With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Monday, June 30, 2014

“KAWAii!!” themed fashion and music at 2014 J-POP SUMMIT Festival

Ayumi Seto
 2014 J-POP SUMMIT FESTIVAL AND MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON
PRESENT DIVERSE NEW SIDES OF JAPANESE POP STYLE
WITH “KAWAii!!” THEMED FASHION AND MUSIC EVENTS

San Francisco’s Annual Summertime Japanese Pop Culture
Extravaganza Spotlights An Array Of Edgy Fashion Shows,
Live Music Performances And Unique Shopping Opportunities

The 2014 J-POP SUMMIT Festival, San Francisco’s premiere celebration of Japanese pop culture, music, fashion and film, announces the return of a variety of “KAWAii!!” themed fashion shows, contests and live performances showcasing edgy new sides of Japanese pop style along with autograph and meet-and-greet opportunities with some of the J-Pop fashion world’s fastest rising stars.

Japan’s unique “Harajuku culture” has evolved into “KAWAii” culture, which focuses on ever-evolving new forms of “cute” couture and is having tremendous impact on international pop/rock music and fashion. “KAWAii” is a word often used to comment on style and fashion and has become part of the daily vernacular of the youth culture of many countries.

This year’s KAWAii!! events are supported by Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco and presented as the first collaboration with the MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON Project, a new initiative developed by ASOBISYSTEM, a prominent entertainment company based in Harajuku, Tokyo widely known for managing pop icon Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, to promote a wider range of Japanese pop culture on an even bigger, more global level. Additional information on the MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON initiative is available at: http://moshimoshi-nippon.jp/en.

Also returning will be the J-POP SUMMIT KAWAii!! Pop-Up Shop. A colorful Kawaii!! fashion boutique stocked with a wide selection of unique items from some of the hottest labels imported straight from Tokyo will be open inside NEW PEOPLE (MARUQ on Mezzanine Floor). NEW PEOPLE is the renowned Japanese pop culture entertainment complex located at 1746 Post St. San Francisco, CA 94115 in the heart of the city’s Japantown district. More details on are available at: http://www.j-pop.com/2014/harajuku-kawaii.

“POP is Our Tradition” is the theme of the 2014 J-POP SUMMIT and the annual Festival has always showcased the strong influence of pop culture on modern fashion in Japan, which has become an epicenter of some of the world’s newest trends. The J-POP SUMMIT has become one of the largest events in the United States dedicated to showcasing the many sides of Japanese pop culture and fandom. Attendance in 2013 exceeded 80,000 people.

MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON Presents KAWAii!! Events & Special Programming

KAWAii!! FASHION CONTEST
Saturday, July 19th, 1:00pm, Pagoda Main Stage, Japantown
This year, the J-POP SUMMIT will hold a special fashion contest where contestants can show off their own Kawaii fashion style! The Festival welcome Una, Ayumi Seto, Akira and Misa Kimura as judges! The winner will receive KAWAii!! an assortment of premiums including “Aymmy in the batty girls’ products. Additional information on this event is available at: http://www.j-pop.com/2014/harajuku-kawaii.

AYMMY IN THE BATTY GIRLS” FASHION SHOW
Saturday, July 19th, 1:00pm, Pagoda Main Stage, Japantown
Models Ayumi Seto, Misa Kimura, Una and join others from Bay Area to showcase the colorful summer collection from Seto’s brand new fashion line, “Aymmy in the batty girls.” Many of the same outfits featured in the show will be available to purchase at KAWAii!! Pop-Up Store located inside the NEW PEOPLE building (Mezzanine Level).

AKIRA LIVE PERFORMANCE
Saturday, July 19th, 1:00pm, Pagoda Main Stage, Japantown
J-POP SUMMIT fans can catch Akira, a popular model and singer in a special solo live set. She notably debuted as a model for "KERA,” a popular gothic fashion magazine, and quickly became one of the top models in Japan. Akira is also a pop singer and her debut single, "Aoki Tsuki Michite," is featured as the ending theme of the popular anime series, Black Butler ~ Book of Circus. Her music and striking gothic-androgynous style have captured legions of fans both in Japan and internationally and her debut album is slated to release on July 30th. For more information visit: Akira.

UNA LIVE PERFORMANCE
Saturday, July 19th, 6:30pm-8:30pm, J-POP LIVE at UNION SQUARE
Sunday, July 20th, 12:45pm, Pagoda Main Stage, Japantown
Una is a charismatic model well-known in the Harajuku scene for her unique and edgy fashion style. She launched pop music career with her first single “Juicy Juicy” last year and went on to release digital mini album, “True of Lights/Danse Danse.” Una participated in “U-EXPRESS LIVE 2014″ in Saitama and appeared with Katy Perry, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and released her newest “BOOM BOOM BOOM,” in April. She brings her danceable groove to J-POP SUMMIT for a special concert performance not to be missed! For more details, visit: UNA.

AYUMI SETO AUTOGRAPH & PHOTO SESSION
Saturday, July 19th, 3:00pm, NEW PEOPLE Mezzanine
Sunday, July 20th, 2:00pm, NEW PEOPLE Mezzanine
Ayumi Seto, a fashion model and designer of her own new brand, “Aymmy in the batty girls,” will hold a special autograph/photo session on both days of J-POP SUMMIT! Each day, the first 50 customers to purchase “Aymmy in the batty girls” products during festival will receive a pass! For more information, visit: Ayumi Seto.

KAWAii!! POP-UP SHOP AT NEW PEOPLE
Saturday, July 19th & Sunday, July 20th, 11:00am-6:00pm
NEW PEOPLE Mezzanine
Visit NEW PEOPLE’s retail store, located inside the MARUQ boutique the venue’s Mezzanine Floor, will offer exclusive lines of fashion apparel, designs and accessories imported strait from Tokyo! Don’t miss the new summer collections of “Aymmy in the batty girls,” a new fashion brand inspired by a unique mix of 60s and 70s Americana popular culture, punk and rock fashion designed by model Ayumi Seto.

KAWAii!! MEET-UP AREA Presented By MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON
Saturday, July 19th & Sunday, July 20th, 11:00am-6:00pm
KAWAii!! TENT, Post Street, Japantown
MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON will host a special tents located on Post St. in the heart of the J-POP SUMMIT Festival action where Kawaii fans can gather and meet! Get special info about the latest Kawaii trends, check out new merchandise, and meet other fans and models! More information will be updated at: www.j-pop.com/2014/harajuku-kawaii.

This year, the J-POP SUMMIT offers a wide variety of programming including FREE live concerts by top J-Pop and J-Rock artists on the Pagoda Main Stage in Japantown and also at the special “J-POP LIVE at UNION SQUARE” concert on the evening of Saturday, July 19th in San Francisco’s historic downtown commercial intersection. J-POP SUMMIT will also present a variety of special Guest of Honor appearances, sake-tasting and fine foods events at the POP GOURMET Food Festival, and first-run theatrical film premieres at NEW PEOPLE Cinema that launch the second annual Japan Film Festival of San Francisco (JFFSF). Complete details on key events and major attractions are available at: http://www.j-pop.com and www.JFFSF.org.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

BLIND MASSAGE at NYAFF 2014

Image © Copyright Wild Bunch 2014
Blind Massage / Tui na
Directed by Lou Ye
China, 2014, 117 minutes
When: Monday, June 30 at 8:45pm
and Wednesday, July 2 at 2:30pm 
Where: The Film Society of Lincoln Center's
Walter Reade Theater, 165 W 65th Street, NYC
U.S. Premiere

Synopsis (courtesy Subway Cinema and the Film Society of Lincoln Center):
Easily the most powerful and innovative Asian film of this year, Blind Massage consolidates the rebirth of Mainland director Lou Ye (NYAFF 2013 selection Mystery) as a world-class talent. Lou creates a true ensemble movie: the blind and partially sighted masseurs and masseuses of Sha Zonqi Massage Centre, in Nanjing, central China, a distinctly unglamorous, bottom-line undertaking run by the light-hearted Sha Fuming (Eric Qin Hao) and the more serious Zhang Zongqi (Wang Zhihua).

It’s a powerful ride through a parallel world of metaphysical cinema that Lou first flirted with in Suzhou River (1999) and the big-budget Purple Butterfly (2003), but this time he also shows us a world of faces without eyes, full fathom five into the fundamentals of cinema and the very fabric of perception, a world where light and darkness lose their usual meaning but basic human emotions (love, jealousy, friendship) remain the same.

Alongside its scenes of beauty felt or briefly glimpsed, Blind Massage contains moments of humor, joy, and pure horror, and Jóhann Jóhannsson’s music is always there to add color to Lou’s magnificent poetic canvas.

Image © Copyright Wild Bunch 2014

AsianCineFest Thoughts:
I saw Blind Massage at a press screening at the beginning of June. The film is a very compelling drama. What impressed me was how, for the most part, what the blind and partially sighted are concerned with are the same things that the sighted confront: the search for love and companionship, family pressures, and so forth.

Some of the scenes are depicted in what -- for lack of a better term -- I'll call "blind-o-vision." By this I mean that what's depicted on the screen turns dark and out of focus, much like what I imagine a partially sighted person sees. For me this served to create empathy with what the lives of the blind and partially sighted are like in that regard.

Blind Massage is a far different film from the vast majority of those shown at NYAFF, this or any other year. It's to the credit of the Subway Cinema programmers of the festival that they include such a film and it most certainly deserves viewer support.

AsianCineFest Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars; highly recommended.

These screenings of Blind Massage are part of the New York Asian Film Festival 2014.

New Sci-Fi horror manga series TERRA FORMARS coming July 15th

TERRA FORMARS © 2011 by Ken-ichi Tachibana, Yu Sasuga/SHUEISHA Inc.
MAN’S COLONIZATION OF MARS GOES SHOCKINGLY AWRY
IN THE INTENSE NEW SCI-FI HORROR MANGA SERIES
TERRA FORMARS

Off-World Terror Takes A Deadly New Form In A Gripping
Sci-Fi Action Series From VIZ Media’s Signature Imprint

VIZ Media administers a spine-tingling dose of sci-fi horror with the launch of the new manga (graphic novel) series – TERRA FORMARS – on July 15th.

The series, illustrated by Kenichi Tachibana with story by Yu Sasuga, will be published under the VIZ Signature imprint, is rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers, and will carry an MSRP of $12.99 U.S. / $14.99 CAN. Future volumes of TERRA FORMARS, which is continuing in Japan, will be released domestically on a bi-monthly basis.

In the late 26th century, overpopulation on Earth has reached the breaking point and humanity must find new frontiers. The terraforming of Mars has taken centuries but is now complete. The colonization of Mars by humanity is an epoch-making event, but an unintended side effect of the terraforming process unleashes a horror no one could ever have imagined…

In the opening volume, after humanity’s first manned mission to the Red Planet was lost, a second expedition arrives. The explorers prepare to exterminate the cockroaches that were used to transform the Martian environment, but are shocked to discover that the insects have mutated into giant, aggressive humanoids with one overriding goal – to exterminate all humans! However, this crew of explorers has each undergone the “Bugs Procedure,” a terrifying experimental surgery designed to make them more than human…

“Kenichi Tachibana’s crisp and kinetic artwork is the perfect vehicle for Yu Sasuga’s sci-fi action drama that will grab TERRA FORMARS readers from the very first chapter,” says Mike Montesa, Editor. “Step off-world into a stark vision of humanity’s future gone shockingly awry in this intense new horror story that presents the dark side to man’s quest to create new worlds among the stars.”

Yu Sasuga made his debut as a manga writer in Miracle Jump with TERRA FORMARS, a project in collaboration with artist Kenichi Tachibana. TERRA FORMARS was nominated in 2013 for a Manga Taisho award. Tachibana’s previous works include Potchari Maniacs and his 2007 series, Lucky Seven Stars.

For more information on TERRA FORMARS, or other manga titles from VIZ Media’s VIZ Signature imprint, visit www.VIZ.com.

"The Snow White Murder Case" trailer (English subtitle) JAPAN CUTS 2014

The Snow White Murder Case / Shirayukihime Satsujin Jiken
Directed by Yoshihiro Nakamura
With Mao Inoue, Go Ayano, Misako Renbutsu, Nanao,
Shihori Kanjiya, Nobuaki Kaneko, Erena Ono
Japan, 2014, 126 minutes
When: Saturday, July 11, 2014 @ 6:00 PM
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street NYC
(Between 1st and 2nd Avenues)
U.S. Premiere

The Snow White Murder Case, directed by Yoshihiro Nakamura (helmer of Fish Story and Golden Slumbers) offers one of the best brain teasers of the year. Based on a novel by bestselling author Kanae Minato, the film dissects the odd goings-on behind the grim discovery of a corpse in the woods of a national park near Tokyo.

The victim is a beautiful young office worker, Noriko Miki (Nanao), the object of much jealousy at the cosmetic company where she was employed. Suspicions soon turn toward her co-worker Miki Shirono (Mao Inoue), who has vanished after the murder.

Blogger/journalist Yuji Akahoshi (Go Ayano) takes his investigation to the world of social media and the case quickly turns into a witch hunt with a full-blown Twitter storm. As the plot makes brain-bending twists and turns, the camera takes a cold, hard but not humorless look at the damage wrought by the pettiness of a passive-aggressive society. (Synopsis courtesy Japan Society NY.)

This screening of The Snow White Murder Case is part of JAPAN CUTS 2014 and is a co-presentation with the New York Asian Film Festival.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

MONSTER: THE PERFECT EDITION, Vol. 1 to debut on July 15th, 2014

MONSTER KANZENBAN © 2008 Naoki URASAWA/Studio Nuts
Story coproduced with Takashi NAGASAKI
Original Japanese edition published by SHOGAKUKAN
 NAOKI URASAWA’S MONSTER MANGA SERIES
RETURNS TO PRINT IN NEW PERFECT EDITION
RELEASE FROM VIZ MEDIA

New Definitive Edition Of The Acclaimed Psychological
Manga Thriller Delivers A Tense Crime Drama Filled
With Conspiracy, Political Intrigue And Murder

VIZ Media has announced the release of the ultimate collection of creator Naoki Urasawa’s acclaimed manga (graphic novel) suspense masterpiece. MONSTER: THE PERFECT EDITION, Vol. 1 will debut on July 15th. The new print-only oversized release will be published under the VIZ Signature imprint, is rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens, and will carry an MSRP of $19.99 U.S. / $22.99 CAN.

MONSTER: THE PERFECT EDITION is the ultimate version of the acclaimed psychological crime thriller. This new release features a new translation, re-mastered pages, and a generous amount of full-color content. Future volumes of MONSTER: THE PERFECT EDITION will be released four times a year in North America, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand for a total of nine volumes covering the entire series.

In Naoki Urasawa’s MONSTER, Johan is a cold and calculating killer with a mysterious past, and brilliant Dr. Kenzo Tenma is the only one who can stop him! Conspiracy and serial murder open the door to a compelling, intricately woven plot in this masterwork of suspense. In the first volume of the new PERFECT EDITION, everyone faces uncertainty at some point in their lives. Even a brilliant surgeon like Kenzo Tenma is no exception. But there’s no way he could have known that his decision to stop chasing professional success and instead concentrate on his oath to save peoples’ lives would result in the birth of an abomination. The questions of good and evil now take on a terrifyingly real dimension. Years later, in Germany during the tumultuous post-reunification period, middle-aged childless couples are being killed one after another. The serial killer’s identity is known. The reasons why he kills are not. Dr. Tenma sets out on a journey to find the killer’s twin sister, who may hold some clues to solving the enigma of the “Monster.”

“Naoki Urasawa grabbed the world’s attention with MONSTER, and the series firmly established him among the highest echelons of the manga genre,” says Mike Montesa, Editor. “The definitive MONSTER: THE PERFECT EDITION offers fans that have never read the original version a compelling new way to enjoy this riveting and wonderfully twisted psychological thriller. With its larger trade paperback size, new cover design, and bonus color pages, this new release is also a great way for familiar fans to revisit the renowned series. We look forward to unleashing MONSTER once again upon readers across North America this summer!”

Naoki Urasawa's career as a manga artist spans more than thirty years and has firmly established him as one of the world’s true manga masters. Born in Tokyo in 1960, Urasawa debuted with BETA! in 1983 and hasn't stopped his impressive output since. Well-versed in a variety of genres, Urasawa's oeuvre encompasses a multitude of different subjects, such as a romantic comedy (YAWARA! A Fashionable Judo Girl), a suspenseful human drama about a former mercenary (Pineapple ARMY; story by Kazuya Kudo), a captivating psychological suspense story (MONSTER), a sci-fi adventure manga (20TH CENTURY BOYS), and a modern reinterpretation of the work of the God of Manga, Osamu Tezuka (PLUTO: URASAWA X TEZUKA; co-authored with Takashi Nagasaki, supervised by Macoto Tezka, and with the cooperation of Tezuka Productions).

Many of Urawasa’s works also spawned popular animated and live-action TV programs and films, and 2008 saw the theatrical release of the first of three Japanese live-action films based on 20th CENTURY BOYS. In North America, VIZ Media has published a variety of Urasawa’s manga works including, MONSTER, NAOKI URASAWA’S 20TH CENTURY BOYS, NAOKI URASAWA’S 21st CENTURY BOYS and PLUTO: URASAWA × TEZUKA.

No stranger to accolades and awards, Urasawa received the 2011 and 2013 Eisner Award for Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia, and is a three-time recipient of the prestigious Shogakukan Manga Award, a two-time recipient of the Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize, and has received the Kodansha Manga Award. Urasawa has also become involved in the world of academia, and in 2008 accepted a guest teaching post at Nagoya Zokei University, where he teaches courses in, of course, manga.

For more information on MONSTER: THE PERFECT EDITION, or other manga titles from VIZ Media, visit www.VIZ.com.

Friday, June 27, 2014

SNOWPIERCER and BOON Joon-ho

John Hurt, with glasses, Chris Evans, center, and Jamie Bell, right, at the tail of the train

Last night, Thursday, June 26th, I had a wonderful evening at the Walter Reade Theater of the Film Society of Lincoln Center. BOON Joon-ho's fabulous science fiction thriller Snowpiercer was shown in all it 125 minute uncut glory and afterwards Director Boon (The Host, Mother) took part in an interview and Q&A with Subway Cinema Co-Founder and Executive Director Goran Topalovic.

Tilda Swinton as Mason, Wilford's chief spokesperson

When the Weinstein Company logo came up during the opening credit, I let out a long, not particularly loud but clear "hiss." This elicited considerable laughter from the audience, many of whom clearly were well aware of the hostility Harvey Weinstein generated amongst Asian film fans with his desire to have Snowpiercer's running time shortened for American audiences, as he had Wong Kar Wai do with The Grandmaster.

SONG Kang-ho as Namgoong Minsoo

As far as the movie itself goes, it's set in the not too distant future. An attempt to fix global warning has succeeded too well and has brought on a world-wide ice age. Only a thousand or so human beings are still alive, and they live on a train that continuously travels around the world. Their is a definite hierarchy amongst the passengers. At the very head of the train, in charge of its perpetual motion engine is Wilford (Ed Harris), an entrepreneur who had been a train enthusiast since his childhood and had created the train and in its route. At the tail of the train are the lowest of the low, the "unwashed masses" who subsist on "protein bars" made out of you-don't-want-to-know-what. In between are the well off and the security forces that keep them safe. One of Wilford's spokesperson functionaries is Mason, played by an almost unrecognizable Tilda Swinton. She reminds those in the tail that there's a place for everyone on the train and that everyone should remain in their place. Her speeches are punctuated by the refrain "and so it is."

In the school car of the train

Chris Evans -- looking nothing like his Captain America character -- plays Curtis, the reluctant leader of a revolt of the "tail people." To make it to the front of the train and gain control of the engine, he obtains the assistance of Namgoong Minsoo (SONG Kang-ho) to open the security gates between the cars by bribing hims with Kronole, an addictive substance which is inhaled. Both Namggong, who designed the security system, and his daughter, Yona (KO Ahsung) are addicted to Kronole.

Along the way there are several violent confrontations with the security forces, startling revelations of how the "one-percenters" live, all of which culminates in a startling face-off between Curtis and the finally-revealed Wilford.

Goran Topalovic (left), BOON Joon-ho (center) and the translator (right)

In the interview/Q&A afterwards, the charming BOON, who spoke mainly in Korean but often briefly punctuated his remarks in English, provided numerous insights into the film. Although the story is based on Le Transperceneige, a graphic novel by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand, and Jean-Marc Rochette, the film differs from it in major ways. The whole idea of revolution, for example, came from the director; it is not in the original source material. BOON also said that it was not that difficult working primarily with English-speaking actors and dialogue, mainly because the process of making a film is much the same everywhere in the world.

One way in which it did differ, and presented him with somewhat of a problem, was the need to deal with unions, something he doesn't face when making films in South Korea. Also challenging was the need to comply with rules for child actors. He was concerned because one fairly lengthy scene involved about fifty children. He explained that he was able to move shooting along at a good pace for that scene by dividing the children into two groups and filming one group in the morning, the other in the afternoon.

I happened to become aware of one interesting piece of information in the lobby afterwards. I overheard someone talking about KO Ahsung, who plays Yona, the daughter of SONG Kang-ho's character. Currently just shy of her 22nd birthday, she had played  Hyun-seo, the little girl that was taken by the monster in BOON's The Host (2006), when she was thirteen year old. I found this to be an interesting little factoid that I hadn't seen in any writings about Snowpiercer.

As I said, it was a great evening all-around.

AsianCineFest Rating for Snowpiercer: 4 out of 4 stars; highest recommendation. One of the best thrillers I've seen in a long time.

Starting today, Friday, June 27th, Snowpiercer will begin a one week run at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center as part of the New Releases at the Film Society film series. Director BOON Joon-ho will participate in Q&As at the 6:15om screenings on Friday and Saturday.

Free screening of FASTEN YOUR SEATBELT next Tuesday, July 1st

Korean Cultural Service New York
presents
Korean Movie Night 2014
Special Screening
 
 Fasten Your Seat Belt
Directed by Jung Henin
South Korea, 2013, 93 minutes
When: Tuesday July 1, 2014 @ 7:00 pm
Doors open: 6:30 PM
Where: Tribeca Cinemas 54 Varick Street, on the corner of Canal, NYC
Near the A, C, E @ #1 Canal Street subway stops
Admission: FREE!!!

The New York Asian Film Festival and The Korean Cultural Service are proud to co-present a special free screening of the hilarious 2013 film FASTEN YOUR SEATBELT, celebrating acclaimed actor HA Jung-woo’s first film as director.

In this acclaimed directorial debut, a pop star, businessman, monk, and paparazzi photographer are among the passengers aboard an airplane when a typhoon strikes. Whereas one might assume the film then becomes tragic, it’s quite the opposite – embracing the brilliant comedic misadventures of the passengers and crew, all convinced a crash is imminent!

The plot was inspired by the real-life experience of Korean actor RYOO Seung-beom, The 2013 New York Asian Film Festival and Korean Cultural Service’s “Actor in Focus.”

And if you want to experience more great cinema from actors-turned-directors, The New York Asian Film Festival will be screening PARK Joong Hoon’s directorial debut, TOP STAR, at The Film Society of Lincoln Center on June 28th! Tickets are available here.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

GOLDEN CHICKENSSS at NYAFF

Star (and producer) Sandra Ng (fourth from left) and some of her "Golden Chickens"
Golden Chickensss / Gam Gai SSS
Written and Directed by Matt Chow
With: Sandra Ng (who also produced), Ronald Cheng, Louis Koo, Nick Cheung,
Anthony Wong, Dayo Wong, Chin Ka-lok, Chapman To, Jinny Ng,
Elena Kong, Eman Lam, Rainky Wai, Monna Lam, Fiona Sit,
Michelle Wai, Ivana Wong, Carl Ng, Eason Chan,
Lo Hoi-pang,Tony Leung Ka-fai,… and others
Hong Kong, 2014, 102 minutes
Language: Cantonese with English subtitles
When: Friday, June 27, 8:30pm
and Tuesday, July 1, 4:00pm
Where: The Film Society of Lincoln Center
Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street, NYC
North American Premiere

In the Hong Kong comedy Golden Chickenss, Sandra Ng Kwan Yue reprises her role as Kam, first seen as a charming prostitute (i.e., a "Golden Chicken") in Golden Chicken (2002) and then in Golden Chicken 2 (2003). After this eleven year hiatus, Kam is now a highly successful madam with a large roster of her own "chickens." (Ms. Ng will attend the Friday evening screening of  Golden Chickensss and will be presented with the Star Asia Star Award. Golden Chicken will be shown at NYAFF on Saturday, June 28th at 12:30pm)

She shepherds them to clubs, beach parties, whatever and wherever there's a way to cash in on the "do-anything-for-money spirit" of Hong Kong. She even goes with two of her girls to Japan to learn about their blowjob parlors, where customers stand on one side of a wall while the employees -- including Takuya (Wyman Wong), a man who excels at his job -- sit on the other. Access is provided by holes in the wall. Other lessons are learned in the "20 second subway grope" cars.

As you can tell from the above partial list of those appearing in the film, there are a ton of Hong Kong's film stars who are present, some in significant roles, others in brief cameos. My favorite occurred early on in a brief scene in which Donnie Yen plays Ip Man, only he's dressed like Tony Leung Chiu Wai as Ip Man in Wong Kar Wai's The Grandmaster! Hilarious!

Louis Koo has a terrific bit as a Lous Koo look-alike from -- get ready -- Bumfuck, China. And be sure to stay through the credits or you'll miss Sandra Ng wrestling with Andy Lau in a spoof on his popularity. (A running joke in Hong Kong is that he's so beloved that he could be elected Chief Executive.)

I really enjoyed Golden Chickensss. Just about all the comedy comes across well, which is not an easy thing in a film with subtitles, especially one from a place that has its own idiosyncratic sense of humor. There's more to appreciate in the film if you're familiar with Hong Kong cinema and its major screen personalities. I recognized quite a few, but there were some that I didn't until I saw who they played on the film's IMDb cast page.

AsianCineFest rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars; highly recommended.

These screenings of Golden Chickensss, presented with the support of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office New York, are part of the HONG KONG FOREVER! spotlight section of the New York Asian Film Festival 2014.

"Unforgiven" trailer (English subtitles) JAPAN CUTS 2014

Unforgiven / Yurusarezaru Mono
Directed by Sang-il Lee
With Ken Watanabe, Koichi Sato, Akira Emoto,
Yuya Yagira, Shiori Kutsuna
Japan, 2013, 135 minutes
When: Friday, July 18, 2014 @ 8:30 PM
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street NYC
(Between 1st and 2nd Avenues)
East Coast Premiere

"Unexpectedly brilliant." --Time Out London

In adapting Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven (1992), Sang-il Lee paid tribute to the film's grandiosity and scale while exchanging America's Western frontier for Meiji-era Japan, a time of immense social and political change after the fall of the Shogunate. Jubei (Ken Watanabe), once a samurai assassin, has survived to raise his children as an impoverished farmer. Before his wife's death, he promised her that he would lay down his sword, but when Kingo Baba (Akira Emoto) comes with news of a bounty on two men who mutilated the face of a prostitute, he can't turn him down.

Young Goro (Yuya Yagira) joins the hunt, but they'll have to get through sadistic police chief Ichizo Oishi (Koichi Sato) first, and Jubei must confront even greater injustices, as well as his past deeds and killer heart. With gorgeously choreographed action set pieces in Hokkaido's beautiful and cruel landscape, this Unforgiven stands tall and alone. (Synopsis courtesy Japan Society)

Part of JAPAN CUTS 2014.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Tokyo power trio PINKY DOODLE POODLE coming to J-POP SUMMIT Festival on July 20th

 PINKY DOODLE POODLE BRINGS A HOT DOSE OF
J-ROCK AND ROLL POWER TO 2014 J-POP SUMMIT

Female Fronted Power Trio From Tokyo Performs At Bay Area’s
Premiere Japanese Pop Culture Festival In Support Of New Record;
Catch Special Band Introduction From Good Charamel Records
Founder And Goo Goo Dolls Member Robby Takac

The 2014 J-POP Summit Festival, San Francisco’s annual celebration of Japanese pop culture, music, fashion and film, welcomes the high energy, female-fronted J-rock of Tokyo’s Pinky Doodle Poodle. The power trio, led by lead vocalist/bassist/guitarist Yuria, will perform in the heart of the Festival action on Sunday, July 20th on the Pagoda Main Stage in Japantown.

The 2014 J-POP SUMMIT Festival is set take place across San Francisco’s historic Japantown district on Saturday and Sunday, July 19th and 20th. FREE live concert sets by some of Japan’s hottest pop and rock acts will take place throughout both days on the Pagoda Main Stage in Japantown’s Peace Plaza as well as at a special open-air live concert in city’s downtown Union Square the evening of Saturday, July 19th. Complete J-POP SUMMIT Festival details, artist info and timely updates are available at www.J-POP.com.


Pinky Doodle Poodle appears in support of their full-length debut record which was produced by Goo Goo Dolls member Robby Takac. The band will also do a meet-and-greet with fans and attendees in the NEW PEOPLE Tent located on Post St. immediately following their afternoon concert set. CD’s and additional merchandise will be available for purchase. Learn more about their J-POP SUMMIT appearance at www.j-pop.com/2014/pinky-doodle-poodle.

Robby Takac, whose band The Goo Goo Dolls is widely adored in Japan as well as the U.S., is set to appear in person to introduce Pinky Doodle Poodle on the Japantown stage on Sunday. Learn more about his Good Charamel Records at www.goodcharamel.com.

Pinky Doodle Poodle’s 10-song self-titled album was released worldwide in April on Takac’s Good Charamel Records, which specializes in releasing J-rock music artists. Pinky Doodle Poodle is also available on iTunes. The record features a memorable cover of the rock classic, “Twist and Shout.”

Pinky Doodle Poodle formed in 2008 and is led by Yuria, a successful Japanese anime singer often heard in popular video games in Japan (such as “Gravion”), as well as on solo records and with her other band Honey Bee. On guitar is George, a long haired shredder/composer who injects the band’s sound with a dose of musical power reminiscent of a marriage of the MC5 and Bad Brains that swirls under Yuria’s playful Japanese/English lyrics and melodies.

Official Band YouTube Channel: PINKY DOODLE POODLE.

TOKYO GIRLS STYLE launches fundraiser project for TV documentary of upcoming U.S. live concert debut

JAPANESE POP TEEN IDOL GROUP
TOKYO GIRLS STYLE
LAUNCHES CROWDFUNDING PROJECT
“Let’s Join Hands Together and Make Sunflowers Bloom in San Francisco”
FOR 2014 J-POP SUMMIT CONCERT

Phenomenal Teenage Pop Idol Act Launches Fundraiser To Produce
A Special TV Documentary Capturing The Group’s U.S. Live Concert
Debut With A Sea Of Sunflowers At The Annual Bay Area
Japanese Pop Culture Extravaganza In July

In conjunction with their upcoming appearance at the 2014 J-POP SUMMIT Festival and J-POP LIVE AT UNION SQUARE concert appearance, the Japanese teen pop idol group – Tokyo Girls’ Style – has launched a crowd-funding project dubbed “Let’s All Join Hands to Make Sunflowers Bloom Girls’ Style in San Francisco.”

The fundraiser’s proceeds will help finance a special Tokyo Girls’ Style TV documentary, co-produced with SPACE SHOWER TV Plus, which will document the group’s monumental first-ever U.S. concert with full of Sunflowers at Union Square in San Francisco downtown, as well as present interviews and other special J-POP SUMMIT Festival appearances.

Tokyo Girls’ Style will appear as Guests of Honor for a series of live performances and special personal appearances at the 2014 J-POP SUMMIT Festival, one of the nation’s largest celebrations of Japanese pop culture, music, fashion and film. The 5-member all-girl dance and vocal group will perform live in concert along with other top pop artists from Japan on the evening of Saturday, July 19th as part of the “J-POP LIVE AT UNION SQUARE,” taking place in city’s downtown Union Square area, and also will perform live on the Pagoda Main Stage in Japantown on the afternoon of Sunday, July 20th. Full J-POP SUMMIT Festival details and updates are available at: www.j-pop.com.

Replica sunflowers will be distributed to concertgoers attending the special J-POP LIVE AT UNION SQUARE Saturday evening performance and Tokyo Girls’ Style will ask the audience to wave them in unison when they sing an English version of their hit song "Himawari to Hoshikuzu" (Sunflowers and Stardust), enveloping the entire area in a sea of sunflowers and summer color. The performance will be captured for a live music video for the documentary. Pledge “Seeds” start at only $19.00 and Tokyo Girls’ Style will personally thank contributors with a variety of premium items including exclusive behind the scenes performance and backstage photographs, DVDs of the San Francisco concert, and an array of personally autographed items and more. Fans can visit the official J-POP SUMMIT Media Sponsor – Tokyo Girls Update – at: http://tokyogirlsupdate.com/crowd/en/single.php?project_id=286 for additional information on the Tokyo Girls’ Style Sunflower crowd-funding project.

“Tokyo Girls’ Style is one of the hottest pop idol Kawaii groups in Japan and their upbeat songs and dance-driven live show will add an exciting component to the line-up of amazing pop artists we will present this year,” says Seiji Horibuchi, the President/CEO of NEW PEOPLE, Inc. and Chairman of the J-POP SUMMIT Festival Committee. “Music, fashion and film are among the most popular aspects of Japanese pop culture and Tokyo Girls’ Style will exemplify all three throughout the J-POP SUMMIT Festival. We are honored to present the group’s U.S. debut and look forward to fans of all ages giving them a warm welcome on-stage for the concert, on the big-screen for their film premieres and also in-person at the special artist meet-and-greet!”

The smash hit group Tokyo Girls’ Style formed in 2010 and has become a major new force in the bustling Japanese pop music scene. Consisting of 5 teenagers - Ayano Konishi, Miyu Yamabe, Hitomi Arai, Yuri Nakae and Mei Shoji – the group, whose member’s average age was only 15 when they formed, was signed to Avex and released four debut singles within their first year. Tokyo Girls’ Style has gone on to captivate millions of avid fans across Japan with a hook-driven funk and disco sound that is infused with a glossy urban appeal. As of 2012, the group was the youngest female acts to ever headline a concert at Tokyo’s most famous Budokan live hall, has released several hit records in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and also performed live shows in Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.

Additional information on Tokyo Girls’ Style is available at: http://tokyogirlsstyle.jp/tokyogirlsstyle_en.

Fans can also catch their music videos on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/TokyoGirlsStyle.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

THE CHEF, THE ACTOR AND THE SCOUNDREL is available today

Well Go USA
Entertainment
Presents
The Chef, The Actor and the Scoundrel / Chu zi Xi zi Pi zi
Directed by Hu Gaun
China, 2013, 108 minutes

The Chef, the Actor and the Scoundrel becomes avaialble today on Blu-ray, DVD and digital (video-on-demand, electronic sell0-through and streaming). I watched the Blu-ray for purposes of this review and must say that the video transfer was gorgeous. the colors really popped. Of course, this high quality imaging on Blu-ray is pretty standard for Well Go USA releases.

Set during the occupation of China durting World War II, the film is an unusual comedy in that it centers about the need to find a cure for a cholera epidemic that is devastating the population of Beijing. While the structure of the title brings to mind the British film The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989),  The Chef, The Actor and the Scoundrel is actually closely related to Eastern Bandits (2012), another Mainland movie about Chinese heroes who fight the Japanese occupiers during WWII.

In this case the film specifies early on that it's about four heroes, not three as the title would seem to indicate. The fourth hero is Wu Hongying who is played by Liang Jing, who -- interestingly enough -- was also in Eastern Bandits. She is the wife of the Chef (Liu Ye, Curse of the Golden Flower) and is also referred to as the Proprietress and elsewhere as the Stupid Wife since she's apparently (though not really) a mute. My understanding is that the English title is a straight translation of the original Chinese, so it's anyone's guess why she is not included in the title.

In any case, the Scoundrel (Huang Bo of Lost in Thailand) kidnaps two Japanese officers of the North Chinese Area Army, Manchukuo Division Unit 731. One is Sugai Shinichi, a lieutenant in the Imperial Army and the other, the real target of the kidnapping, is Colonel Ogasawa Goro, a Bioweapons Specialist. It seemed to me that the Japanese started the epidemic, but that the cholera had mutated and was killing both Chinese and Japanese indiscriminately. So the point of the kidnapping is for the Chinese patriots to obtain the cure to the new strain of cholera and save the city.

The Scoundrel, who is dressed much like a cowboy from the American West and could just as easily be called the Bandit or the Thief, deposits his two captives in the restaurant, a large establishment with no customer because of the Japanese curfew. There we meet the Actor (Zhang Han Yu of Special ID and Back to 1942), who wears the heavy make-up and speaks in the high voice of Chinese opera.

And that's where much -- a good bit too much, in my opinion -- of the film takes place. The four heroes maintain their bizarre personas as they employ various means -- threats, humiliation, what have you -- to obtain information about the cure. Then they go off into a room by themselves where their true "smart" personalities come to the fore. (One of them is even a microbiologist!) The problem is that there's just way to much time spent in the restaurant without enough going on to keep things interesting.

It seems that director Hu Gaun, who c0-wrote the screenplay with Run Nian Dong, recognized this and tried to provide some diversion by introducing three Chinese detectives, who believe that something of great material value is inside the restaurant. Unfortunately, their presence doesn't really go anywhere or add much to the story.

There's one relatively brief action scene at the beginning of the film (i.e., the kidnapping), and a big one that works pretty well towards the end as the Japanese troops make their move on the restaurant.

The film is highly stylized visually and the comic aspects of it crossed the language barrier for the most part. The humor, when it worked, amused me, but I definitely did not ever come remotely close to "splitting a gut."

The Bonus Features are:
- The Making of The Chef, The Actor and The Scoundrel" (11:19)
- Blooper Reel (1:36)
- Trailer (1:42)

Part war movie, part spy tale, part comedy, The Chef, the Actor and the Scoundrel was enjoyable enough to watch, but not more than that.

AsianCineFest Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars; better than fair, but not quite good.

SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL anime series coming to Neon Alley and Hulu

VIZ MEDIA PREMIERES ANTICIPATED
SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL ANIME SERIES
ON NEON ALLEY AND HULU ON JULY 5TH

North America’s Leading Anime Distributor Launches Reboot Of
The Famed Fantasy Action Series; Free Streaming Episodes
Premiere At The Same Time As Japanese Debut

VIZ Media delivers the much-anticipated launch of the new SAILOR MOON anime series – SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL – on July 5th on Hulu and Neon Alley. The series, which reboots the beloved shojo fantasy action property, debuts simultaneously in North America at the same time as its online streaming premiere in Japan, making a true simultaneous release. Future new episodes (subtitled) will debut in North America and Japan the first and third Saturday of each month.

Based on Naoko Takeuchi’s legendary manga (graphic novel) series, SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL (rated ‘TV-PG’), retells the story of Sailor Moon as she searches for her fellow Sailor Guardians and the Legendary Silver Crystal to stop the dark forces of Queen Beryl. Visit www.NeonAlley.com and Hulu.com/sailor-moon-crystal for more information; the trailer may also be viewed at http://www.hulu.com/watch/651047 and http://youtu.be/I0B5gnKvHKQ.

SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL will be available through NeonAlley.com, VIZ Media’s consolidated online destination for FREE streaming anime content in the U.S. Episodes will also be available on the free, ad-supported Hulu and Hulu Plus subscription service, where users can watch on a variety of devices including Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation®3 (PS3®) or PlayStation®4 (PS4™) systems Roku, Chromecast, and mobile devices. A full list of Hulu and Hulu Plus-enabled devices can be found at http://www.hulu.com/plus/devices.

“Fans everywhere have eagerly awaited the launch of the new SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL series, and we are very excited to announce its premiere on Neon Alley and Hulu starting next month,” says Charlene Ingram, Senior Manager, Animation Marketing. “More than two decades after it first captivated millions of fans, the smash hit story of the valiant sailor guardians returns in a big way to thrill a whole new generation of viewers. Join in the celebration throughout the summer as VIZ Media marks the return of this legendary anime property!”

The original smash hit SAILOR MOON anime series was inspired by the bestselling manga (graphic novel) series created by Naoko Takeuchi (published in North America by Kodansha). In the series, Usagi Tsukino is a clumsy but kindhearted teenage girl who transforms into the powerful guardian of love and justice, Sailor Moon. Meeting allies along the way who share similar fates, Usagi and her team of planetary Sailor Guardians fight to protect the universe from forces of evil and total annihilation.

Additional information on Neon Alley is available at: www.NeonAlley.com.

For more information on SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL, or other award-winning anime titles from VIZ Media, visit www.VIZ.com.

Monday, June 23, 2014

"Neko Samurai ~Samurai ♥ Cat~" trailer (English subtitles) JAPAN CUTS 2014

Neko Samurai ~Samurai ♥ Cat~ / Neko Zamurai
Directed by Yoshitaka Yamaguchi
With Kazuki Kitamura, Misako Renbutsu,
Yasufumi Terawaki, Kanji Tsuda, Shigeyuki Totsugi
Japan, 2014, 100 minutes
When: Saturday, July 19, 2014 @ 7:30 PM
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street NYC
(Between 1st and 2nd Avenues)
International Premiere
SOLD OUT!!!!!

Introduction and Q&A with actor Kazuki Kitamura, with CUT ABOVE Award Ceremony

Followed by the Japan CATS Party!

Obviously, this is a must see film. Let's not even kid around about that."
--Badass Digest

Okay, this one is already SOLD OUT, but if you didn't buy a ticket you can at least watch the trailer.  One more example of why you should order your tickets for JAPAN CUTS films without delay!

Meanwhile here's a synopsis of Neko Samurai, courtesy Japan Society:

The ever versatile Kazuki Kitamura stars as masterless samurai Kyutaro Madarame, a feared swordsman who has fallen on hard times in old Edo. Caught between two warring gangs in an epic battle of cat lovers and dog lovers, he begrudgingly accepts the canine faction's offer to assassinate the opposite leader's beloved pet: an adorable white cat. Yet upon raising his lethal sword, he cannot bring himself to go through with the act, and the cat melts his ronin heart. But before finding peace as a newly minted cat person, the still fearsome Madarame will have to take on both gangs in a classic samurai street brawl. Kitamura and the cat ("Tamanojo") form a winning onscreen pair in this charming and hilarious romp. Directed by former Takashi Miike Assistant Director Yoshitaka Yamaguchi, Neko Samurai ~Samurai ♥ Cat~ is perfect for cat lovers and cinephiles alike.

Part of JAPAN CUTS 2014.

VIZ announces plans for exciting events at 2014 Anime Expo

MONSTER KANZENBAN © 2008 Naoki URASAWA/Studio Nuts
Story coproduced with Takashi NAGASAKI
Original Japanese edition published by SHOGAKUKAN
VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES EXCITING WEEKEND OF
WORLD PREMIERES, CONVENTION EXCLUSIVES,
PANELS AND MORE AT 2014 ANIME EXPO

Celebrate SAILOR MOON DAY As Well As Catch Exclusive Anime
And Manga Announcements, Special Guests, And So Much More

VIZ Media is preparing an exciting weekend of festivities and fun as it returns to Anime Expo with a jam-packed schedule of special anime premieres, guest appearances, panel discussions, autograph sessions, and promotional giveaways.

The 2014 Anime Expo is North America’s largest anime convention and will be held July 3rd–6th at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles. More details are available at: www.anime-expo.org. VIZ Media will be located on the main convention floor in Booth 1601.

The VIZ Media booth will be a hub of activity with special freebies and promo item giveaways throughout the convention including posters, temporary tattoos, posters, postcards, buttons and more for popular series such as BLOOD LAD, DEADMAN WONDERLAND, SAILOR MOON and ONE-PUNCH MAN.

The VIZ Media retail area also will offer a variety of must-have Anime Expo convention exclusives including Limited Edition ONE PIECE replica manga art imported from Japan, special advance copies of Naoki Urasawa’s MONSTER: THE PERFECT EDITION before it’s available anywhere else, new WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP Jump Packs featuring the exclusive new YU-GI-OH! “Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Evening Twilight” trading card, RANMA ½ anime box sets featuring a special gift with purchase, and much more! Also don’t miss the return of the VIZ MEDIA convention tote bag, FREE with any purchase, available in four amazing designs.

Anime Expo attendees can catch a preview of upcoming anime and manga releases in the VIZ Media panel on Thursday, July 3rd, and then fans of ONE PIECE can get all the latest news on the ONE PIECE manga, anime, video games and more at a super-sized panel set for Friday July 4th, featuring guests from VIZ Media, Funimation, Banda Namco Games and more! Anime fans can also catch up on the latest news and upcoming series premieres set for VIZ Media’s Neon Alley anime streaming service in a special Animation panel on Sunday July 7th. In addition, members of the Shojo Beat editorial team will host a panel on Sunday, and fans can catch the dub premiere of GARGANTIA ON THE VERDUROUS PLANET.

Be a guardian of love and justice and join VIZ Media as it celebrates the return of the legendary action fantasy anime series with SAILOR MOON Day on Saturday, July 5th. The subtitled series is currently streaming exclusively on NeonAlley.com and Hulu.com, and VIZ Media’s acquisition includes all 200 episodes of the revered series, including the never before licensed for North America fifth and climatic final season, “Sailor Stars,” as well as the three features and additional specials.

On SAILOR MOON Day, catch the World Dub Premiere of the first 2 Episodes as well as the reveal of the new English voice cast at the special SAILOR MOON Official Panel. Fans can also catch the premiere of the brand new first episode SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL (subtitled), presented by VIZ Media in a special Anime Expo screening. Meet the voice cast at an exclusive autograph session in the Anime Expo autograph area; fans can also take photos of the talented cast with the Sailor Guardian cosplayers at the VIZ Media booth. Don’t miss the opportunity to join what could become the world’s largest SAILOR MOON Cosplay Event ever with a special gathering the same afternoon in the Anime Expo Main Event Hall.

The SAILOR MOON action also takes place all weekend at the VIZ Media booth with a SAILOR MOON Stamp Rally. Strange things have been happening and Sailor Moon needs your help! Come by the VIZ Media booth at Anime Expo to get your stamp card and mission from the Sailor Guardians. Collect planetary symbol stamps from special booths around the Dealer's Room and return the completed card to the VIZ Media booth to get the exclusive premiere event coin. There's a limited quantity of coins for each day, so be sure to help Sailor Moon before it's too late.

Plus, cool down with free drinks and balloons from the WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP team at the Drink Cart Meet Up, Friday July 4th, between 12 – 7:30pm outside the Los Angeles Convention Center.

VIZ Media Anime Expo Panels & SAILOR MOON Special Events Include:

Thursday, July 3rd

4:45 – 5:45pm VIZ Media Panel (Room LP2)
Join the VIZ Media staff for a presentation and Q & A session all about the latest in manga & anime! Staff will be talking about the latest news, upcoming releases and other cool announcements from the publishing and animation teams. Free manga for attendees while supplies last.

Friday, July 4th

12 – 7:30pm WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP Drink Cart
Weekly Shonen Jump will be handing out free energy drinks featuring NARUTO, ONE PIECE, BLEACH, and more! Look for the cart on Pico Boulevard and Figueroa Street or follow @ShonenJump on Twitter for real-time location.

4:30 – 6:00pm SHONEN JUMP Presents: ONE PIECE (Room LP1)
ONE PIECE is the world’s most popular manga series, with over 300 million volumes sold to-date! Get all the latest news on the ONE PIECE manga, anime, video games and more at this super-sized panel, featuring guests from VIZ Media, FUNimation, Bandai Namco Games and more.

Saturday July 5th – VIZ Media Presents SAILOR MOON DAY

10:00 – 11:30am SAILOR MOON Official Panel (Room LP1)
Join VIZ Media for the world premiere of the all-new, uncut English language premiere of the legendary anime series, SAILOR MOON! VIZ Media will introduce the cast and show the first 2 episodes of the re-mastered classic anime series. Following the premiere, a very special Q & A session will take place with the staff and cast of the production. There also will be a special giveaway for attendees (while supplies last)!!
 [*Note: This special session will feature the World Premiere of the New English Dub of classic SAILOR MOON series Episodes 1 and 2 and announcements at the panel]

12:00 – 12:30pm SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL Screening (Video Room 1)
Based on Naoko Takeuchi’s legendary manga series, SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL retells the story of Sailor Moon as she searches for her fellow Sailor Guardians and the Legendary Silver Crystal to stop the dark forces of Queen Beryl! - Catch the special screening of the first episode of this exciting new series.

1:00pm Special SAILOR MOON Dub Voice Cast Autograph Session (Anime Expo Autograph Area)
Stop by the Anime Expo Autograph Area and pick up your very own SAILOR MOON full-color poster and get it personally signed by members of the official English voice cast.

1:45pm Shojo Beat Panel (Room LP4)
Join manga editors Pancha Diaz and Nancy Thistlethwaite while they discuss favorite series, answer questions, and share what’s coming up for Shojo Beat. Free swag will be provided, including manga, while supplies last.

2:45pm SAILOR MOON Cast Photo Opportunity (VIZ Media Booth #1601)
Fans can take photos of the talented Official English voice cast for SAILOR MOON with the SAILOR GUARDIAN cosplayers from American Cosplay Paradise in a special session.

3:30pm SAILOR MOON Cosplay Gathering (Main Event Hall)
This could be the world's largest SAILOR MOON cosplay gathering EVER! Wear your best Sailor Guardian costume and have a chance to be included on a future release.

4:45 – 6:00pm GARGANTIA ON THE VERDUROUS PLANET Dub Premiere (Video 1)
Get an exclusive look at the first episodes of GARGANTIA, dubbed in English! In the distant future, Ledo, a young soldier from space wakes up and finds himself marooned on an ocean planet. Growing up in space, and knowing nothing but battle, he is a stranger in a strange land, full of odd customs and a foreign language, but he’s not alone. Starting a new journey on this verdurous planet, Ledo must find a way to survive and reconcile the fact that he may never be able to return home.

Sunday July 6th
2:30 – 3:30pm VIZ Media Animation Featuring Neon Alley (Room LP3)
Find out all that's new and awesome directly from the VIZ Media animation team! Discover the inside story about upcoming releases, catch new announcements and the latest on the anime streaming service, Neon Alley. Bring all your anime questions, too because the VIZ Media team will be there to answer them.

Finally, don’t forget to check the Anime Expo screening schedule for a variety of VIZ Media anime titles including showings of BERSERK THE GOLDEN AGE ARC III: THE ADVENT, TIGER & BUNNY THE MOVIE II: THE RISING, RANMA ½, and BLOOD LAD, and more.

For more information on VIZ Media, visit www.VIZ.com.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

VIZ media will be celebrating SAILOR MOON at the 2014 Anime Expo

VIZ MEDIA CELEBRATES
SAILOR MOON DAY
AT 2014 ANIME EXPO

Mark The Return Of The Legendary Anime Series With A Special Series
Of Events And Activities At North America’s Largest Anime Convention

VIZ Media celebrates the triumphant return of the SAILOR MOON anime series with a host of fun activities for SAILOR MOON Day, taking place on Saturday, July 5th during the 2014 Anime Expo.

The 2014 Anime Expo is North America’s largest anime convention, attracting more than 61,000 fans and attendees annually, and will be held July 3rd –6th at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, CA. Full details are available at: www.anime-expo.org. VIZ Media will be located on the main convention floor in Booth #1601.

VIZ Media marks its acquisition of the iconic fantasy anime series with a SAILOR MOON Official Panel on Saturday morning at 10AM in LP1. Hosted by the company’s Senior Manager of Animation Marketing, Charlene Ingram, and SAILOR MOON Associate Producer, Joshua Lopez, the panel will reveal for the first time the brand new cast for the freshly produced English dub and premiere the first two dubbed episodes. SAILOR MOON fans attending this official panel will get a special premium poster while supplies last! Following the Official SAILOR MOON Panel, there will be a special showing of subtitled episode one of the all-new series, SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL, in Video 1 at 12:00 Noon. The series launches on July 5th in Japan, and fans in the United States may catch the simulcast on NeonAlley.com and Hulu, with new episodes debuting each Saturday.

Fans can also look forward to a special voice cast autograph session taking place at 1:00PM in the afternoon in the Anime Expo autograph area, and a cast photo opportunity with the official Sailor Guardian Cosplayers from American Cosplay Paradise at 2:45PM in the VIZ Media Booth #1601. To round out the day’s activities, be a part of the largest gathering of SAILOR MOON cosplayers and fans in North America at 3:30PM in the Main Events Hall (LP1, Petree Hall). Bring your Sailor Guardian finest and you just might end up a part of an upcoming SAILOR MOON video release.

If you can’t make the official Sailor Moon Day activities on July 5th, VIZ Media will also be running a special SAILOR MOON event at their Anime Expo booth for the entirety of the convention. Find one of the official Sailor Guardian cosplayers at booth #1601 for information on how you can get a limited premiere event memorial coin.

VIZ Media has licensed all 5 seasons of the original SAILOR MOON anime series (rated ‘TV-14’), spanning 200 episodes, as well as all three feature films. Included is the long-running show’s fifth and climactic final season “Sailor Stars,” which has never-before been licensed for North American release. As part of the return of the series, VIZ Media is producing a fresh and uncut English dub with an all-new voice cast, will present SAILOR MOON for the first time digitally, and also plans DVD and Deluxe Blu-ray edition sets for release in time for the 2014 holiday season.

Saturday, July 5th, 10:00am SAILOR MOON OFFICIAL PANEL
Room LP1 (Petree Hall)
Join Charlene Ingram, VIZ Media’s Senior Manager, Animation Marketing, and Joshua Lopez, Associate Producer, for the exclusive world premiere of the all-new, uncut English language premiere of the legendary anime series, SAILOR MOON! The session also will introduce the cast and screen the entire first two dubbed episodes of the newly re-mastered anime series. Immediately following the premiere, there will be a very special Q & A session with the animation team and the cast and a special premium poster for attendees, while supplies last.

Saturday, July 5th, 1:00pm SAILOR MOON CAST AUTOGRAPH SESSION
Anime Expo Autograph Area
Stop by the VIZ Media booth and pick up your very own SAILOR MOON full-color poster, personally signed by the new Official English voice cast.

Saturday, July 5th, 2:45pm SAILOR MOON CAST PHOTO OPPORTUNITY
VIZ Media Booth #1601
Fans can take photos of the talented new Official English voice cast for SAILOR MOON with the Sailor Guardian cosplayers from American Cosplay Paradise in a special session.

Saturday, July 5th, 3:30pm SAILOR MOON Cosplay Gathering Room
LP1 (Petree Hall)
Bring your Sailor Guardian finest and be a part of North America’s largest SAILOR MOON cosplay and fan gathering.

VIZ Media is currently featuring SAILOR MOON (subtitled) on its free NeonAlley.com anime streaming channel and also via the Neon Alley brand supported media partners Hulu and Hulu Plus. Two new SAILOR MOON episodes premiere every Monday. Visit www.NeonAlley.com and Hulu.com/sailormoon for more information.

The smash hit SAILOR MOON anime series is inspired by the bestselling manga (graphic novel) series created by Naoko Takeuchi (published in North America by Kodansha). In the series, Usagi Tsukino is a clumsy but kindhearted teenage girl who transforms into the powerful guardian of love and justice, Sailor Moon. Meeting allies along the way who share similar fates, Usagi and her team of planetary Sailor Guardians fight to protect the universe from forces of evil and total annihilation.

For more information on SAILOR MOON, or other anime titles from VIZ Media, visit www.VIZ.com/sailormoon.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

"Greatful Dead" trailer (English subtitles) JAPAN CUTS 2014

Greatful Dead / Gureitofuru Deddo
Directed by Eiji Uchida
With Kumi Takiuchi, Takashi Sasano, Kkobbi Kim
Japan, 2014, 97 minutes
When: Friday, July 18, 10:45 PM
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street NYC
(Between 1st and 2nd Avenues)
East Coast Premiere 

"Dark, bloody, unflinchingly brutal, yet also laugh-out-loud funny, genuinely touching and with a profound social conscience, Greatful Dead is the real deal." --Twitch Film

Wealthy young Nami (astonishing newcomer Kumi Takiuchi) has found herself a hobby to while away the time between ordering new appliances and fashion accessories--surveilling the lives of the crazed and lonely, or "Solitarians," as she calls them. Perched atop the city with powerful binoculars, she tracks the descent of the elderly and unemployed into madness and death, gleefully snapping a selfie beside their freshly decaying corpses. When one of her most prized Solitarians (Takashi Sasano) is snatched up by Christian volunteers and becomes hopeful once again, Nami is sent into a murderous rage, pitting young against old in an epic, bloody battle. Eiji Uchida's genre pleaser is also a cutting critique of Japan's post post-bubble insularity and consumerism. -- Japan Society

This screening of Greatful Dead is part of JAPAN CUTS 2014.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Korean action drama NO TEARS FOR THE DEAD opens today in N. America

CJ Entertainment
Presents
No Tears for the Dead / Wooneun Namja
Written & directed by LEE Jeong-beam
South Korea, 2014, 116 minutes
Language: Korean with English subtitles

South Korea’s highly anticipated film No Tears for the Dead opens in North American theaters today, June 20th. For further info, including theater locations, click here.

Synopsis (courtesy CJ Entertainment):
Abandoned by his mother shortly after immigrating to America, Gon is raised by the mafia and grows up to become a cold-blooded hitman. Though usually flawless in taking out his targets, Gon makes a terrible mistake of killing an innocent young girl. A flood of guilt takes over his life and the situation becomes worse when his boss assigns him the job of killing the young girl’s mother.


Gon’s new target, Mogyeong, is a risk manager at an investment firm and has buried herself in work to bury her grief. She is completely unaware of her role at the heart of a dangerous conspiracy. Finally, she meets the man who wants to tell her the truth behind the death of her child.

Surprise screening of The Mo Brothers film KILLERS at JAPAN CUTS

Killers © 2014 NIKKATSU/Guerilla Merah Films.
Killers / Kirazu
Directed by The Mo Brothers (Kimo Stamboel and Timo Tjahjanto)
With Kazuki Kitamura, Oka Antara, Rin Takanashi,
Luna Maya, Ray Sahetapy, Mei Kurokawa, Denden
Indonesia/Japan, 2014, 137 minutes
In English, Indonesian and Japanese with English subtitles
When: Saturday, July 19, 11:00 PM
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC
Between 1st and 2nd Avenues
East Coast Premiere

Official Selection 2014 Sundance Film Festival

Introduction with actor Kazuki Kitamura

"One of the most interesting, disturbing, and provocative takes on the world of the serial killer ever made." --Twitch

Japan Society has announced the addition of a surprise screening of Killers to the JAPAN CUTS 2014 film festival.


Kazuki Kitamura's tour de force performance as an eerily handsome and decadently deranged serial killer centers this remarkable Indonesian-Japanese co-production. Nomura (Kitamura), a wealthy expat returned to Tokyo from the U.S. after the financial crisis, has taken to killing young women and uploading videos of the acts. Bayu Aditya (rapper Oka Antara), an honest Jakarta journalist whose personal life has been destroyed by a corrupt politician, encounters Nomura's viral snuff films online and his sense of vigilante justice becomes a dangerous bloodthirst.

Communicating anonymously online, Nomura encourages the fledgling killer, but when Bayu wants out, Nomura forces him to complete the transformation in a bloody, operatic finale. Executive produced by Gareth Evans of The Raid, Killers channels American Psycho and Seijun Suzuki's Branded to Kill by way of Johnnie To's Fulltime Killer. By turns funny and assaultive, Killers is one of the most disturbing and rewarding viewing experiences in years. (Synopsis courtesy japan Society)

18+ This film is unrated, but may only be viewed by persons 18 years of age and older.

Part of JAPAN CUTS 2014.

Pop group TOKYO GIRL'S STYLE to make U.S. concert debut at J-POP SUMMIT Festival in San Francisco

2014 J-POP SUMMIT FESTIVAL PRESENTS
THE SMASH HIT JAPANESE POP VOCAL
AND DANCE GROUP TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE

Top Selling Teenage Pop Idol Act Marks Its U.S. Debut With Live Concert
At Annual Bay Area Japanese Pop Culture Extravaganza In July;
Japan Film Festival Of S.F. Also Hosts Two Feature Film Premieres
Starring Tokyo Girls’ Style Members At NEW PEOPLE Cinema

The 2014 J-POP SUMMIT, San Francisco’s premiere celebration of Japanese pop culture, music, fashion and film, will welcome the smash hit teen pop idol group – Tokyo Girls’ Style – as official Guests of Honor for a series of live performances and special personal appearances during this year’s festivities. The event marks the Tokyo Girls’ Style’s first-ever U.S. concert.

The 5-member all-girl dance and vocal group delivers an irresistible funk and disco style infused with glossy urban appeal and will perform a special J-POP SUMMIT Festival live concert along with other top pop artists from Japan on the evening of Saturday, July 19th as part of the “J-POP LIVE AT UNION SQUARE,” taking place in city’s downtown Union Square area, and also will perform live on the Pagoda Main Stage in Japantown on the afternoon of Sunday, July 20th.

Tokyo Girls’ Style also will do a meet and greet with VIP Pass holders both on July 19th and 20th. Additional details and event times, including information on VIP Passes, will be posted shortly at www.j-pop.com. A variety of merchandise, including t-shirts, CDs and DVDs also will be available for purchase at Kinokuniya Booth on Post St. in Japantown throughout J-POP SUMMIT.

The annual J-POP SUMMIT Festival and Union Square concert are FREE to attend (although certain activities/vendors will require a modest admission fee). J-POP SUMMIT takes place July 19th and 20th and has become one of the largest events in the United States dedicated to showcasing the many facets of Japanese pop culture, entertainment media and fandom. Attendance in 2013 exceeded 80,000 people. Full Festival details and updates are available at: www.j-pop.com.

As part of the U.S. debut of Tokyo Girls’ Style, the J-POP SUMMIT Festival and the 2014 Japan Film Festival of San Francisco (JFFSF) are proud to present the exclusive U.S. theatrical premiere of Count Five to Dream of You, an inspiring feature film directed by Yuki Yamato, and starring all of the members of the group. Set in all-girls high school, the film captures the short-lived and unforgettable moments of adolescence. Also set to premiere is Kotodama: Spiritual Curse, a new reboot of the famous Japanese horror movie franchise, in which all of the members of Tokyo Girls’ Style play the leading roles. Both films are scheduled to screen at the NEW PEOPLE Cinema during the J-POP SUMMIT. A special live Q&A session with Tokyo Girls’ Style and audience members will take place immediately following the screenings. Tickets are $15.00 each. Tickets are on sale now at the JFFSF website at: www.JFFSF.org.

“Tokyo Girls’ Style is one of the hottest pop idol Kawaii groups in Japan and their upbeat songs and dance-driven live show will add an exciting component to the line-up of amazing pop artists we will present this year,” says Seiji Horibuchi, the President/CEO of NEW PEOPLE, Inc. and Chairman of the J-POP SUMMIT Festival Committee. “Music, fashion and film are among the most popular aspects of Japanese pop culture and Tokyo Girls’ Style will exemplify all three throughout the J-POP SUMMIT Festival. We are honored to present the group’s U.S. debut and look forward to fans of all ages giving them a warm welcome on-stage for the concert, on the big-screen for their film premieres and also in-person at the special artist meet-and-greet!”

The smash hit group Tokyo Girls’ Style formed in 2010 and has become a major new force in the bustling Japanese pop music scene. Consisting of 5 teenagers - Ayano Konishi, Miyu Yamabe, Hitomi Arai, Yuri Nakae and Mei Shoji – the group, whose member’s average age was only 15, was signed to Avex, released four debut singles within their first year. Tokyo Girls’ Style has gone on to captivate millions of avid fans across Japan with a hook-driven funk and disco sound that is infused with a glossy urban appeal. As of 2012, the group was the youngest female act to ever headline a concert at Tokyo’s most famous Budokan live hall, has released several hit records in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and also performed live shows in Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. Additional information on Tokyo Girls’ Style is available at: http://tokyogirlsstyle.jp/tokyogirlsstyle_en. Fans can also catch their music videos on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/TokyoGirlsStyle. Stay tuned for additional J-POP SUMMIT Guest of Honor, programming and event announcements.

About J-POP SUMMIT Festival
Launched in 2009, J-POP SUMMIT Festival is an annual street fair held in San Francisco, CA that celebrates Japanese popular culture. By introducing the latest in Japanese music, film, art, fashion, gaming, anime, food, as well as niche subcultures, the festival has become a prominent platform to showcase the latest pop trends and creative innovations from Japan. The 5th annual J-POP SUMMIT held in July 2013 welcomed more than 80,000 attendees, making it one of the largest Japanese festivals in the United States. In addition to the original Festival held in Japantown, new attractions include the J-POP LIVE AT UNION SQUARE concert in downtown San Francisco, the Bay Area’s premier dedicated Japan Film Festival of San Francisco, and sake-tasting and fine foods events at the POP GOURMET Food Festival, which have each further enriched the experience. Additional information about J-POP SUMMIT Festival is available at: J-POP.com.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

"Love's Whirlpool" trailer (English subtitles) JAPAN CUTS 2014

  Love's Whirlpool / Ai no Uzu
Directed by Daisuke Miura
With Sosuke Ikematsu, Mugi Kadowaki, Kenichi Takito, Eriko Nakamura,
Hirofumi Arai, Yoko Mitsuya, Ryusuke Komakine, Seri Akazawa
Japan, 2014, 123 minutes
When: Friday, July 18, 2014 @ 8:30 PM
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street NYC
(Between 1st and 2nd Avenues)
U.S. Premiere

18+ This film is unrated, but may only be viewed
by persons 18 years of age and older. 

Original stage play winner of the 50th Kishida Drama Award

In a fancy split-level condo in Tokyo's Roppongi nightlife district, four women and four men gather from midnight to 5 am. They've all paid to be there (men more than women), and they have only one thing in common--they seek anonymous sex. Using no names, they're known only by their types: freeter (temp or part-time worker), mild-mannered salaryman, duplicitous OL (office lady), self-conscious working class factory worker, perfectionist teacher, veteran pervert, shy NEET ("not in education, employment or training") and bashful college student. Together, they unravel their identities in a night of increasing debauchery. Daisuke Miura's adaptation of his critically acclaimed 2005 play of the same name explores Japan's fuzoku (sex industry) with depth, humor and freewheeling indecency. This surprising, erotic and disturbing film features breakout performances by Sosuke Ikematsu and Mugi Kadowaki, who are tempted to mix love with sex. - Japan Society

This screening of Love's Whirlpool is part of JAPAN CUTS 2014.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hatsune Miku character designer KEI and live video game demo are coming to 2014 J-POP SUMMIT

Illustration by KEI © SEGA © Crypton Future Media, Inc.
2014 J-POP SUMMIT FESTIVAL TEAMS WITH KINOKUNIYA USA AND
SEGA OF AMERICA TO PRESENT HATSUNE MIKU CHARACTER
DESIGNER KEI AND A SPECIAL LIVE DEMO OF NEW
HATSUNE MIKU PROJECT DIVA F 2nd VIDEO GAME

Official Artist Illustrator That Designed The World’s First Virtual Pop Star
Welcomed For A Rare Autograph Session; J-POP SUMMIT Attendees
Invited To Browse A Wide Range Of Hatsune Miku Products And Play
The New SEGA Rhythm Music Video Game Set For Fall Release

The 2014 J-POP SUMMIT, San Francisco’s premiere annual celebration of Japanese pop culture, music, fashion and film, is teaming with Kinokuniya Book Stores of America and SEGA® of America to present very special Guest of Honor – KEI – the official character illustrator who designed Hatsune Miku, the wildly popular Vocaloid icon and world’s first virtual pop star.

The 2014 J-POP SUMMIT is set to take place across this city’s Japantown district Saturday and Sunday, July 19th and 20th. Additional information about the 2014 J-POP SUMMIT is available at: J-POP.com.

Retail bookseller Kinokuniya USA and video game developer SEGA of America will be located in two adjoining booths stationed in the heart of the Festival action on Post St. in Japantown. J-POP SUMMIT attendees will be able to meet KEI in person for a series of autograph sessions and browse a wide range of unique Hatsune Miku products and books presented by Kinokuniya.

SEGA of America will showcase Hatsune Miku Project DIVA F 2nd, the highly anticipated new rhythm music game title for the PS3 and PS® VITA platforms that is scheduled to launch in the U.S. this Fall. Attendees are invited to try the game in an exclusive West Coast live demo session happening throughout the weekend in the SEGA booth.

Character designer KEI will appear in-person in the Kinokuniya booth beginning at 1:00pm on both Saturday, July 19th and Sunday, July 20th to have special autograph session for the fans who purchase his illustrated art books, Hatsune Miku Project DIVA F or Hatsune Miku Project DIVA F 2ndOn both days, the first 100 people to purchase either title also will have the opportunity to autograph by KEI. Fans will also receive a free Hatsune Miku poster as a special gift with purchase.

SEGA’s Hatsune Miku Project DIVA F 2nd game title premieres the world’s most famous virtual pop singer in an exciting rhythm video game that features new and classic music tracks. Players can tap, hold, and flick to the beat as they play through 40 addicting songs and four expansive difficulty settings. The game features 20 all-new songs as well as 20 classic Miku tracks, including World Is Mine and DECORATOR. Miku’s friends Rin, Len, Luka, Meiko, and Kaito also join the party and each appears with their own songs to play. Players can fully customize every video with over 100 costumes and 150 accessories for favorite performers. A robust internal editing system also lets players construct custom videos and share them online via PSN. Players can even share creations with friends between the PS3 and the PS VITA.

In addition to the rhythm game, join Miku and friends in the DIVA Room to interact, play mini-games, view special cut-scenes, and relax as players enjoy a slice of the life of a virtual DIVA. Kinokuniya will be accepting pre-orders for Hatsune Miku Project DIVA F 2nd on-site throughout J-POP SUMMIT. After it is released, purchasers may pick up the game at the Kinokuniya San Francisco store, or request to have it delivered.

KEI is a Japanese illustrator and cartoonist. His watercolor-like “Moe” style caught the attention of publisher Dengeki Bunko and KEI made his artistic debut for the novel Kiseki no Hyougen. In 2007, Crypton retained him to create an illustration for their first Character Vocaloid product, Hatsune Miku. KEI’s illustration supported the sale of the groundbreaking software and helped to spark the Vocaloid trend. His fame also led to the creation of other virtual characters such as Kagamine Len/Rin, Megurine Luka and more.

Hatsune Miku, whose name means, “first sound of the future,” is a digital female avatar and the most popular of the Vocaloid Character Series software originally created by Crypton Future Media using Yamaha’s Vocaloid 2 engine to create synthesized vocal tracks. In Japan, Hatsune Miku is a major national phenomenon where she appears in many popular video games and music videos.

The J-POP SUMMIT was the very first event in North America to showcase Hatsune Miku, when it screened her live concert film in the NEW PEOPLE Cinema in 2010. Her fame and worldwide popularity has become a global phenomenon. Hatsune Miku is currently the opening performer for Lady Gaga’s new Artpop Ball U.S. Tour.

About Kinokuniya USA:
Kinokuniya bookstore was founded in January 1927 in Tokyo, Japan. The company now has over 80 stores and 35 sales offices worldwide. Each store offers a wide range of books in Japanese and English, as well as CDs, DVDs, T-shirts, toys and high quality stationary. Kinokuniya USA`s Web site is located at www.kinokuniya.com/us/.

About SEGA® of America, Inc.:
SEGA® of America, Inc. is the American arm of Tokyo, Japan-based SEGA® Corporation, a worldwide leader in interactive entertainment both inside and outside the home. The company develops, publishes and distributes interactive entertainment software products for a variety of hardware platforms including PC, wireless devices, and those manufactured by Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. SEGA® of America’s Web site is located at www.sega.com.

About J-POP SUMMIT Festival
Launched in 2009, J-POP SUMMIT Festival is an annual street fair held in San Francisco, CA that celebrates Japanese popular culture. By introducing the latest in Japanese music, film, art, fashion, gaming, anime, food, as well as niche subcultures, the festival has become a prominent platform to showcase the latest pop trends and creative innovations from Japan.

The 5th annual J-POP SUMMIT held in July 2013 welcomed more than 80,000 attendees, making it one of the largest Japanese festivals in the United States. In addition to the original Festival held in Japantown, new attractions include the J-POP LIVE AT UNION SQUARE concert in downtown San Francisco, the Bay Area’s premier dedicated Japan Film Festival of San Francisco, and sake-tasting and fine foods events at the POP GOURMET Food Festival, which have each further enriched the experience. Additional information about J-POP SUMMIT Festival is available at: J-POP.com.