@ J-Pop Summit 2015. Photo by Dennis A. Amith, J!-ENT
It was another exciting year at J-Pop Summit in San Francisco. And with our interviews and article coming out soon, for now, please enjoy a few of our videos:
S.F.’s Annual Japanese Pop Culture Festival Partners With ASOBISYSTEM To Showcase Fast Rising Stars Of The Harajuku Fashion Scene With Model Runway Shows, Live Musical Performances, Karaoke Fun, Photo Sessions And Special Shopping Opportunities
San Francisco, CA, July 27, 2015 – The 2015 J-POP SUMMIT, the Japanese pop culture event held annually in San Francisco, partners with ASOBISYSTEM, the prominent entertainment company based in Harajuku, Tokyo widely known for developing the “Kawaii” fashion and music scene in Japan, to present a brand new edition of the MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON Project for this year’s Festival. The 2015 J-POP SUMMIT takes place on Saturday and Sunday August 8th & 9th at the historic Fort Mason Center in San Francisco’s Marina district.
Developed by the multi-faceted Japanese entertainment agency, ASOBISYSTEM, MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON seeks to promote Japanese pop culture and fashion on a truly global level. During the 2015 J-POP SUMMIT, the many colorful and creative sides of Japan’s vibrant pop and fashion culture will be showcased with an array of fashion shows, contests, live musical performances and autograph and meet-and-greet opportunities with some of the Japanese fashion world’s fastest rising stars.
Throughout the weekend, J-POP SUMMIT attendees to Fort Mason can enjoy a colorful assortment of Japanese pop-influenced culture, fashion, pop art, live music, technology, and travel that will be complemented by celebrity Guests of Honor, anime programming, cosplay and J-pop idol contests, and a wide assortment of vendors and other programming. Tickets and V.I.P Passes are available now at: www.J-POP.com.
MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON 2015 programming on-stage and in the booth area at J-POP SUMMIT will feature Harajuku 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, the pop idol dance unit, Musubizm, karaoke fun at the LIVE DAM booth, the timeless onigiri rice & seaweed snack at the ONIGIRAZU booth, an opportunity to dress up in a variety of J-Pop inspired costumes and participate in a photo session at the Pure booth, and additional “egg”-inspired photo session fun with Sanrio’s newest character sensation, GUDETAMA! There will also be opportunities to join meet & greets with the aforementioned guests, and to purchase a variety of exclusive apparel, accessories and gifts. Additional information on the MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON initiative is available at: http://moshimoshi-nippon.jp.
MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON Events & Special Guests of Honor
Ayumi Seto / Aymmy in the batty girls
Sat. August 8th; 2:00pm – 2:45pm at Main Stage with Fashion Show, Fort Mason Center /
Meet & Greet at MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON booth area (Check the J-POP Summit Show Schedule for Dates/Times)
Ayumi Seto is a trendsetting Japanese model and designer who has appeared in a number of popular Harajuku fashion magazines. She is known as one of the pioneers in a new fashion style called “Kidz Rock.” As a model, Ayumi’s unique fashion style has inspired legions of Harajuku girls. Following the release of her first fashion book titled, “AyumiKidz,” in October 2013, Ayumi launched her first clothing brand, “Aymmy in the batty girls,” in the Spring of 2014 and it has become one of the most popular fashion brands in the Harajuku scene. As the first brand to be directed by an aomoji-kei model, “Aymmy in the batty girls” offer a wide variety of items that reflect Ayumi’s colorful and edgy style. More information is available at: http://www.aymmy.com.
AMIAYA– Producers of jouetie apparel
Sat. August 8th; 2:00pm – 2:45pm at Main Stage with Fashion Show and Performance,
Fort Mason Center / Meet & Greet at MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON booth area (Check the J-POP Summit Show Schedule for Dates/Times)
The 2015 J-POP SUMMIT welcomes the apparel brand – jouetie – and its producers, AMIAYA, to this year’s event. Check out a styling exhibition done by the girls, as well as grab this chance to buy popular items that are only sold in Japan!
AMIAYA is composed of twin sisters that moved to Tokyo at the age of 15 and soon after became very active in the Harajuku fashion scene. After landing a shoot on an aomoji-style magazine, they quickly garnered a fan base that went on to replicate their unique way of dress and hairstyle, which has led them to become the latest Harajuku superstar models. The “AYA AMI BOOK” (Shufuno Tomosha) was released in July 2010 and has sold over 40,000 copies. The twins have also appeared on the cover of NYLON magazine and have penned a column for the publication.
Since their modeling career exploded, AMIAYA also have become the concept producers behind the apparel brand, “jouetie,” which has become popular not only in Japan but throughout Asia. In 2013, AMIAYA launched a music career with the release of their mini album, “TOKYO POP,” on Universal Music’s Far Eastern Tribe Records. AMIAYAʼs personal theme is “Tokyo x Stylish” (or “oshare” in Japanese), and the duo works to bring its brand of “real music” to a worldwide audience. Additional information on jouetie available at: http://jouetie.com; Additional information on AMIAYA is available at: http://amiaya.asobisystem.com.
Ani-Song Princess Anna Yano
Sat. August 8th; 2:00pm – 2:45pm at Main Stage with Live Performance, Fort Mason Center / Meet & Greet at MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON booth area (Check the J-POP Summit Show Schedule for Dates/Times)
With her cute smile and natural fashion and style, Anna Yano is known as a versatile artist and model who effortlessly pulls off any look, from her signature Kawaii style to extreme more Lolita looks. Also a featured vocalist, Anna released “Shape My Story” in August 2013, which was produced by kz (livetune), and was also selected in 2014 as a featured vocalist on kz’s solo project, “livetune.” This was soon followed by the release of “All Over,” another livetune production. Both of the tracks were later used as theme songs for popular anime series and garnered additional attention for Anna Yano among existing fans and anime fans alike. In 2014, Anna Yano traveled to six countries and seven cities across Europe and Asia to promote Harajuku culture as an artist and model. Her first photo book, “YANO ANNA: MADE IN HARAJUKU,” was released in 2015. Additional information available at: http://yanoanna.asobisystem.com/
Sat. August 8th; 2:00pm – 2:45pm at Main Stage with Live Performance, Fort Mason Center / Meet & Greet at MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON booth area (Check the J-POP Summit Show Schedule for Dates/Times)
Musubizm is an entertainment idol unit formed in 2014 by five members (Eru Shina, Rurika Miyajima, Misa Kimura, Nami Yamada, and Mai Imai) selected from a pool of candidates during the Spring 2014 “ASOBI SYSTEM IDOL PROJECT.” By embodying all flavors of Kawaii culture (adorable, cute, pop, fashionable, beautiful, and cool), Musubizm is a one-of-a-kind group that aims to spread Japanese kawaii culture globally, and is taking the international idol scene by storm. Currently, they have ventured out of Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan and are actively working to spread Kawaii culture all over the world. Musubizm will tie together Japanese kawaii culture and the world. Additional information is available at: http://musubizm.asobisystem.com.
Additional Attractions in MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON Area:
The MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON booth area offers attendees additional attractions about fresh Japanese pop culture and fashion!
MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON Booth
MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON runs an informative website as well as an information center in Harajuku – MOSHI MOSHI BOX – to spread the latest J-Pop culture. This booth version will sell cool Japanese gifts, including the shop’s bestselling KAWAii!! sunglasses and sushi socks.
Additional information is available at: http://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/box.html
J-POP SUMMIT attendees are invited to try on wide variety of costumes and take part in a photo session at the PURE booth. From Japanese school uniforms to rabbit and cat ears, attendees can try on all kinds of fun J-Pop inspired costumes and apparel. Select ensembles and accessories also will be available for purchase.
LIVE DAM Booth
Try out karaoke for free and sing the best selection of J-Pop tunes at the LIVE DAM booth!
The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries collaborates with the Moshi Moshi Nippon Project to present a free tasting event of Onigirazu at the 2015 J-POP Summit. Onigirazu is a version of the timeless onigiri rice and seaweed snack, but pressed into a colorful “sandwich” filled with an imaginative assortment of fillings. Onigirazu are characterized by their “Kawaisa” (cuteness) that is expressed through a myriad of vibrant and tasty fillings.
GUDETAMA is one of the latest character icons to join the Sanrio family! A popular “Egg” character that enjoys legions of adoring fans in Japan, GUDETAMA will be part of MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON with a photo session and Gudeeting (Gudetama’s Meet & Greet)! More information on GUDETAMA available at: www.sanrio.co.jp/character/gudetama.
This year, the J-POP SUMMIT offers a wide variety of programming including live concerts by top J-Pop and J-Rock artists on the J-POP SUMMIT Main Stage at Fort Mason and also at special “J-POP NIGHT LIVE” concerts on the evenings of Saturday August 8th and Sunday August 9th. The 2015 J-POP SUMMIT also presents a variety of special Guest of Honor appearances, the Bay Area’s first ever Japanese Interactive Technology and Travel pavilions, a SAKE SUMMIT taking place at Union Square, and an extensive roster of theatrical film premieres at NEW PEOPLE Cinema that launch the third annual Japan Film Festival of San Francisco (JFFSF). Complete details on key events and major attractions are available at: http://www.j-pop.com and www.JFFSF.org.
About J-POP SUMMIT
The J-POP SUMMIT is an annual Japanese Pop Culture celebration held in San Francisco, CA that features live bands and artists from Japan, pop culture panel discussions, film premieres, fashion shows and events, food and spirits, art, and celebrity appearances. Details on J-POP SUMMIT are available at www.J-POP.com.
Back in March, it was a big surprise for Japanese rock n’ roll fans when it was announced that rock band LUNA SEA was planning their own rock festival which would be held at Chiba’s Makuhari Messe International Exhibition Hall 1-4 on June 27 and 28.
And today, the performers were announced:
For more information, please visit the following website
From Anime Expo: We are excited to announce Momoiro Clover Z as a Guest of Honor at Anime Expo 2015. They will perform on Thursday, July 2nd at Nokia Theater L.A. LIVE and will be joined onstage by Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons of KISS as special Guests of Honor.
Momoiro Clover Z and KISS, collaborated on the single “Yume no Ukiyo ni Saitemina” released earlier this year. Momoiro Clover Z is also known for the theme songs of “Dragon Ball Z” and “Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal”. This Anime Expo concert marks the third time Momoiro Clover Z has performed internationally with previous performances in 2012 in France at Japan Expo and in Malaysia at HARI BELIA NEGARA.
Tickets will be released for sale in early June on the Anime Expo website:www.Anime-Expo.org
On May 2nd, J!-ENT traveled to Los Angeles to cover the 13th Korean Times Music Festival at the Hollywood Bowl.
Known for bringing A-list artists to America, it’s one of the more highly anticipated events to happen each year for K-Pop fans and this year did not disappoint.
The event would feature artists Bada, Kim Soohee, Kim Bum-soo, 쿨 (Cool), Oh Seung Geun, Kim Yonja, Han Heejun and Im Taekyung. The event would also feature popular pop groups TVXQ, APink, EXID and Got7.
During the day, the area is not as busy but there are various booths and nearly each of them give out a lot of cool swag. Here is a video I shot earlier during the day:
At the booths, Hyundai gave out swag bags with fans (as May in Los Angeles would be hot during the day, although a little chilly later at night) if you took a picture and posted a photo of their car and post it on social media with a hashtag. Also, an opportunity to win a variety of items. In my case, I had a choice between a carrying bag or calculator and I figured I needed a bag to carry the swag I would be carrying all day.
KIA had a similar offering where you take a picture of the car and post on social media and you will receive a bluetooth speaker.
CJ offered a bag which included a free DVD of the film “The Admiral: Roaring currents”. Nongshim had a spinning wheel which you can win a certain soup and a cool stationary book with pen, while H-Mart offered coupons and an awards card.
But there were a variety of booths that offered a lot of cool swag including glowsticks or inflatable swag for the concert.
Around mid afternoon is when the area becomes packed. Families come with their blankets and picnic baskets awaiting for the concert to start.
This was a very interesting sight for me because while the morning featured many people going in for the swag, the afternoon was more about the adults and families claiming their spots by bringing their blankets and literally staying there for the next few hours until the concert started.
And families really went all out in terms of bringing food and planning the ultimate picnic. While the kids and teenagers went to meet up with friends or partake in the booth activity, the adults sat drinking wine, beer and eating a variety of food. And at first I wondered why would they bring so much, until I learned during the concert that unlike other event areas where the union forbids anyone to bring their own food, at the Hollywood Bowl, although there are food venues, families were able to bring their food into the concert area, which was very cool.
By 5:00 p.m., many went to the concert where you went through bag check and they also gave out free bags for one to pick out and keep. You also can pay to get a seat pillow and I will say that I recommend getting one not only for comfort but also because I chose to wear white pants to this event, because the Hollywood Bowl is outdoors, the seats are affected by elements and you will get dirt or whatever on your clothing. So, I highly recommend not wearing white as chances are that your clothes are going to get dirty from the seat or the seat backs.
The host for the evening was Han Heejun (many may remember him from the 11th season of “American Idol”) and Hani of EXID (I did not know that Hani spoke fantastic English).
And I would have to say that this Korea Times Music Festival literally hit a grand slam this year as every artist was awesome. People of all ages enjoyed the performers and yes, even the older performers were able to get the younger crowds into the concert as well. There was amazing energy and people were interactive and into the concert, which was great to see.
The following are videos from the concert:
Overall, the event was fantastic! It was one of the best concert events that I have attended, and I don’t say that lightly considering I cover many concerts and performances every year. The Korea Times Music Festival is no doubt one of the well-produced, better financed Asian music festivals in the United States.
While certain people may have issues with young fans standing during their favorite artists performing (as I did notice one older couple dismayed), that is too be expected and you can either stand as well or like most people, look towards many of the big screens outside the Hollywood Bowl.
The location is perfect for concerts, the sound system is great (although it did cut off once during Han Heejun’s opening performance) and the concert ended with fireworks, which was great to see.
But for the most part, people were respectful, everyone had fun and the overall vibe from various people I talked to, was that the event was fantastic and I have to agree.
Of course, there are always negatives and in this case, it’s always the same thing with the Hollywood Bowl… leaving the parking area.
The parking at the Hollywood Bowl is about $25 as one can expect for a major event, there are pricier parking but while parking is easier during the day, it’s actually leaving the area at night that becomes more of a headache as the location becomes extremely congested and you can’t leave until the people parked in front or in the side of you leave. So, factor in about an extra hour of leaving the area, as leaving the parking structure will be your major hassle.
But outside of that, the event was magnificent and I can’t wait for 2016!
On August 23-24th, J!-ENT staff traveled to Pasadena for the fourth “Power Morphicon” event which takes place every two years.
An niche event that has slowly grown since 2007, Power Morphicon 4 was a major success with over 7,000 people in attendance.
While there were multiple panels keeping attendees entertained, here are videos from our coverage at Power Morphicon 2014. Our article and feature will be showcased in our upcoming annual issue in late October.
On September 11th through the 16th, members of AKB48G will take part in a comedy musical about a woman who tries to infiltrate the audition of AKB48. Meanwhile, other girls try their best to make it into the group.
The musical will take place at AIA Theater Tokyo and will star Miyazawa Sae, Suda Kaori, Matsumura Kaori and many more.
For more information, you can click here!
The 6th annual J-Pop Summit Festival returned to the beautiful confines of Union Square for a twilight exhibition of the top musical artists from Japan. On the heels of last year’s very successful matinee main event featuring Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, organizers succeeded in providing programming surpassing any other previous festival to date. The headlining show, dubbed J-Pop Live, featured singer/model Una, human beatboxer Daichi, idol group Tokyo Girls’ Style, former-AKB48 member Tomomi Itano, and vocalist May’n.
Starting the night off was Una, a Harajuku fashion icon who debuted as a singer just one year prior. Donning an incredible yukata-like outfit befitting of a charismatic Aomoji-kei queen, she sparkled in her performance of her heavily electro-pop setlist, including her debut single “Juicy-Juicy”.
Next on stage was the return of Daichi, known around the world as one of the best beatboxers alive. Besides his amazing skill with the mic, Daichi was incredibly entertaining cracking jokes and initiating audience participation.
A brief intermission featured Koji Mizutani’s Merry Project. The project featured umbrellas printed with smiling faces from the children affected by the Fukushima tragedy. It is a reminder to stay strong despite overwhelming obstacles.
Anticipation grew as Tokyo Girls’ Style slowly appeared on stage, amidst a sea of sunflowers, and started singing “Himawari no Hoshikuzu”. The crowd went absolutely wild, cheering and dancing through their whole performance.
As a surprise, TGS sang “Himawari no Hoshikuzu” once again, this time in English.
The momentum continued with Tomomi Itano, who suddenly appeared from the curtain to the greeting of “Tomochin” chants. In her Swagalicious attire, she struck the audience with the same type of charisma as her days with AKB48, leaving many in attendance yelling “SWAG” as a recognition of her debut album.
Finally, May’n greeted the San Francisco crowd. But rather than just promoting her performance planned for the following night, May’n gave everyone a treat and began performing, much to the delight of everyone.
After such an amazing headlining show, it is easy to forget the rest of the events planned for the weekend. The rest of the fun would be held in Japan Town for the duration of the festival. Live events would be held at the Pagoda Stage, as each of the headliners performed once again along with many other artists such as Kylee, Yanakiku, Pinky Doodle Poodle, Black Diamond, DJ Coco and DJ Amaya. Cosplay, fashion, and idol events would also be held on stage.
Besides the main stage, New People Cinema hosted the inaugural Japan Film Festival of San Francisco featuring screenings for the entire week. The top floors of New People were reserved for the fashion events, with numerous appearances by iconic figures in Japanese youth fashion: Ayumi Seto, Una, Akira, and Misa Kimura. The fashion events featured live performances by Akira and Una, meet and greet sessions, and a fashion show.
Along the main street of Japan Town were dozens of vendors and booths of every kind. Kinokuniya and SEGA hosted a special signing session with Miku Hatsune illustrator, KEI, as well as featuring the upcoming video game of the digital diva. Along the other booths were many meet and greet opportunities with most of the Guests of Honor.
Down Post Street was the crowded Ramen Street event, with patron standing in line for over an hour just to try each ramen masterpiece. The Pop Gourmet Food Festival was also held offering creative snacks and sake tasting.
The J-Pop Summit had something for everybody, as intended by the organizers. This year’s festival easily surpassed last year’s attendance of 80,000 people with 120,000 attendees in 2014.
“The 2014 J-POP Summit was the biggest and most successful we have ever staged. The addition of the Ramen Street attraction and the array of artists, performers and other events also made it one of the most exciting. We are looking forward to presenting an even bigger J-POP Summit for 2015!”, said Seiji Horibuchi, President/CEO of NEW PEOPLE, Inc. and Chairman of the J-Pop Summit Festival Committee.
With this momentum, it is likely J-Pop Summit will continue to grow in popularity and feature even more headliners in the near future. We could be witnessing the genesis of a future marquee festival.
Our interviews from J-POP SUMMIT FESTIVAL 2014 will be featured in our upcoming J!-ENT ANNUAL 2014 issue to be released in late SEPTEMBER. Stay tuned!
Article by Kenneth Eric Tran, J!-ENT
Photos by Dennis A. Amith, J!-ENT
Videos by Charles Amith, J!-ENT