With so many events cancelled this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, conventions have had to be more creative than ever to run. Most have shifted online, with big shows like New York Comic Con hosting a series of events to help stay relevant and recover some of their costs. But few have been as prolific with their online programme as Hyper Japan.
Hyper Japan holds a special place in my heart among all the UK conventions I have frequented over the years. It is the first and largest event to celebrate Japanese culture as a whole, with programme tracks that cover topics well outside the usual otaku interests of anime, manga, and video games. From food and drink to music to art, Hyper Japan has always done a great job of giving a better picture of modern Japan than any other convention in the UK.
I’ve been glad to see that the organisers of Hyper Japan embrace the shift online with more events being held in an online space.
Hyper Japan’s Upcoming Online Offer
Sumi-e (Japanese Ink Painting) – 22 August
Hosted by Akemi Lucas, a Japanese artist based in the UK whose calligraphy artwork has been used by the 2019 Rugby World Cup and is set to be used to celebrate Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics. This online class (conducted via Zoom, just like the rest of 2020) promises to help participants create an ink iris within the class’s two hour run time. This includes an introduction to brush techniques, layout and ink control, and explanations of how to use colours for your iris, as well as an assessment of your work by Akemi afterward.
Tin Art Charms and Decorations – 22 August
Another two-hour lesson aimed at helping you to try out new and exciting arts and crafts, this one promises to help you turn your old metal takeaway trays into some adorable upcycled ornaments suitable for your keychain, Christmas tree, or just giving a little charm to the flat you’ve spent so much time in this year. This one is really good for kids to keep them entertained in case you’re in one of those pesky local lockdowns.
S&B Virtual Curry Dinner Party – 6 September
I personally don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like Japanese curry. Any time I need to thank friends for helping me move or for rides places, I whip up a bit of curry and some panko-coated sweet potato as way of thanks. So this free event is very tempting not only because it features Chef Avinash Shashidhara to give tips on how to prepare and improve on participants’ curry recipes but also the event is sponsored by S&B, who will send out one of their delicious curry blocks to everyone taking part as well as a gift basket afterward.
Hyper Japan clearly know me well enough to know free curry is the way to my heart. Spaces are limited so be sure to sign up quick.
Hyper Japan COSParade – 26 September
Hyper Japan always features some of the best cosplay in the UK and has featured local qualifiers for the International Cosplay Championships in the past, so be sure to check out the cosplay parade being run by GamePad and shown on Twitch and Youtube on the 26th of September. Applications for participants are still open until the 13 September, so there is time to brush off an entry if you are so inclined. Categories for this year are Standard, Talent, and Group cosplay, so there is plenty to get stuck into for all our eager cosplayers out there and for those of us who just like to watch others dress up in physics defying outfits.
Hyper Japan is always a highlight of the convention season, so I’m glad to see them offering so much online content this year. All the details for these events as well the rest of their programme can be found here.