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X Japan Shuts Down London For HMV Signing Event, Takes Top Spot On UK Rock Chart

March 18, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

On Saturday, March 4, X Japan performed their first major show of 2017 on #XDAY at SSE Arena, Wembley, following the release of their feature film documentary We Are X in theaters across the UK. The We Are X Soundtrack (featuring the theme song “La Venus”) was released worldwide on March 3 on Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings, taking the Number 1 spot in 9 countries on iTunes as well as the #1 position on the UK Rock And Metal Chart, Top 30 on the UK Albums Chart, and Number 3 on the UK Soundtrack Chart.

UK Official Charts (link): http://www.officialcharts.com/charts/rock-and-metal-albums-chart/20170310/112/

The award-winning We Are X made its UK premiere to a sold-out audience at Piccadilly’s Picture House in London on February 28 before launching in UK theaters across the country on March 2, adding to the excitement of the band’s upcoming show 2 days later at Wembley Arena. Fulfilling the band’s promise to return to the UK after last year’s concert had been abruptly cancelled by guitarist Pata’s serious illness, the band held a special CD-signing event at HMV in London on March 3, forcing the shut-down of Oxford Street as over 1000 fans gathered to meet the members of X Japan in person.
[Check out HMV’s photo album of the record-breaking event]

X Japan has created a buzz among UK fans and critics alike with last week’s back-to-back concert, film, and soundtrack events, promising more announcements later this year.
“Their show proves eye-poppingly captivating” — METAL HAMMER MAGAZINE
“Perfection” — POWERPLAY MAGAZINE
“Intoxicatingly triumphant” — METAL TALK
“Fervently mesmeric” — RECORD COLLECTOR MAGAZINE
“X JAPAN deliver a unique, moving experience.” — MY GLOBAL MIND
“Mesmerising, they hover around a magical musical sweet spot” — MUSIC-NEWS

The We Are X Soundtrack is available now worldwide on Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings
iTunes: http://smarturl.it/WeAreX_iTunes
Amazon: http://smarturl.it/WeareX_amz
1. La Venus (Acoustic Version)*
2. Kurenai (from The Last Live)
3. Forever Love
4. A Piano String in Es Dur
5. Dahlia
6. Crucify My Love
7. Xclamation
8. Standing Sex (from X Japan Returns)
9. Tears
10. Longing ~Setsubou no Yoru~
11. Art of Life (3rd Movement)
12. Endless Rain (from The Last Live)
13. X (from The Last Live)
14. Without You (Unplugged)*
* New Recording.
Disc 2 – Japan Edition bonus tracks:
1. Rusty Nail (from DAHLIA TOUR FINAL ~Mubou na Yoru~)
2. Forever Love (from The Last Live)

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Charan-Po-Rantan returns to New York City!

March 9, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

After a spectacular sold out performance in New York in 2015, Charan-Po-Rantan returns stateside again for two shows! The first will take place at the notable venue, Joe’s Pub at the Public, presented in association with Japan Society, for their solo performance on April 24.
Then later in the week, the duo will be part of the ‘Godzilla Legend – Music of Akira Ifukube’ event, which will be an evening filled with music from the Japanese cult classic ‘Godzilla!’ The event will take place on April 28 at Japan Society.
Don’t miss this rare chance to see Charan-Po-Rantan’s amazing live performances in New York!

Charan-Po-Rantan @ Joe’s Pub at the Public
Presented in association with Japan Society.
April 24, 2017 (Monday)
Doors 6PM
Show 7:30PM
Details/Tickets: http://joespub.publictheater.org/Tickets/Calendar/PlayDetailsCollection/Joes-Pub/2017/C/Charan-Po-Rantan/

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ARIGATO Award to Four Remarkable Contributors to the Film Industry

October 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) today announced that it has selected four recipients for its 2nd ARIGATŌ (Thank You) Award, honoring remarkable contributions to the Japanese film industry. Through this award, TIFF expects these four stalwarts of Japanese film to continue their successful careers and to make further contributions to the industry, as well as to increase their international recognition. We have called the award “Arigato” because the word is recognized globally.

Makoto SHINKAI
He appeared like a comet in the anime film industry, and his latest film, your name., became the biggest hit of this year, as well as a social phenomenon.
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Born in 1973, Shinkai’s theatrical film debut, Voices of a Distant Star (02), for which he did nearly everything himself, sent shock waves through the anime community with its unique vision of the world. He then increased his staff to put out the critically acclaimed The Place Promised in Our Early Days (04) and 5 Centimeters Per Second (07), before scoring a smash hit with The Garden of Words (13).

Mitsuki TAKAHATA
Charming audiences with her outstanding talent as an actress, her success in the future will bring bright hope to cinema.
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Mitsuki Takahata was born in Osaka in 1991. At the age of 13, she debuted in the starring role of theater production “Playback Part 2: Okujo no Tenshi” (05). She went on to star in the stage musical “Peter Pan” for six years (07-12). In 2013, she earned accolades for her role as the stepsister of the heroine on NHK’s drama series “Gochisosan.” She starred in this year’s romantic megahit, Evergreen Love (16), and appeared in both Rage (16) and Japanese Girls Never Die (16), which was selected for the 29th TIFF Competition section. She is currently starring in the NHK series “Toto Nee-Chan: Fatherly Sister,” playing Tsuneko Kohashi. She will soon be seen in the play “My Name is Shingo” (December,
16) and “Elektra” (April, 17), and will be voicing the main character in the anime film Napping Princess: The Story of the Unknown Me (March, 17).

Satoshi TSUMABUKI
Honoring his acting achievements in a wide variety of films, he plays an indispensable role representing the film industry.
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Satoshi Tsumabuki was born in Fukuoka in 1980. He made his film debut in Waterboys (01), for which he earned both a Best Actor and Newcomer of the Year Award at the 25th Japan Academy Prizes. He has continued to receive awards for his work, including a Kinema Junpo Best Actor Award for Josee, the Tiger and the Fish (03), and a Japan Academy Prize for Best Actor and a Blue Ribbon Award for Best Actor for for Villain (10/directed by Sang-il Lee). He starred in NHK’s Taiga Drama “Tenchijin” in 2009. Other film highlights include My Back Page (11), Tokyo Family (13), The Little House (13), The Vancouver Asahi (14), The Assassin (15), What a Wonderful Family! (16), The Magnificent Nine (16) and Rage (16). He will be seen in Museum (16), Okuda Tamio ni Naritai Boy and Deau Otoko Subete Kuruwaseru Girl (17) and Traces of Sin (17), among others.

Godzilla
One of the world’s best-known characters for over 60 years, this Japan-born phenomenon will continue his ascent both locally and internationally.
————————————————————————-

An iconic character that first appeared in Godzilla (released November 3, 1954), it continued to star in a total of 29 Toho produced films, garnering an audience of over 100 million in Japan. After 12 years of dormancy since the last Toho production, it returned in Shin Godzilla (released on July 29, 2016) bringing more than 5 million audience members s to the theatre, to record the largest number of admissions in the Heisei series. While the size, expression and powers may differ according to film, it remains the most indestructible monster. Known as “King of the Monsters” internationally, its recent Hollywood reboot has multiple sequels being planned. The franchise has been recognized by the Guinness World Records as the longest continuously running film series in the world and its name had been engraved in Hollywood Walk of Fame, the first and only character from Japan.

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Yoshiki Announces New York Concert with Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra

September 20, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

rmms-yoshiki-carnegie-hall-2017-announce2

Yoshiki — songwriter, drummer/percussionist, classically-trained pianist and the creative force of the rock group X Japan — has announced a special concert event presented by Knitting Factory, “Yoshiki Classical Special Featuring Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra”.

The special classical performance will take place on January 12 and 13, 2017, at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage in New York City. Tickets, priced at $105/ $85/ $75/ $65/ $55/ $40, will be available at 11am (EST) on September 29th at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling Carnegie Charge at 212-247-7800 and Carnegie Hall website, carnegiehall.org.

“I began taking piano lessons and music theory at age four, and became interested in classical works by Beethoven and Schubert,” explains Yoshiki. “In elementary school, I played the trumpet in the brass band, and around age ten started composing songs for piano. I’ve been writing classical music ever since. Needless to say, classical music has been a major influence in my musical career, including X Japan. I was fortunate enough to play Madison Square Garden 2 years ago with my band X Japan. Now I’m playing Carnegie Hall as a pianist with Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, which was another dream of mine. Words can’t describe how honored I am to be performing at such a prestigious venue with an amazing orchestra.”

For the Carnegie Hall concert, Yoshiki will perform his original compositions alongside the world-renowned Tokyo Philharmonic; he will also play several traditional classical pieces. The Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra was named one of the Top 10 greatest orchestras in the world by CNN in 2015. This classical concert will also take place in Japan and Hong Kong.

YOSHIKI CLASSICAL SPECIAL WORLD TOUR
Japan -Presented By UDO Artists, Inc.-
DEC 5TH (Mon): OSAKA Castle Hall
DEC 6th (Tue): Tokyo International Forum
DEC 7th (Wed): Tokyo International Forum
DEC 8 (Thu): Tokyo International Forum
For Tickets and information, please visit www.udo.jp
Hong Kong -Presented By Big Honor Entertainment-
DEC 29th (Thu) Hong Kong Asia World Expo

For Tickets and information, please visit: www.puffinent.net

Yoshiki composed a piano concerto and performed it with a 77-piece orchestra to celebrate the tenth year of the Emperor of Japan’s reign in 1999. In 2015, he composed the theme song and conducted the Super World Orchestra at the opening ceremony of the World Expo. In 2012, Yoshiki composed the official theme song for the Golden Globes®. His classical concerts in 2014 captivated crowds earning him standing ovations and sold out shows in over 10 countries as he performed classical versions of X Japan songs and popular rock tracks with a string sextet live on stage, as well as some traditional Classical pieces. His album,Yoshiki Classical, debuted at #1 on the iTunes Classical Music chart in 10 countries around the world. Pianist Magazine raved Yoshiki Classical “is a true labor of love from a talented artist who’s made an impressive mark within the classical and rock genres.” The album featured performances by Yoshiki as both the composer and pianist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra. Produced by Yoshiki, the album included two songs produced by the legendary Beatles producer Sir George Martin.
In film news, the new music documentary about Yoshiki’s rock group X Japan titled We Are X, from Passion Pictures, will be released by Drafthouse Films in New York and Los Angeles on October 21, 2016, followed by nationwide expansion. Since its premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival — where it was awarded the Special Jury Prize for editing — the film has continued to garner critical acclaim due to its remarkably candid portrayal of its enigmatic subject, Yoshiki, leader of the Japanese band X Japan.
Chronicling the band’s exhilarating, tumultuous and unimaginable history over the past three decades–persevering through personal, physical and spiritual heartache–the film culminates with preparations for their breathtaking concert at New York’s legendary Madison Square Garden. Directed by acclaimed documentarian Stephen Kijak (Stones in Exile, Scott Walker: 30 Century Man), We Are X is an astonishingly intimate portrait of a deeply haunted–but truly unstoppable–virtuoso and the music that has enthralled legions of the world’s most devoted fans.
X Japan has sold over 30 million singles and albums combined — captivating such a wide range of admirers as Sir George Martin, KISS, Stan Lee, and even the Japanese Emperor — and pioneered a spectacle-driven style of visual rock, creating a one-of-a-kind cultural phenomenon. The group is currently laying down tracks in a Los Angeles studio for their as-yet-untitled album, which is due for a worldwide release in early 2017.
For more information about the Yoshiki Classical album, visit: http://www.yoshiki.net/classical.html. Yoshiki is a Kawai Artist.
Yoshiki Official Website: www.Yoshiki.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YoshikiOfficial
Twitter: https://twitter.com/YoshikiOfficial
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yoshikiofficial

About Yoshiki
Yoshiki is a songwriter, drummer, and a classically-trained pianist. His rock group X Japan has sold 30-million singles and albums combined, and filled the 55,000-seat Toyko Dome a record 18 times. Now the band’s popularity is spreading throughout the world, having recently completed a sold-out World Tour, performing in North America, Europe, Latin America, and South East Asia. In 1999, Yoshiki composed a piano concerto and performed it with a 77-piece orchestra to celebrate the tenth year of the Emperor of Japan’s reign. In 2005, Yoshiki composed the theme song and conducted the Super World Orchestra at the opening ceremony of the World Expo. Previously, Yoshiki also recorded a classical album co-produced and arranged by acclaimed Beatles producer Sir George Martin and performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Beyond music, Yoshiki has his own Visa Card and MasterCard issued by one of the largest Japanese banks. Recently, the legendary Stan Lee created a Super Hero based on him, and for the first time, a Hello Kitty product line is named after a person – “Yoshikitty”. In 2010, he launched his non-profit organization Yoshiki Foundation America (http://www.yoshikifoundationamerica.org), a 501©(3) organization, which continues to donate to various charitable organizations, including supporting Japanese Earthquake victims. In 2012, Yoshiki composed the official theme song for the Golden Globes®, which airs in 167 countries. The Golden Globe® Theme was released through iTunes in Jan 2013, available in 111 countries worldwide. In 2014, Yoshiki completed his Yoshiki Classical World Tour, which took place in 10 different countries (US, Mexico, Russia, Germany, France, United Kingdom, China, Thailand, Taiwan and Japan). In 2016, Yoshiki was asked to be an advisor to Japan House, which will open in Los Angeles, London and Sao Paulo. These offices are being set up in the interest of promoting Japanese culture and technologies.

About X JAPAN:

X Japan is the most successful rock band in Japanese history, and that is not a statement made lightly. The band has sold more than 30 million albums; singles and videos combined, sold out Japan’s 55,000-seat Tokyo Dome 18 times – so far – and have played to tens of thousands of fans outside of Japan. In the band’s early days their look and sound sparked a global interest in entertainment, especially with the Japanese cultural rock phenomenon, “Visual-Kei,” a movement X Japan pioneered that spread globally. X Japan formed in 1982 (calling themselves X) by Yoshiki and Toshi while they were still teenagers. Over the next 13 years, the band released five studio albums – Vanishing Vision (1988), Blue Blood (1989), Jealousy (1991), Art of Life (1993) and Dahlia (1996), as well as six live albums, ten best hits albums and 20 DVD releases. X Japan was the first Japanese band to achieve mainstream success while signed to an independent label. The band was so popular they became a cultural phenomenon.
In the fall of 1997, at the height of their success, the band broke up. Four months later, Hide, X Japan’s original lead guitarist, was found dead in his Tokyo apartment. At his funeral, more than 50,000 fans came to mourn his passing. In early 2007 Yoshiki and Toshi resumed communication and later that year X Japan officially reformed. The band launched its reunion in 2008 with 3 nights at the Tokyo Dome. 2 years later, X Japan filmed a music video on the rooftop of Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre with a throng of some 8,000 U.S. fans taking part in the shoot on Hollywood Blvd. But it was on August 8, 2010 that X Japan performed in front of a mainstream American crowd for the first time at Lollapalooza. Immediately following the festival, X Japan played the biggest concert in its history, selling out two consecutive shows at Japan’s Nissan Stadium, filling 140,000 seats. The band’s first North American tour wrapped with a monumental New York date selling out The Roseland Ballroom on Oct. 11, 2010. In June 2011, X Japan kicked off a European Tour at London’s Shepherd’s Bush (selling -out the venue in 30 minutes). The tour continued to Paris and Utrecht wrapping in Berlin before the band traveled back to Japan to play the famed Summer Sonic Festival. That same year the world tour took them to South America where they sold out shows playing to massive crowds in Santiago, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Lima and Mexico City. X Japan then returned to Asia playing arena shows in Seoul, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei and Bangkok. In 2012 X Japan was the first Japanese band to take home the prize for “Best International Band” at the Golden Gods Awards held in the U.S. In 2014 X Japan headlined a colossal show at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden in the U.S. “We Are X” is a documentary film that chronicles the history of X Japan. In January 2016 the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival as a part of the World Cinema Documentary and won the special jury award for Best Editing. It then went to the SXSW Film Festival and won the audience award for Excellence in Title Design. The band will perform at a concert event at SSE Wembley Arena on March 4, 2017. The Current line up of X Japan is Yoshiki/drums, piano; Toshi/vocals; Pata/guitars; Heath/bass; and Sugizo/guitars, violin.

About TOKYO PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA:
In 2011, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra celebrated its 100th anniversary as Japan’s first symphony orchestra. With about 130 musicians, TPO performs both symphonies and operas regularly. TPO is proud to have appointed Maestro Myung-Whun Chung, who has been conducting TPO since 2001, as Honorary Music Director, Maestro Mikhail Pletnev as Special Guest Conductor and Maestro Andrea Battistoni as Principal Guest Conductor.

TPO has established its world-class reputation through its subscription concert series, regular opera and ballet assignment at the New National Theatre, and a full, ever in-demand agenda around Japan and the world, including broadcasting with NHK Broadcasting Corporation, various educational programs, and tours abroad. In March 2014, TPO became a global sensation in its centennial world tour of six major cities: New York, Madrid, Paris, London, Singapore and Bangkok. In December 2015, TPO held Beethoven’s 9th symphony concerts in Seoul and Tokyo with Maestro Myung-Whun Chung, with Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra combined into one orchestra. TPO has partnerships with Bunkamura Orchard Hall, the Bunkyo Ward in Tokyo, Chiba City, Karuizawa Cho in Nagano and Nagaoka City in Niigata.

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GARNiDELiA releases new single! Makes their return to the U.S. next month!

August 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

GARNiDELiA releases new single “Yakusoku -Promise Code-”

Returns to the U.S. next month for a concert at Anime Weekend Atlanta!

“Yakusoku -Promise Code-“, the latest single from GARNiDELiA is now available worldwide!
The new song will is now being featured as the ending theme song for the anime series, Qualidea Code.

GARNiDELiA will also be making their return to the states for a concert at Anime Weekend Atlanta!
The duo will also be making appearances throughout the convention including a panel and autograph sessions.
Anime Weekend Atlanta takes place from Sept 29- Oct 2 in Atanta, GA, with over 25,000 attendees expected.
For more info: http://awa-con.com/

NEW SINGLE!
“Yakusoku -Promise Code-” (ED for anime Qualidea Code)

Track list
1. Yakusoku -Promise Code-
2. Gokurakujoudo
3. Shion
4. Yakusoku –Promise Code- (Instrumental)

<iTunes>
Smart URL
http://smarturl.it/yakusoku

<Amazon>
Amazon US
https://www.amazon.com/Yakusoku-Promise-Code–Garnidelia/dp/B01IR8EQ4W/

Amazon UK
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Yakusoku-Promise-Code–Garnidelia/dp/B01IRHPI90/

Amazon Germany
https://www.amazon.de/Yakusoku-Promise-Code–Garnidelia/dp/B01IR9VREI/

Amazon Italy
https://www.amazon.it/Yakusoku-Promise-Code–Garnidelia/dp/B01IR9QJH8/

Amazon Spain
https://www.amazon.es/Yakusoku-Promise-Code–Garnidelia/dp/B01IRBRGW8/

*Check out the full version of the music video here (VEVO):
http://www.vevo.com/watch/garnidelia/Yakusoku/JPU981602200

Official Links
HP: http://www.garnidelia.com/
FB: https://www.facebook.com/GARNiDELiA

Twitter
MARiA: https://twitter.com/MARiA_GRND
toku: https://twitter.com/toku_grnd
Staff: https://twitter.com/GARNiDELiA

Instagram
MARiA: https://www.instagram.com/maria_grnd/
toku: https://www.instagram.com/toku_grnd/

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SMAP confirms that they are breaking up

August 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Earlier in the year, when news hit that SMAP were on the verge of breaking up, many fans were relieved that they weren’t.

But Johnny’s Agency has now confirmed that the group will be breaking up with their final day on New Year’s Eve. According to the statement from their agency, “Some members have expressed their wish to disband, rather than to suspend activities as SMAP.  It was a very difficult decision, but we have judged it would be difficult for (SMAP) to continue their activities as a group, although it was not a unanimous choice by the members.”

There are no details if there will be a farewell concert or farewell “SMAP x SMAP” episode.  But judging by the comments by each of the members, the group are not on the same page and have no choice but to break up.

Kimura Takuya has released the statement, “In regards to us breaking up, I honestly have nothing but regret. But a 25th anniversary live and group activities just can’t happen if all of us are not on the same page, so I have no choice but to accept this situation. Despite all of the support from all of our fans and staff, we’ve come to a pathetic resolution like ‘disbanding’. I can’t really find the right words to say right now.”

Nakai Masahiro released the following statement, “Dear fans and everyone involved with SMAP, I am informing you that SMAP will be disbanding. We’ve caused a lot of trouble, we’ve made you all worry, and you’ve supported us for so long. Please forgive us for ending up with this result. We are truly… Very sorry.”

Inagaki Goro released the following statement, “To all of our fans and all of our staff, I apologize for making you all worry. We thought it would be hard for the five of us to continue together in this situation, so we’ve come to the very painful decision to disband. We ask you to please understand our decision. Thank you very much for the last 28 years.”

Kusanagi Tsuyoshi released the following statement, “SMAP has chosen the path to disband. To all of the fans who cheered us on and all of the staff who have supported us the last 28 years, thank you. We’re still going to diligently continue on, so if you could continue to kindly look over us, it would make me very happy.”

Katori Shingo released the following statement, “To all of our fans and all of our staff, we, SMAP, are going to disband. I thank all of those who have supported us from the bottom of my heart. And I am deeply sorry for the very sudden announcement.”

Translation by Michelle Tymon, J!-ENT

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J-POP SUMMIT 2016 DELIVERS A MEMORABLE WEEKEND OF JAPANESE POP CULTURE INSPIRED FUN

July 28, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The San Francisco Bay Area’s Premiere Japanese Pop Culture Celebration Was Another Smashing Success With The Most Diverse Program Of Live Events Ever Presented

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

San Francisco, CA, July 28, 2016 – J-POP SUMMIT 2016, returned to the Bay Area for its 8th annual all-sensory celebration of vibrant Japanese pop culture. This year, the Festival drew more than 20,000 attendees to historic the Fort Mason Center located in San Francisco’s Marina district.

Recognized internationally as a preeminent platform for showcasing the vivacious and cutting edge latest trends in Japanese pop and rock music, fashion, film, popular art, and pop culture, the J-POP SUMMIT 2016 also added special focused attractions this year that highlighted Ramen, Sake and Travel. An Interactive Summit also featured a display of innovative new Japanese consumer tech products and was complemented by a conference and idea-thon led by a vanguard of visionary entrepreneurs and tech visionaries from Japan and the Bay Area.

“J-POP SUMMIT 2016 was the most successful Festival we have staged to-date in terms of the sheer diversity of programming and the wide range of different attractions,” says Seiji Horibuchi, Chairman of the J-POP SUMMIT Committee. “Each year we strive to present a unique and memorable Festival and we are very gratified that J-POP SUMMIT has continued to evolve and grow and has remained such a vital part of the Bay Area’s annual summertime calendar. We look forward to 2017!!”

Music
Japan’s princess of pop, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, returned for her second headlining appearance at J-POP SUMMIT and kicked off this year’s festival with a frenzied, dance-driven concert for a sold out crowd at The Regency Ballroom. The singer delivered many hits from her newest Best of KPP anthology release.
Continuing throughout the weekend at Ft. Mason, additional J-POP SUMMIT 2016 live music performances were held by the electronic dance group, WORLD ORDER, all-female pop rock band, Silent Siren, pop house unit, Wednesday Campanella, idol dance troupe, Tokyo Performance Doll, kimono cosplay duo, YANAKIKU, and the ani-pop duo, GARNiDELiA.

Fashion
The J-POP SUMMIT 2016 also gathered a colorful vanguard of edgy and unique Japanese fashion labels and purveyors. Highlights of this year’s programming included workshops, exhibits, apparel items and accessories from modern Japanese style clothing brand, SOU•SOU, along with a variety of other handpicked items and brands from Japan in the MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON area. The Festival also celebrated the return of Guest of Honor and fashion visionary, Sebastian Masuda, art director and an extremely influential artist for Harajuku kawaii culture, for a special series of events and attendee meet-and-greet sessions, as well as rising pop star and fashion model, UNA, for a special live performance.

Other Guests of Honor from Japan
A diverse range of Japanese pop personalities, artists and celebrities also appeared as special Guests of Honor. In addition to the aforementioned musical artists, special guests included the pop art creator, Kaori Wakamatsu, visual pop artist Hiroyuki-Mitsume Takahashi, artist Ken Hamazaki a.k.a. “The Red Man”, renowned Japanese chef Tasuo Saito and Japanese celebrity Yu Hayami. Japan’s drag royalty and singer, Mitz Mangrove, along with Domo, the mascot for network NHK, and Japan’s favorite Go-Torch Characters also made live appearances.

Ramen Summit
The Ramen Summit was curated by Yoshiyuki Maruyama, Executive Chef of San Francisco’s own Orenchi Beyond.Five top-rated ramen makers from the Bay Area, New York and Japan joined – Hinodeya Ramen Bar from Japan (and opening in San Francisco this summer in Japantown), Naruto Ramen from New York, Iza Ramen, Orenchi Beyond and Ramen Taka from Bay Area. Plans are being made for an even larger Ramen Fest next year at J-POP SUMMIT 2017.

Sake Summit
The Sake Summit area was the most extensive yet presented at any J-POP SUMMIT and added a festive libation to the weekend’s events and also gave attendees the opportunity to learn about the world of sake from a variety of premier sake purveyors that included Kikusui; Otokoyama; Hakushika; Kurosawa; Katana; Hakutsuru; Fukuju; Sequoia Sake and Takara Sake USA.

Travel Pavilion
This year, J-POP SUMMIT 2016 debuted an extensive “VIRTUAL TRIP TO JAPAN” attraction from JAPANKURU, a travel organization encouraging millennial tourism to Japan. Guests dove deep into Japanese culture and “visited” three Zones that featured interactive experiences fusing the past, present and future and showcasing what makes Japan a travelers’ delight. Highlights included the debut of KURUKI, Japankuru’s new kawaii (cute) blue dog character that made live appearances on the stage. A visit to “Tokyo Daijingu,” a mock-up of a major Shinto shrine in Tokyo was the most popular experience, and guests prayed for good fortune in the “Shrine” and received fortunes and prizes. The Kawaii Station highlighted “Harajuku,” the world-renowned mecca of “kawaii (cute)” culture and legions of attendees and fashion devotees donned colorful and fancy pop-inspired ensembles and accessories.

J-POP Drag Queen Contest
The first-ever J-POP SUMMIT Drag Contest was held on the Main Stage with local celebrity drag hosts D’Arcy Drollinger and Heklina, and J-POP SUMMIT’s Guest of Honor Mitz Mangrove as a special celebrity judge. Five contestants competed, displaying anime, manga, and cherry blossom motifs and making the event one of the highlights of the Sunday stage activities.

Interactive Summit
J-POP SUMMIT 2016 marked the second annual Interactive Summit, bringing Japanese and Japanese-American tech along for the ride. Startups and worldwide corporations alike debuted the latest in Japanese innovation, from Yamaha’s autonomous motorcycle-riding humanoid robot “Motobot,” to MESH’s network of buttons that make any device smart, to INUPATHY’s dog collar that lights up different colors based on your pup’s emotions.

Mazda zoomed in at full speed with displays of its new CX-3 and MX-5 MIATA cars. But guests didn’t have to wait to drive them: Mazda used Sony’s Gran Turismo to let attendees sit behind a real wheel and drive laps in Mazda’s latest vehicles on a professional raceway without even leaving the venue. Likewise, TOTO brought its A100 Washlet, a toilet seat fit for 2016 with its bidet pump, heating, automatic seat opener and push-button controls to adjust the whole experience.

Meanwhile, the Sessions at Gallery 308 buzzed with the combined entrepreneurial spirit of Japan and San Francisco/Silicon Valley’s unique symbiotic bi-national relationship that is driven by technological innovation. Featuring panels on Designed IoT and Robotics, the event began with a startup pitch contest, “Innovation Weekend SF 2016,” where founders presented their businesses to a wide range of professional attendees. The winner was Velo Lab for its smart key lock called Skylock. The runner-up was to Butterfly. Both teams will be invited to Tokyo at the end of this year for the Innovation Weekend Grand Finale 2016 to compete with other winners and runners-up from all over the world.

About J-POP SUMMIT
J-POP SUMMIT is one of the world’s biggest Japanese pop culture events, held every summer in San Francisco, CA. By introducing the latest in Japanese music, fashion, film, art, games, tech-innovations, anime, food, as well as niche subcultures, the festival has become a landing platform for new trends from Japan.

Official website: www.j-pop.com
Official YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/JPOPSUMMIT/featured

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Aniplex of America to Begin Ticket Sales for Yuki Kajiura LIVE ~featuring SWORD ART ONLINE~ Ticket Sales

July 20, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Aniplex of America to Begin Ticket Sales for
Yuki Kajiura LIVE ~featuring SWORD ART ONLINE~
Ticket Sales for the Mega-Hit Show to Begin July 23

SANTA MONICA, CA (July 20, 2016) –Aniplex of America announced today that ticket sales for the
“Yuki Kajiura LIVE ~featuring SWORD ART ONLINE~” concert will begin this Saturday (July 23,
2016) at 12PM (PDT) through Ticketmaster. The concert will take place at the world-famous Dolby
Theatre in Hollywood, California on January 14, 2017. Aniplex of America also announced that there
will be VIP tickets which include an autograph session with Kajiura and some of the other performers
available for purchase.

Direct link to the Ticketmaster event page: http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/090050F2BB234DEA

About “Yuki Kajiura LIVE ~featuring SWORD ART ONLINE~”
The multi-talented music composer, song-writer, and music producer, Yuki Kajiura, is debuting her
mega-hit live show, “Yuki Kajiura LIVE ~featuring SWORD ART ONLINE~” in Hollywood at the
world-famous Dolby Theatre!

Kajiura’s unique style which fuses the essence of both European and East Asian sounds has gained a
global following and is now known to many as the “Kajiura Sound.” In addition to serving as the music
producer for the popular vocal trio, “Kalafina,” she is also known as the composer of the hit animated
series “Puella Magi Madoka Magica” and “Fate/Zero.”

This January, Kajiura will present this exclusive event with an all-star ensemble of over ten musicians
including Koichi Korenaga and singers Remi, Kaori, Wakana, and Yuriko Kaida. They are coming all
the way from Japan to perform your favorite songs from Sword Art Online.

Fans can definitely “log in” to the beautiful world of Sword Art Online through this musical celebration.

About Aniplex of America Inc.
Aniplex of America Inc. (Santa Monica, California) is a subsidiary of Aniplex Inc. (headquartered in
Tokyo, Japan) – a Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) group. Aniplex Inc. is a leading provider of anime
content, along with music production and distribution in Japan. Aniplex of America has launched
fan-favorite Blu-ray and DVD titles including the Sword Art Online series, Your lie in April, KILL la
KILL, Bakemonogatari, Fate/Zero, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Blue Exorcist, NISEKOI, OREIMO 2,
Magi: The Kingdom of Magic, Expelled From Paradise, The irregular at magic high school,
ALDNOAH.ZERO, Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] and DURARARA!!×2. The company’s
ever-growing line-up of shows includes our most recent titles such as: ERASED, The Asterisk War,
OWARIMONOGATARI, Charlotte, Classroom Crisis, WAGNARIA!!3, GOD EATER and HAIFURI
(High School Fleet).

www.AniplexUSA.com
www.facebook.com/AniplexUSA
www.twitter.com/aniplexusa
www.Youtube.com/AniplexUS
www.twitch.tv/aniplexusa
###

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Aimer releases new double A-side single “insane dream / us”

July 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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A collaboration project with Taka (ONE OK ROCK) and TK (Ling toshite sigure)

Releasing her previous EP “ninelie” this May, the single ranked in the top 10 of the Oricon Music Chart in Japan, making this Aimer’s 5th straight single to do so.
In no time, Aimer has released a new double A-side single which is a special collaborative project, featuring the talents of ONE OK ROCK vocalist Taka and TK, the vocals & guitarist of Ling toshite sigure.

The first title song, “insane dream” was written/produced by Taka and recorded in Los Angeles, CA.
Taka also took part in the chorus, that results in a deeply emotional song that combines the synchronized vocals of Taka and Aimer.

The second single titled “us” was written and produced by TK.
The basic recording was completed in Berlin, Germany with TK handling engineering responsibilities with drummer BOBO and musician Jin contributing to the project as well.

“insane dream / us”

Smartlink:
http://smarturl.it/insane-dream

VEVO:
http://www.vevo.com/watch/aimer/Insane-Dream/JPU981601870

Links
http://www.aimer-web.jp
https://twitter.com/Aimer_and_staff
https://plus.google.com/+aimer/posts

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Aniplex of America Announces AkibaFest™, A New Animation and Technology Festival Taking Place October 15th & 16th In Little Tokyo, Los Angeles

July 2, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Aniplex of America Announces AkibaFest™, A New Animation and Technology Festival Taking Place October 15th & 16th In Little Tokyo, Los Angeles Los Angeles-based publisher of anime hit franchises like Sword Art Online announces 2-day animation and Japanese pop culture festival

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Aniplex of America, a Los Angeles-based publisher of many of today’s most popular anime franchises today announced their plan to bring AkibaFest™ –a new type of anime convention to Southern California– inspired by the most popular aspects of Akihabara, aka the Japanese pop culture capital of the world. AkibaFest™ will take place on October 15th and 16th in 2016 in the Little Tokyo section of Los Angeles.

Fans of anime, manga, games, cosplay, and more can register for updates on the AkibaFest™ website now. The full site will launch in late-July, with updates on performers, activities, participating anime and game publishers, as well as ticket and pricing details. For fans of animation and everything related to Akihabara, AkibaFest™ promises to be the ultimate fan event of the year.

Aniplex of America President, Hideki Goto, said “It’s clear from the passion exhibited by anime fans, cosplayers, manga collectors, tech enthusiasts and gamers that there is still a thirst for new experiences. However, it is only with the support of the fans that we can make AkibaFest a successful event. Only with their enthusiastic participation can we turn Little Tokyo into ‘Little Akiba’ on the weekend of October 15th and 16th.”

John Inada, Aniplex of America’s Director of Business Development said “A lot of events offer different facets of Japanese culture, but there hasn’t been an event that really brings it all together. Our goal for AkibaFest is to fill this void in as authentic manner as possible. We’re going to transform Little Tokyo into the closest thing to ‘Akiba’ as possible. If we can’t bring you to Akihabara, we’re going to bring Akihabara to you.”

AkibaFest™ is a cooperative venture between Aniplex of America, other notable anime and video game publishers, technology partners, and the Little Tokyo business community. Fans will be able to enjoy exclusive film screenings, expert panels and workshops, playable video game demos, technology demos, cosplay contests, themed cafés, exclusive merchandise offers, Japanese food and beverages, and much more.

For more information please visit the ANIPLEX USA website: http://akibafest.com/

About Aniplex of America Inc.
Aniplex of America Inc. (Santa Monica, California) is a subsidiary of Aniplex Inc. (headquartered in
Tokyo, Japan) – a Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) group. Aniplex Inc. is a leading provider of anime content, along with music production and distribution in Japan. Aniplex of America has launched fan-favorite Blu-ray and DVD titles including the Sword Art Online series, Your lie in April, KILL la KILL, Bakemonogatari, Fate/Zero, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Blue Exorcist, NISEKOI, OREIMO 2, Magi: The Kingdom of Magic, Expelled From Paradise, The irregular at magic high school, ALDNOAH.ZERO, Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] and DURARARA!!×2. The company’s ever-growing line-up of shows includes our most recent titles such as: ERASED, The Asterisk War, OWARIMONOGATARI, Charlotte, Classroom Crisis, WAGNARIA!!3, GOD EATER and HAIFURI (High School Fleet).

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