its seventh consecutive year and drew more than 32,000 people to various Festival-related events held around the city this past weekend.
The 2015 J-POP SUMMIT marked an important new step in its continuing evolution as it was presented for the first time as a ticketed attraction and was held in several new locations around San Francisco. Previously the festival, which began in 2009, took place as a free street fair-style event in the city’s Japantown district.
This year, J-POP SUMMIT was held at Fort Mason along with San Francisco’s first-ever SAKE and MATCHA SUMMITS, which took place in the city’s downtown Union Square Park. Additionally, a special opening night film screening event sponsored by MAZDA at the historic Castro Theatre presented its first Honorary Award to Actor Tadanobu Asano and launched the 2015 Japan Film Festival of San Francisco, which continues thru this Sunday, August 16th at the NEW PEOPLE Cinema in Japantown.
Showcasing the creativity, dynamism and diversity of Japanese pop culture, the 2015 J-POP SUMMIT notably added several new attractions and features to its programming, which also included live music, fashion exhibitions, manga, anime, games, pop up boutiques, art, film premieres, technology and pop travel-themed exhibits and a special roster of sake and matcha tea tasting events.
Compelling new J-POP SUMMIT exhibition features this year included an “Interactive Pavilion,” a first-of-its-kind showcase of cutting edge Japanese technology, consumer product design and innovation that waspresented with support and cooperation from the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) San Francisco Office. This was augmented by special series of technology-focused keynotes, panel discussions, “idea-thons,” and pitch events focusing on the burgeoning “Maker Movement” and the evolving Internet of Things (IoT) to be led by several notable technology luminaries from San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, and Japan.
A POP TRAVEL area was developed in cooperation with the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) and presented by 2015 J-POP SUMMIT sponsor, Global Daily to spotlight new and interesting sides of Japanese travel often overlooked by Western travelers and featured a “Ryokan Pavilion,” displaying the unique experience traditional Japanese inns offer visitors.
Organized by the J-POP SUMMIT Festival Committee and presented in partnership with a variety of leading Japanese and U.S. sake brands, brewers, distributors, and retailers, the 2015 SAKE SUMMIT UNION SQUARE featured multiple sake tasting booths in Union Square Park where attendees could sample wide range of premium Japanese sake and learn how to enjoy them with food-pairings. Also, the attendees enjoyed shochu – “Iichiko Bar FRUITS YUZU and UME” that won the double gold medal at the 2014 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Presented within a special area adjacent to the SAKE SUMMIT in Union Square Park, the J-POP SUMMIT’s first MATCHA SUMMIT contained a specially curated collection of premiere retailers and manufacturers of Japanese matcha products, including tea and Japanese desserts.
Notable Guests of Honor this year included actor Tadanobu Asano, DJ Ken Ishii, director Koji Morimoto and pop illustrator Yusuke Nakamura. Live music from an array of rock and pop acts was headlined by anime music super group, JAM Project, and also featured Japan’s top techno DJ, Ken Ishii, along with musical sets by Eir Aoi, Gacharic Spin, Faint★Star, FES★TIVE, FEMM, Little Glee Monster, YANAKIKU, Anamanaguchi, Jinny Oops!, and the Akabane Vulgars on Strong Bypass. Comedy duo Jaru Jaru also made its U.S debut. Additionally, Go-torch characters such as Chissai Ossan, Sanasenabona and Koakkuma and Akkuma made the crowd erupt.
Fashion events were highlighted by a brand new edition of the MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON Festival. Presented by longtime J-POP SUMMIT sponsor ASOBISYSTEM, MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON 2015 programming featuredHarajuku icon and designer, Ayumi Seto, producer and designer of Aymmy in the batty girls, the J-Pop icons and jouetie apparel brand producers, AMIAYA, along with Ani-song princess Anna Yano, and the pop idol dance unit, Musubizm.