Hyper Japan!

For me, Hyper Japan (The UK’s Biggest J-Culture Event) was the closest I’ve ever been to Japan. If you’ve not heard of Hyper Japan, it’s an amazing exhibition of Japanese culture, both traditional and modern mixed with food, gaming and samurai!
Record numbers attend Hyper Japan twice annually, however the 2012 Christmas event had the highest number of visitors (46,000 over three days!) the event has ever seen. Hyper Japan is supported by The Embassy of Japan in the UK, The Japan Foundation, The Japan National Tourism Organisation, The Council of Local Authorities for international Relations (CLAIR) London as well as The Association of Japanese Animations, to name a few. The event was held over three days at Brompton Hall in Earls Court, London.

HYPER JAPAN at Brompton Hall, Earls Court, London
KAMUI – The Samurai Sword Artists

Hyper Japan is all about showcasing Japan’s dynamic modern culture, also known as J Culture which includes the likes of, Manga, Anime, and J-POP. The highlight of the event for me was the hosted stage performances and workshops by KAMUI.

KAMUI are a Japanese sword performance group led by Tetsuro Shimaguchi, famous for appearing in Kill Bill Vol.1 It was amazing watching them perform to the Kill Bill theme Song ‘Battle without Honour or Humanity’ on the main stage.

Sword fight superstar: Tetsuro Shimaguchi - the man behind the sword-fighting sequences in "Kill Bill"
Sword Fight Superstar: Tetsuro Shimaguchi – the man behind the sword-fighting sequences in “Kill Bill”
Kengido – The way of the Samurai

I had never heard of the J-pop band ‘Ninjaman Japan’ (ニンジャマンジャパン) before attending the event back in 2012. The band is a ‘visual kei’ act which combines pop music and drama with flamboyant costumes.
I don’t think I will ever forget their uniquely odd and eye-catching musical performance! Check this video out and I’m sure you’ll come to understand why I would recall this performance for years to come…

I was also fortunate enough to take part in the Nintendo Wii-U pre-launch showcase; I tried out the much awaited Pokémon and Mario adventure games before their official release in the UK.

Furthermore I was left in complete amazement when ITK, a Japanese R&D company put on display their renowned ‘Handroid’.

ITK demos Kinect-controlled 'Handroid' at Hyper Japan 2012
ITK demos Kinect-controlled ‘Handroid’ at Hyper Japan 2012

The robot is a remotely operated myoelectric prosthetic hand with full-digit movement, designed to be used in hostile or hazardous environments. You can watch a short clip of it in action here.

In my opinion the best thing about Japan is how the ultra-modern and the time-honoured tradition seem to be in perfect harmony with one another. Moving on from the futuristic robot development I was captivated by the traditional culture of Nantan City, Kyoto Prefecture. The local craftsmen and women of this region were at the event where they not only showcased folk crafts with centuries of history behind them but also coached visitors in making a pair of wooden chopsticks!
I could go on and talk about all the amazing food that was available and how I instantly fell in love with Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki (I’ve blogged my attempt on cooking my own Okonomiyaki here)
However my main motivation for writing this article was to let you know that Hyper Japan 2014 is just around the corner, and this year 25th-27th of July to be precise, the event seems to be even more action packed than ever! For all the manga fans out there (I hope I’m not the only one!!) Kodansha, the largest Japanese publisher and the makers of “Attack on Titan”, will be at this year’s Hyper Japan.
This is an epic opportunity for die-hard fans to pick up some new reading and for those who might be a little unsure to discover some of the classics and indulge in what without doubt an incredible art form!
Anyway for all the info, dates, stage schedules and a directory of companies attending check out the official Hyper Japan website here. Please attend if you can, you won’t be disappointed.

(Note: I am not in any way affiliated with Hyper Japan).

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