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 Japan lovers a valuable experience reflecting their passion.
If this article featured all the conventions and events dedicated to Japanese culture in the world, you’d probably never see the end of this page: there’s just too many of them. But luckily (or sadly, should I 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 considered, 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 events worth attending for someone who wants to see Japanese groups performing overseas. But the few events that are making music one of their attractions are 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 held every year 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. 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 on various fields such as music, anime, traditional culture, food and much more. Being a relatively new event in the London scene, this event is gaining more and more attention every year thanks not only to the quantity and quality of expositions and shows, but also for its guests, including some very interesting acts of the Japanese music industry. In previous editions, artists such as Yun*chi and Yanakiku have hit the stage of this event with their music. But from 2015, Hyper Japan started to drop bombs: indeed, in that particular year, big acts such as Dempagumi.inc, TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE and VAMPS 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. 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: Tobacco Docks
Dates: July 10-12, 2015
– Moshi Moshi Nippon Festival (Paris Date)
The Moshi Moshi Nippon Festival is a series of events that aims to spread Japanese culture in all the world, and in 2015 this organization toured eight cities in different parts of the world. Acts like CAPSULE, m-flo and TEMPURA KIDZ hit the stage of these events, so be sure to check out the line up on the event’s website when the time comes!
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 Japanese music. This event “debuted” in 2013 aims to bring all the most relevant J-pop and J-rock acts to Southeast Asia, like Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Radwimps, May’n, SCANDAL, and more. Being entirely focused on Japanese music, the JMF is a great promise for the expansion of music coming from the Land of the Rising Sun. Seeing the artists that so far have hit the stage of this event, it’s fair to expect great things from this festival in the future. 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 events 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. It is the primary event for anything related to Japanese culture in Asia and one of the biggest in the world. While AFA follows the same pattern of these kind of events, mainly focusing 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. With one of the highest number of participants in all the world, Anime Festival Asia, particularly the main Singapore event, is an 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 a 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, divided in several locations in the San Francisco bay area, including a pretty big indoor venue for music artists. During last years, the J-pop Summit featured acts such as Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE that hit the stage of the Festival, gaining a noticeable attention from the media, making this event an effective way to promote and launch Japanese artists in the U.S. market. Be sure to check out the schedule on the website, and if you’re around the area, you should definitely take the chance to enjoy this 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, that takes place in Los Angeles at the well known Los Angeles Convention Center. While not primarily 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. Definitely worth checking out in case you’re also interested in all the other things the convention has to offer.
City: Los Angeles
Venue: Los Angeles Convention Center
Dates: July 10-12, 2015
These are all the most important 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 these events’ websites, 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!