Hyper Japan: A Japanese Cultural Extravaganza
Hyper Japan is a three day extravaganza of Japanese culture that takes place London. Rather than the norm of solely focussing on anime or Akihabara culture, Hyper Japan has a wider scope, with events, panels and shops showing aspects of Japan from the technological to the culinary.
In the center of the hall, around a fine example of Japanese export–a car–there was a plethora of PS3s where attendees were frantically button bashing at the latest Soul Calibur game. The stalls surrounding were separated into themes, with the ‘lifestyle’ section offering books from the Japan store and Asahiya Shoten on the one hand, and artistic works and tableware on the other.
The food area celebrated all that is wonderful about Japanese festival food, with stalls offering tempting okonomiyaki and takoyaki to intrigued Brits. There was even a stall selling chocolate dipped bananas, and the fruit came as wildly neon as they do in Tokyo, with pink and yellow chocolate covering the banana.
For all the hearty festival fare, Hyper Japan also offered a high end taste of Japan, with the Sushi and Sake Awards. Patrons filed along from sushi chef to sushi chef, receiving small mouthfuls of creativity; one example included sushi lying in mists of dry ice.
The event wasn’t limited only toJapanese goods as, in the fashion corner, UK based indie brands and artists demonstrated the inspiration of the lolita aesthetic on the world. An unusual art installation married pink candy macarons and gummy bears with a grotesque sense of medical equipment. The sculptures featured marshmallow stuffed syringes and flasks full of pink candles and gummy bears. The intention was for an interactive installation, for passersby to wear one of the Baby the Stars Shine Bright inspired aprons made up in sweet lolita style, to match the bright sweet stuffed equipment. It was an interesting idea that unnnerved as much as enticed.
Of the indie brands, there was much talent to be seen. The brand Roxy Sweetheart had stunning jewellery pieces from delicate bows and sweets creations to punkier melting heart designs. An artist from deviantart site, cooltshuck, meanwhile showed manga inspired lolita artwork with dress-up paper dolls and lolita zodiac bookmarks, and sharing her stall was an etsy-based jewelry designer with adorable bunny rabbit rings and Alice ‘Drink Me’ bottle necklaces. For the gothic lolitas, Bunny de Coeur was holding a competition to win a skirt from their Pin Candy range. It was a stunning piece perfect for gothic looks in luxurious burgundy with black velvet detailing.
As could be seen in both the fashion show and on girls walking around, the Japanese style was strong in the UK, and judging from the whole event the culture too. In Hyper Japan, London finally seemed to have an event that celebrated all of Japanese life and surely piqued the interest of more than a few in a country that is endlessly fascinating.
There are 23 photos in this visual kei exclusive.