Hyper Japan summer 2015

Posted on July 25, 2015 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

Dempagumi.inc.

Dempagumi.inc.

 

Although I have heard a lot about the biannual Hyper Japan festival, a celebration of the Japanese culture, music, food and entertainment, I have never visited this event before. This year, after spending one year learning Japanese, I made friends with a group of people who are interested in the Japanese culture. One of them plays the shamisen (a traditional Japanese three-stringed lute) and performs with the SOAS Min'yo (Japanese folk songs) group, and we were invited to see their performance at the festival. At £17, I thought the ticket was fairly pricey, but I was also curious to see what all the fuss was about.

The venue moved from Earls Court to the bigger O2 showcasing a line-up of musical performers from Japan, in addition to several zones dedicated to the popular gaming and anime titles, Japanese goods (including books, 'kawaii' stationery, traditional homeware and fashion accessories etc), as well as Japanese food and drinks.

 

hyper japan 2015

 

Upon arrival, I was surprised to find a long queue outside of the venue, it was lucky that we had bought the tickets online beforehand. As expected, the venue was packed esp. in the food court, so we simply picked the shortest queue as I was quite hungry by then (since it took us at least 20 minutes to get from the entrance to the food court).

Walking around, my friends and I were astounded by the prices of the goods at the festival, i.e. a bar of matcha Kit Kat was £5 and 10 onigiri (rice balls with seaweed) was £29! But at the same time, it dawned on me that the popularity of the festival is not so much to do with the food or shopping, it's all about COSPLAY!

I never realised that the subculture of cosplay is so popular in the UK, and I was utterly dazzled by the idiosyncratic and creative costumes and props seen at the event. I only wished that I had taken more photographs of them. The festival was more like a showcase of cosplayers, it was such an eye-opening experience.

 

SOAS min'yo groupSOAS Min'yo grouphyper japan summer 15hyper japan summer 15hyper japan summer 15 hyper japan summer 15

Top & 2nd left: SOAS MinYo group

 

After seeing our friend's folk music and dancing performance, a few of us went to see the finale of the festival, which was the stage performance of Dempagumi.inc, a cult Japanese female idol group from Akihabara, Tokyo. I have never heard of this group before, but my friend who is into Japanese anime informed me that they are a popular Japanese subculture group that is gaining fan base globally.

I fail to find apt words to describe how I felt during the 20 minutes of their performance. What astonished me most was the behaviour of those grown up men there. There were Japanese and Caucasian men (aged between 25-55) shoving, jumping, yelling and perhaps even crying around us. The sight was so surreal that I was left rather speechless, and I was more distracted by them than the performers on stage. The power of these six squeaky-voiced young women is not to be underestimated. If you want to understand the popularity of this J-Pop group, I have included their music video here, but I can assure you that it is not as entertaining and as wacky as seeing them live. Enjoy!

 

Dempagumi.inc.

 


This post was posted in London, Music & Sound, Anything Japanese, Videos & animations and was tagged with London, music, Hyper Japan, J-pop

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