Arriving on Sunday 17th July 2016, I could see from the pouring crowds that people were excited for the event. The Kensington Olympia was abuzz, practically alive with colour. From the moment you stepped inside, you knew you were in for a treat.
Entering the event was a relatively smooth experience, with very little queuing at all from what I could see. It was certainly impressive to see how streamlined the organisers had managed to keep everything on the second busiest of the days on that three-day event weekend.
Notably, having been to Hyper Japan’s events quite consistently over the last two years, the set up was a lot smaller than it had been, which was a little sad; but still, there were plenty of things to see and do inside. Lovers of all things Japanese were certainly well catered for.
Inside, the event was well lit and everything was spaced out superbly. There was plenty of walking space on the ground floor, with wide aisles for easy navigating. It was probably a little more cramped upstairs with the slightly narrower lanes where the food stalls were, but otherwise, it wasn’t too arduous an experience to get about.
For most of the day, my attention was turned to the main Hyper Live stage. I initially caught glimpses of the J-Pop Rap by Charisma.com as I walked around the venue, and with such good acoustics, you could enjoy the vibrant tunes as you shopped around. So after which, I went down to the stage and settled into watch Mayuko sing during her ‘Ethereal Music with Mayuko’ segment. It was a nice surprise to see her on stage again, as she had performed beautifully at the event two years prior, and she was again engaging the crowd. She and her guitarist were exceptional artists and it was a pleasure to listen to her wonderful voice and her distinctive style of Japanese folk infused music again.
After that musical treat, I got to experience the COSTest presented by Ricoh, a competition and exhibition of some fine cosplayers, showing off a wonderful selection of costumed characters including Cardcaptor Sakura and Sailor Moon. It was my first time seeing a cosplay competition in full, and I thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle showcasing such talented individuals. I definitely didn’t envy the judges trying to select the winners. Congratulations to the top three, though everyone who entered did so well and all deserve a pat on the back for all the effort they put into their costumes and their performance.
Speaking of cosplay, despite there not being a huge amount of cosplays at the event, those who did turn up in costume looked amazing. You can check out some of the cosplayers who appeared over the weekend on the Renegade Revolution Facebook page here: Renegade Revolution Hyper Japan Festival 2016 Photos – I hope that cosplay will grow in popularity with Hyper Japan as it certainly brings a lot of colour and passion to the event.
The J-Culture showcase exhibited an array of talented practitioners of many different types of Martial Arts. Sitting watching their routines, they made quite the impact – literally in many cases – with such an energetic display of their moves, not afraid to slam each other to the mats. I was in awe of their well-honed abilities. They had such a controlled manner that had obviously come through years of hard work. Kudos to each and every one of them for letting the crowds have a taste of their abilities.
Hyper Japan Festival brought all the wonderful aspects of Japan right to London’s doorstep from their selection of food, to the vast array of hard to obtain merchandise on sale and the displays of culture through music and performance. If you missed out on the experience this summer, fear not! Hyper Japan Christmas Market will be back this November from Friday 25th to Sunday 27th. Whether you enjoy Japanese culture, or are a fan of anime and manga, or maybe just want to experience something completely different, give Hyper Japan a try!
Photography © MayDay
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