J-POP SUMMIT FESTIVAL 2013 – Day One by Dennis A. Amith and Angelo Delos Reyes (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

July 28, 2013 by  

It has now become one of the must goto events for Japanese pop culture fans in California.

The first day of the J-POP SUMMIT FESTIVAL 2013 brought several thousand people to Japantown in San Francisco on July 27th.

And for their fifth year, organizers of the event wanted to go bigger and better, so this year’s  pop culture-themed street fair would incorporate music, fashion, cinema, art, anime, cosplay, architecture and cuisine.  But also incorporate a Sunday concert not in Japantown but at Union Square.

Among the guests at this year’s event include pop and fashion icon Kyary Pamyu Pamyu; The American debut for all female rock band LoVendoЯ led by recent Morning Musume graduate, Tanaka Reina; art director and founder of 6%DOKIDOKI, Sebastian Masuda; “PES project: NEXT GENERATION “CROSS COLLABORATION” director Hidekazu Kohara; voice-over actors/pop unit Sweety (Yui Hasegawa, Sayaka Takenouchi and Yurika Takagi), rock band The Akabane Vulgars on Strong Bypass; pop artist Kylee; the human beat box DAICHI; architect Kyohei Sakaguchi; “Library Wars” director Shinsuke Sato; “Dreams for Sale” director Miwa Nishikawa; animator Katsuya Terada; and Harajuku Kawaii models Eva, Ayumi Seto, Yura and Saki Sato.

The day began with a press conference featuring Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Sebastian Masuda and the Kawaii models.  Despite having traveled the world, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu explained to the press that this was her first time visiting San Francisco.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu told the media, “As you already know, I have been to Los Angeles and New York on tour.  This is my first time in San Francisco and I have yet still to walk around the city but I want to see the fans in San Francsico.  And the message I want to make is that we have been working hard in putting together this dream project because we wanted to bring the experience of shopping in Harajuku to San Francisco.”

Sebastian Masuda talked about bringing Kawaii culture to America.  Masuda said, “When we started, it was a niche market.  Now that (Kawaii) has grown to a mass appeal, we wanted to move forward and try something new and convey and this Kawaii culture to more and more people.”

When discussing her reaction to her growing international fanbase, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu said, “I was quite surprised about the reaction overseas, because when we made those music videos, we were making them for the Japanese audience.  But when it went up on YouTube, reaction was coming from all around the world.  I was very surprised but it makes me very happy!”

After the press conference, many people attending the festival showed their interest of purchasing the Harajuku inspired clothing and merchandise at the New People store.

Felicia Gonzalez of Cerritos, California traveled all the way north to the J-POP SUMMIT FESTIVAL 2013 with a group of her friends, dressed in their lolita outfits.  A regular attendee to the event for the past three years, Felicia was excited for the event to see Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and the Kawaii models but also a fan of Sebastian Masuda’s work.

“I love Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s fashion sense.  She inspires many people around the world and today, me and several of my friends are hoping to shop at the New People store.  Each time we come here, we end up spending a lot but this is an event that me and my friends are really excited about!  I’m still surprised that Kyary and Sebastian are here at this event!  I hope I can meet them,” Felicia said.

For Anthony Medina of Milpitas, California talked about his first time attending the J-POP SUMMIT FESTIVAL.

Anthony explained, “I haven’t attended the previous festivals but I am a big Morning Musume fan and since Tanaka Reina graduated from the group earlier this year, I have been following her rock band LoVendoЯ.  I was surprised to find out that she was coming to this event!  So, I’m waiting to get an autograph and maybe take a picture with her later today.  I’m really excited to see her and to also watch Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s performance.  But also, to watch DAICHI perform, as I follow him on YouTube.  I’m also looking forward to watching Kylee and SWEETY perform but also finally getting a chance to watch ‘Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo’!  I have been waiting to watch that film, so I’m really looking forward to watching it.”


The first day of the J-POP SUMMIT FESTIVAL 2013 featured the opening ceremony which included a sake barrel breaking, Takara Sake USA presented a performance with human beat box DAICHI, a Vocaloid Dance Contest SOLO competition, guest of honor Director Miwa Nishikawa, a Harajuku Kawaii! Event, a music performance by pop artist Kylee, artist Katsuya Terada, J-POP IDOL 2013, a music performance by The Akabane Vulgars on Strong Bypass and concluded with performances by the voice actor trio Sweety and LoVendoЯ.

While many anime and cinema fans came for the Japan Film Festival of San Francisco to watch “Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo”, “How to Build a House”, “Lesson of the Evil” and “Dreams for Sale”.

The J-POP SUMMIT FESTIVAL 2013 concludes on Sunday, July 28th with a fashion contest by BABY, THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT, a performance by human beatbox DAICHI, a Vocalloid Dance Contest GROUP competition, artist Kyohei Sakaguchi, CAL Raijin Taiko, Pocky Eating Conest, Slime Girls, a Real Escape Game, the Cosplay Masquerade in Japantown.

While at Union Square from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., a free live outdoor concert featuring Kylee, LoVendoЯ, DAICHI and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.

Meanwhile for the Japan Film Festival of San Francisco, screenings of “Wolf Children”, “Naruto Shippuden – The Lost Tower”, “Berserk: The Golden Age Arc II” and “Rurouni Kenshin”.

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