Exciting return to Olympia for Hyper Japan 2023

by Best-Japanese Team
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Hyper Japan Festival

The largest Japanese festival in the UK returns to its favourite home in Olympia, London. For those who don’t know about Hyper Japan 2023, it’s a huge three day festival which introduces and celebrates the diversity of contemporary Japanese culture. This includes manga, anime, music, food and drink, gaming, tourism, and technology.

SB Golden Curry

Those attending can expect an extensive line-up of over 300 exhibitors, two main stages for live performances including the cosplay performance and fashion show. There are also add-on experiences such as the Sake experience where you can try and then vote for your favourite sake, plus join several exciting workshops like the Udon Making Master Class by Marugame Udon, and Shodo Calligraphy workshop with Miyamoto Mikiko.

JLGC

If you are looking for full information on what you can see and do at Hyper Japan 2023, head over to the Hyper Japan website. Meanwhile if you’d like to see how last year’s festival looked, we have an in-depth review of Hyper Japan 2022 in our article here.

Hyper Japan 2023
Hello Kitty at Hyper Japan 2022

Hyper Japan 2023

Venue:Olympia London
Hammersmith Road, London W14 8UX
Click here for more info
Dates and Times:Friday 21st July 2023: 12:00-20:30
Saturday 22nd July 2023: 9:00-20:30
Sunday 23rd July 2023: 9:00-17:00

Hyper Japan 2023 Workshops

There are currently 12 workshops showing on the Hyper Japan site:

  • Origami workshop with Alice Stern
  • Japanese Tea Tasting workshop with KASUTE100
  • Marugame Udon – Udon Making Master Class
  • Demystifying the kimono by Blossom and Fold
  • Ikebana: Japanese Flower Arrangement with Nono Tabata
  • Japanese Tsumami-zaiku workshop with Kyoko
  • Manga workshop with Elena Vitagliano
  • Shodo: Koshu Japanese Art Calligraphy Workshop with Miyamoto Mikiko
  • Japanese cocktail making workshop with Ryu Okada supported by Takara Shuzo
  • Japanese Mask Making workshop with Aya Burbanks
  • Cosplay Ear Making Workshop
  • Sado: Japanese Tea Ceremony Workshop with Yuko Boff
  • Japanese Colourful Kaleidoscope Dyeing – Itajime Shibori Workshop with Rhyannan Hall

For more information on the workshops, please check the Hyper Japan 2023 Workshop page.

To give a little idea of what to expect from the performances and shows, here is a quick round up from 2022:

Hyper Japan 2022 Performances

Outdoor Stage

With two stages and performances throughout each day and concerts on Friday and Saturday night, this was the most collective and diverse performer schedule we’ve ever seen in the UK! There was live music from popular Japanese singers, exhibits of traditional Japanese instruments and folk songs, martial arts performances, as well as cooking demonstrations and fashion shows. While there was much to see (often happening simultaneously), here were 4 highlights for us:

Samurai Artist Kamui

Samurai Artist Kamui
Shimaguchi-Sensei, Kamui

Kamui are a troupe of Samurai artists who merge the beauty of form and martial arts while story telling. Their leader Shimaguchi is perhaps most well-known for choreographing the sword-fighting scenes in Quentin Taratino’s movie Kill Bill Vol.1, however by saying this perhaps would set the wrong expectations. Yes the movements and sword-handling is precise, but when you watch Kamui you are appreciating the way of the Samurai. It’s about spirit and Japanese culture as much as technique and swordplay.

Seirenkan Sōsuishi-ryū

Kobujutsu Enbu

Sōsuishi-ryū is a classical Japanese martial art from present-day Fukuoka & Oita prefectures, and includes both Kumiuchi (unarmed combat), Koshi no mawari and Kodachi kumiuchi (swordsmanship). At the main stage, we were treated to a full performance with commentary by Stephen Delaney explaining the moves and techniques we were witnessing. Possibly the most intriguing was when Stephen demonstrated that you can master your peripheral vision and even while looking forward can identify things at 90 degree angles.

Hibiki Ichikawa, Akari Mochizuki & the Shamisen Players

Folk Music and Shamisen

If you follow our Instagram account, you’ll already know Akari Mochizuki and the Shamisen players as they are often playing at Japanese events and festivals across London. At Hyper Japan, they were performing with the master Hibiki Ichikawa who together with Akari Mochizuki form “The Japanese Folk Duo”. Personally, it’s always a pleasure to hear them play. Akari does a great job of introducing the pieces and singing at least one traditional folk song. It’s nice to see some fusion too with some pieces with a guitar accompanying the Shaminsen.

Cosplay Show for Hyper Japan 2022

Cosplay Show Finalists

A big draw for Hyper Japan is without hesitation the Cosplay show and the Cosplay contest. Here you have all the Contest finalists on stage. Can you guess who the winners were for Hyper Japan 2022? We’ll be sure to add photos soon.

If you are looking to relive or see some of scenes from the festival, check out our round up of Day 2 & Day 3 here:

Another video worth checking out is from Travelase Ch who created a short 2 min video covering the Hyper Japan venue and several Cosplay contestants. It has over 10K views and it’s interesting to get a pulse on how Hyper Japan 2022 is seen from a Japanese point of view:

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