San Francisco to host J-Pop Summit Festival this month

Translated by The Asahi Shimbun from the website of Anime Anime Japan Ltd.

The J-Pop Summit Festival, an annual event devoted to Japanese pop culture such as music, fashion, film, design, food and anime, will be held in San Francisco on Aug. 27-28, its organizer, New People Inc., announced earlier this month.

New People will host the event in San Francisco’s Japantown, and this year the event will highlight the recent vocaloid boom.

In the United States, many fan conventions are dedicated to anime, manga and other aspects of Japanese culture. Anime Expo in Los Angeles and the Otakon convention in Baltimore are also known in Japan.

But the J-Pop Summit Festival will offer a wider range of content from Japan, reflecting the activities of New People.

The company was founded by Seiji Horibuchi, who also created VIZ Media, LLC, a leading publisher and licenser of Japanese manga and anime.
The first J-Pop Summit Festival was in 2009, the same year New People was founded. This will be the third time for the company to hold the event.

Although its history is short, the festival has enjoyed continuous popularity and attracted tens of thousands of visitors. Its popularity is backed by Japanese singers, artists and actors who make guest appearances.

The program for 2011 will include fashion shows and contests, live concerts and film screenings. There will also be anime-related events.

A special version of “Rurouni Kenshin,” which was made to celebrate the anime’s 15th anniversary, will have its U.S. premiere.

“K-ON!” English voice cast members will offer a live concert, coupled with the premiere of the third volume of the anime.

In addition, the English-dubbed version of “The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya” will make its U.S. debut.

The festival will also focus on the vocaloid boom in Japan. The term derives from a synthesizing software application, many featuring virtual idol Hatsune Miku.

Vocaloid music creative team ZANEEDS and Danceroid, a four-piece girl dance group who found fame on the Nico Nico Douga video-sharing website, will be invited for a panel discussion. Other vocaloid-related events will also be offered.

Vocaloid music was given significant prominence at the Anime Expo in July this year. It could be the next major trend in Japanese pop culture.

Visit the festival’s official website at (http://www.newpeopleworld.com/festival-2011/about/) and New People’s at (http://www.newpeopleworld.com/).

Copyright The Asahi Shimbun Company.