Japan has one of the most appreciated and generally fascinating cultures in the world: There are millions and millions of people that love the aspects composing this ever-growing and various culture, such as music, manga, anime, videogames, fashion, food and much more. This amazing amount of different cultural aspects is yearly showcased through several conventions, festivals and events that take place in any part of the world in several countries in order to give the Japan lovers an interesting and valuable experience reflecting their passion.
If this article featured all the conventions and events dedicated to Japanese culture in the world, in particular to Anime, you’d probably never see the end of this page: There’s just too many of them. But luckily (or sadly, I should say) only a few of them feature shows dedicated to Japanese music: Indeed, of all the well known medias coming from the Land of the Rising Sun, music is probably the less known and considered one, as Japanese music is a niche that, exceptions aside, can’t find a way to obtain mainstream recognition for various reasons. This drastically reduces the number of conventions and events worth attending for someone who wants to see interesting Japanese groups and acts live in a different stage and outside Japan, but the few remaining are very good and definitely worth attending for anyone who loves Japanese music and culture. Let’s check them out!
– Japan Expo
Japan Expo is a four-days convention yearly held in Paris at the Paris-Nord Villepinte Exhibition Centre. With an ever growing audience that peaked an impressive 240,000 presences in 2014, Japan Expo is one of the most important overseas events dedicated to Japanese music and culture and the biggest in Europe. Over the years, the well known live house stage hosted artists such as Morning Musume, Urbangarde, Wagakki Band, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Momoiro Clover Z, SCANDAL, Miyavi, AKB48, X Japan, MAN WITH A MISSION and many more triple A artists of the Japanese music industry, which make Japan Expo an event to look forward to every year. I’ve been able to attend this event in 2013, and I can say without a doubt that it’s worth all your time: Not only big acts of the Japanese Music Industry hit the stage of the live house, but the huge dimensions and the endless things related to Japanese culture make it absolutely worth it. Maybe even for those who don’t live in Europe. Absolutely recommended.
Venue: Paris-Nord Villepinte Exhibition Centre
Dates: July 2-5, 2015
– Hyper Japan London
Hyper Japan is the UK’s biggest convention dedicated to Japanese culture, focusing as usual to various fields of Japanese culture such as music, anime, traditional culture, food and much more. Being a relatively new event in the London scene, despite the young age, this event is gaining more and more attention every year thanks not only to the quantity and quality of expositions and shows, but also to its guests, including some very interesting acts of the Japanese music industry: In the previous editions, artists such as Yun*chi and Yanakiku have hit the stage of this event with their music, providing nice performances. But from this year, Hyper Japan is starting to drop bombs: Indeed, for the 2015 edition, big acts such as Dempagumi.inc, TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE and VAMPS will hit the stage of Hyper Japan, elevating this event to a must for everyone that’s looking to attend an event filled with good J-music. This year’s location, the O2 Arena in London, is also a nice step-up for the event, that now more than ever deserves attention from everyone interested in Japanese music and culture: Plus, sometimes they also hold smaller Christmas events that may be worth it for the fans living in the area. Definitely a promising event!
Venue: The O2
Dates: July 10-12, 2015
– Moshi Moshi Nippon Festival (Paris Date)
The Moshi Moshi Nippon Festival is a Japanese series of events that aims to spread Japanese culture in all the world, and in 2015 this organization will tour eight cities in different parts of the world. What’s gaining lots of attention at the moment is the French date, that will be held at Le Trianon in Paris: Why so much hype for it? Because three special artists that barely ever set foot out of Japan will make this Festival very special: We’re talking about CAPSULE, m-flo and TEMPURA KIDZ! All the fans of these three amazing artists will definitely have to look forward to this event in October, as it’s fair to expect some memorable moments and loads of fun: Absolutely worth attending!
City: Paris (Also: London, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Singapore, Bangkok, Taipei, Tokyo; Check the event’s website for more infos)
Venue: Le Trianon
Dates: October 3-4, 2015
– Japan Music Festival (JMF)
The Japan Music Festival, abbreviated as JMF, is a festival dedicated to Japanese music in Singapore, and probably the only one entirely dedicated the to Japan’s music industry. This very young event that started just last year aims to bring all the most relevant J-pop and J-rock acts to Southeast Asia, with Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Radwimps and May’n taking part to the first edition of this event, while for 2015, SCANDAL has been the first artist announced, without counting others that will be unveiled at a later date. Being entirely focused on Japanese music, the JMF is a great promise for the expansion of music coming from the Land of Rising Sun, hoping it’ll gain the deserved attention to grow even more: Seeing the artists that so far have hit the stage of this event, it’s fair to expect great things from this festival. Definitely worth checking out for all the friends in Singapore and Southeast Asia.
Venue: Various venues (check website for more infos)
Dates: May 8th, 2015 (SCANDAL); More to perform later this year.
– Anime Festival Asia
Anime Festival Asia is a series of event that take place during the year in different countries of South-east Asia, including Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore, the latter hosting the main and biggest event of this series of conventions. It is the primary and predominant event for anything related to Japanese culture in Asia and one of the biggest in the world, and while it follows the same pattern of these kind of events that mainly focuses on Anime and Manga, it also features well known guests from the Japanese Music Industry, with artists such as Kalafina, SCANDAL, May’n, Hatsune Miku, Yanagi Nagi, T.M Revolution and many more hitting the stage of this important event. With one of the highest number of presences in all the world, talented artists from the Japanese music industry, and an overall well done organization, Anime Festival Asia, particularly the main Singapore event, is a worth attending event for all the asian fans outside Japan who want to catch good Japanese artists performing overseas.
City: Singapore / Jakarta / Bangkok
Venue: Suntec International Convention and Exhibition Centre / Jakarta International Expo / Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre
Dates: Singapore; November 27 – 29 / Jakarta; September 24-26 / Bangkok; May 1-3
– J-pop Summit Festival
The J-pop Summit Festival is an yearly festival dedicated to Japanese culture held in San Francisco, California. The event is dedicated to several fields such as fashion, food, art, technology and, obviously, music. In 2014 the ever-growing festival reached impressive numbers, with over 140,000 attendants who explored every inch of this event, that from this year on will be divided in several locations in the San Francisco bay area, including a pretty big indoor venue that will see J-pop artists perform in front of their overseas fans. During the last years, the J-pop Summit has seen acts such as Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE hitting the stage of the Festival and gaining a certain attention by the media, making this event an effective way to promote and launch Japanese artists in the U.S. market: Plus, meet and greet and autographing sessions will be open to fans as well. Be sure to check out the schedule on the website (a couple of artists have already been announced for this year) and if you’re around the area you should definitely take the chance to enjoy some artists on stage and a nice festival!
City: San Francisco, California
Venue: Fort Mason Centre
Dates: August 7-9, 2015
– Anime Expo (Los Angeles)
Anime Expo, also known as AX, is the biggest Anime convention of North America (as of 2014) and it’s held in Los Angeles at the well known Los Angeles Convention Center. While not drastically focusing on music, in the past years this event grew consistently and organized shows where artists like AKB48, May’n, Porno Graffiti and Eir Aoi hit the sage of this event: Definitely worth checking out in case you’re interested in all the other aspects of the convention. This year’s edition in particular may be very worth it since popular Idol unit Momoiro Clover Z will perform at the Nokia Theatre as part of the event, together with members from legendary rock band KISS, definitely a must for all the fans of the five colorful girls and of J-pop in general, a show that also gives hope to see this event grow even more in the coming years and become more open to Japanese music.
City: Los Angeles
Venue: Los Angeles Convention Center
Dates: July 10-12, 2015
These are all the most important and worth attending Japanese conventions featuring Japanese music live shows. In case you’re interested to attend one of these events, be sure to regularly check out the event’s website and see if there’s any interesting artist you’d like to see live. Festivals can be a great occasion to attend interesting concerts not far from your home/country, and to discover new ones, other than being pretty big and interesting events covering many aspects of the Japanese culture!