Next month will see the arrival of a new anime event in the UK - Hyper JapanRunning from October 1st 2010 - October 3rd 2010 at the Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London, the weekend event promises to be a Japanese pop culture experience which will cover anime, cosplay, cuisine, competitions, stage performances and a range of Japanese retailers and much more. 

To find out more about the event we spoke to Emily Bastian, who will be organising the cosplay and otaku village sections of Hyper Japan:

Japanese cuisine will be one of many of the cultural events happening over the weekend

Animetion:  How did Hyper Japan come about?

Emily: "Hyper Japan is organised by Cross Media - a company specialising in Japanese food, drink and culture.  They are known as the publisher of Eat-Japan magazine and Tokyo City's tourism representative in the UK.  After successfully running the Eat Japan food festival and Tokyo Day tourism event, Cross Media wanted to make their own show to introduce Japanese pop culture and affordable food to a new audience of younger people."
How does Hyper Japan differ from other anime events?
Emily: "Hyper Japan was launched to bring Japanese companies together directly with UK fans.  This year will see several  companies exhibiting in the UK for the first time - Toei Animation, Good Smile Company, EVA Store and KERA magazine, to name a few!

Secondly, Hyper Japan is not just aimed at anime fans, but at lovers of Japanese food, fashion, and the general public, too - so there will be a wide range of activities and exhibitors, making a more exciting and varied event!  Visitors will be able to sample many kinds of cuisine at the Eat-Japan food court, see

 famous punk and lolita brands in the KERA fashion show and experience everything from traditional calligraphy to Japanese beauty treatments.

Lastly, Cross Media run a monthly "focus group" meeting with anime and fashion fans, to get their opinion on what is popular within the British otaku community and what they would like to see at the show.  Many of the people who have taken part in our focus group are very active members of the anime, cosplay and lolita scenes (the owners of some well known websites have taken part, too!).  Their advice has helped to shape the event into something which (we hope) is exciting and authentic for anime fans."

we notice you have several exhibitors and sponsors from overseas, was this difficult to arrange?

Emily: "
My job is to organise the cosplay events and PR within the otaku community, so I don't know the details of particular exhibitors.  However, most of Cross Media's staff are Japanese, they have built up a lot of Japanese contacts over the years, so they are able to make use of that network to bring exhibitors from Japan who otherwise perhaps wouldn't be part of a UK show. "

we note that many events are focused on various facets of Japanese culture, what is there for anime fans?

Emily: "
The cast of new shojo anime Milky Holmes will be joining us at Hyper Japan!  The four seiyu will be performing and signing autographs at the event.  Milky Holmes is a brand-new anime, so UK fans get to meet the actresses before anyone else!  There will also be anime screenings on the Friday afternoon, manga tutorials on the Saturday, and of course three cosplay competitions on Saturday and Sunday! (see below).  We are lucky to have animation studios Toei Animation and Bushiroad exhibiting at the event, as well as several companies selling anime goods and toys (I'm especially excited about Square Enix's stand!  Anime fan groups, manga artists and events, will be exhibiting in the community area, too."

Animetion: what events will there be for cosplayers?

Emily: "
We are running three cosplay competitions - the Hyper Japan UK Cosplay Award, Grand Cosplay Ball Talent Search and COSParade.  The COSParade is a simple competition for individuals and groups.  The Hyper Japan UK Cosplay Award will take place on Saturday, and gives pairs of cosplayers the chance to win a trip to Japan!

For the Talent Search, we've teamed up with another event I work with - the Grand International Cosplay Ball.  The winning act will win an expenses-paid trip to London and have the chance to perform at the ball!  We've seen all sorts of performances at the Grand Cosplay Ball in recent years, and I'd love to see that kind of variety in the competition.

Everyone is investing a lot of time and money to help make all three competitions a success, so I would love to see as many cosplayers taking part as possible!  It's rare that a cosplay competition sees this level of sponsorship, so please sign up and tell your friends about it!"
considering you are within a few weeks of J-Culturecon and MCM London Expo, do you have any fears of oversaturation?

Emily: "
For exhibitors, no - because most of Hyper Japan's exhibitors are not attending the other two shows, and there has been plenty of interest from UK-based companies too. 

However for visitors, it's true that there are some people who may be interested in all three events and only have the funds to visit one or two.  However, I think that Hyper Japan offers a refreshing alternative with its mix of exhibitors and activities, and the relatively low ticket price makes it affordable  

Evangelion Store will exclusively be attending Hyper Japan, along with many other retailers

for people living in the South East.  It was not originally planned to run in October (the date and venue were changed due to circumstances out of Cross Media's control).  I'm sure that if the event runs again in 2011, a date will be chosen which makes it easier for everybody to attend.  Cross Media really wants to listen to anime fans and shape the event into something that people will enjoy - so we appreciate your feedback via our Facebook or the Otaku Village blog."

as Hyper Japan is a new event, what feedback have you received from the UK anime community? 

Emily: "
We have had a fantastic response!  We have been very lucky to receive support from many fan-run websites and events.  When we exhibited at Amecon, we had a lot of positive feedback from anime fans and dealers, who seem generally excited about the event.  There was even so much interest from artists and fan groups wanting to book tables in the community area at the show, that unfortunately we were not able to accommodate everybody.  Hopefully we can expand this area at future events."

Animetion: what anime will be screening at the event?

Emily:  "
Our anime screening is being kindly sponsored by Beez Entertainment.  We are still in the process of choosing which titles to screen, however as the stage area is open to everybody, we expect it will be something family-friendly which appeals to all ages."

Animetion: What plans does Hyper Japan have for the future?

Emily: "Providing the first event is a success, there will definitely be another one in 2011, and there is talk of moving to a larger venue with better facilities.  The more people that support the event, the bigger and better it will get - sponsors and companies in Japan will be much more keen to attend an event they know has a strong following.  So if you can show your support, and let us know what you think, then we can work to make this event into something really special for the future."

For further information on the venue, ticket prices, venue, etc. please visit the Hyper Japan website here - http://www.hyperjapan.co.uk

Images courtesy of Hyper Japan