Everything you love about Japanese culture under one roof
After 9 successful festivals, Hyper Japan returns to London to celebrate its tenth festival, showcasing everything we love about J-culture.
Hyper Japan is the most vibrant and exciting festival in the UK that celebrates all aspects of J-culture. Tens of thousands of Japanese culture enthusiasts return to the festival year on year to experience the latest Japan has to offer. Food, cosplay, manga, gaming and technology are all represented at the festival, offering a variety of material.
Kazuhiro Marumo, Hyper Japan’s Managing Director, said that his team were working hard to ensure that the 10th Hyper Japan festival was a success,
“It’s great to see Japanese culture becoming a staple in the capital’s event calendar. For our tenth festival we are working harder than ever to ensure the magic of Japan is captured at Olympia and is delivered to our loyal attendees and newcomers.”
‘Resonate’ visited the festival and we are happy to report that the event was certainly a success, fulfilling everything Marumo was striving for on an incredibly large scale. Indeed, upon entering London’s Olympia Grand, the sheer gargantuan size of the festival alone will impress you.
With stalls sprawling as far as the eye can see and the aroma of fresh Japanese food filling their nostrils, visitors knew instantly that they were not leaving any time soon. It’s not a case of quantity over quality either, as the seemingly endless row of stalls never seem to disappoint either. Each stall offers something unique, curious and at times, delicious.
Japan is universally known for its cuisine. Its unique range of fish, noodles and rice dishes as well as its unique creations such as sushi, has people all over the world watering at the mouth at just the thought of it. A Japanese festival without Japanese food would be a crime. Fortunately, Hyper Japan has some of the best Japanese food you can find in London, with perhaps the best Japanese food court in the entire country. From katsu curries to sushi to octopus balls to yaki soba noodles, you’ll definitely find something to satisfy your Japanese food cravings.
No meal is complete without dessert, so luckily Hyper Japan has some of the prettiest cupcakes and macarons you’ll ever see. If you can resist the temptation to buy at least one of these scrumptious treats, we applaud you.
Whilst Japanese food is unquestionably delicious, for a J-culture lover, Japanese food merely scratches the surface of Japanese culture. For hardcore J-culture lovers, anime, manga and gaming are far more important than food, and Hyper Japan are more than aware of this. If it wasn’t clear enough already, one simply had to observe some of the festival’s visitors to see how committed they were to the experience. With costumes ranging from Pikachu onesies to full on anime re-imaginations, ubiquitous hardcore J-culture and cosplay lovers dressed to impress.
Manga readers and anime lovers were also impressed by the sheer volume of comics and paraphernalia attached with it. From rare comics to mainstream comics, Hyper Japan houses them all across a number of stalls. Whilst the comic books may be slightly pricier than on the high street, the variety and rarity of the books are unparalleled.
Another key component of J-culture is its cutesy side. Adorable pandas, soft toys and plush teddies were in abundance at Hyper Japan and it was clear that its visitors loved it. Even the ‘Resonate’ boys tried to embrace the kawaii culture.
Weapons and wrestling
Don’t let the pink plush teddies fool you. Japanese culture is far from soft and timid. To ensure that no one went away from the festival thinking this, Hyper Japan had its very own boxing ring with some pretty hardcore wrestlers. Wrestling matches were held throughout the day, with the grunts and thuds being heard from all around.
If fighting wasn’t tough enough for you, the vast sword collection that a couple of stalls were show casing would certainly reassure you that the Japanese are not to be messed with.
Of course, a festival about Japanese culture without including technology and gaming would be at best unforgivable and at worst deeply offensive. Fortunately Hyper Japan certainly doesn’t fail to deliver. With some of latest tech from Japan, including a robot arm, VR experiences and an entire gaming section led by Nintendo themselves, Hyper Japan’s gaming and tech was first class. Whatsmore, the entire gaming section was immersive, meaning that gamers could try out the latest Nintendo games on a range of devices.
Perhaps the world’s hottest game right now, Pokemon Go has taken the mobile gaming industry by storm. The already popular franchise had been cultivating a legion of diehard fans since its inception in 1996 and has now unleashed its most successful game since its debut Game Boy Red and Blue counterparts. Thereby, unsurprisingly, Pokemon had representation at Hyper Japan and whilst gamers might not have been able to catch Pikachus, they nonetheless had the opportunity to have their photo with him and to bask in the nostalgia of the early Pokemon days by playing the original games. Even Team Rocket was there!
The Hyper Japan stages are highly fought over by performing artists. As a result, Hyper Japan presents and showcases some of the best Japanese talent. Ranging from locally based SOAS Min’yo folk group to internationally acclaimed singers such as Airly Momoco, who was undoubtedly gave the performance of the weekend, visitors were not short of live entertainment. Charisma.com, Azumi Inoue, Beckii and Broken Doll were other big names this year.
Japanese culture is fascinating to say the least and Hyper Japan captures it perfectly. For anyone with even the slightest interest in J-culture, make sure you attend next time Hyper Japan is in town. Amy Poon, who attended the final day of the festival, thought it was amazing,
“I thought it was amazing, wandered round eating loads of stuff and generally getting too full from sweets and weird green tea biscuits. Definitely going back for their Christmas market!”