Waku Waku +NYC is the hottest new Japanese anime and pop culture festival coming to New York City, so we had to come to the biggest anime convention in New Jersey, AnimeNext. A few members of our team are headed there this weekend, June 12-14, and we even have a booth in Con Row!
If you’re also attending AnimeNext, and you’ve been curious about Waku Waku +NYC, why not stop by our booth? We’ll be happy to answer any questions you’ll have.
We also have a surprise in store for all AnimeNext attendees, so check your goodies bag after you get your badge!
PS: My personal recommendation is that you check out the Studio Trigger panel, Saturday from 9pm-11pm in Panel 1, and the FLOW concert, Friday from 8pm-9:30pm in Main Events. YEEART!
May 17th saw a group of demonstrators in Akihabara, the otaku capital of Japan, rallying against the presence of foreigners living in Japan. Declaring that foreigners are “criminals” and should leave the country, as well as targeting international non-profit organizations in Japan, this hate speech was countered by another group who, in a show of camaraderie with the foreigners in Japan, declared that “otaku have no borders.”
Akihabara is no stranger to public displays nor traumatic events. In 2008, Tomohiro Kato killed seven people and injured 10 others in a violent rampage in broad daylight, which resulted in heightened security and a tenser atmosphere in Akihabara until 2011. At the time, criticism arose that the sense of isolation often associated with “otaku behavior” might be having a negative influence on Japanese society.
Although the anti-foreigner demonstration did not appear to have any specific ties to anime and manga fans, it is rather notable that the counter-protest was specifically under the banner of otaku against racism in Japan. While being an otaku does not automatically mean that one is a strong believer in cultural diversity, it does potentially speak to some of the values that underline Akihabara, especially as it has become internationally famous as a spiritual home for geeks and fans of Japanese popular culture over the past 15 to 20 years. It’s as if, by putting their self-identities as otaku at the forefront of the counter-protest, the otaku protesters were declaring that Akihabara is no place for close-minded racism, while also striving to show that being an otaku does not necessarily mean isolation from society.
More pictures of the counter-protest can be seen courtesy of Natsuki Kimura.