On the poster for the 2022 version of Japan Expo, which can happen from Thursday, July 14 to Sunday, July 17 on the Villepinte Exhibition Middle (Seine-Saint-Denis), a phoenix flies over the Eiffel Tower. A major image for this gigantic assembly of lovers of Japanese popular culture, after two editions canceled as a result of Covid-19 pandemic.
“An financial and ethical phoenix”emphasizes Thomas Sirdey, co-founder and head of SEFA Occasion, on the head of this occasion that welcomed greater than 250,000 guests in 2019 and claims, in accordance with Agence France-Presse, the place of the third most visited truthful in France, behind these of agriculture and vehicle.
“We owe our survival to loans assured by the State, to public help, to the moratorium on collections. It’s new for us to run an organization in debt, which has had no money revenue for 2 years, we who’ve at all times had a surplus”he says.
On the ethical aspect, it was essential to handle the frustration, the relaxed ties with a Japan with the borders closed for well being causes, the discount within the wage invoice… All this with out realizing if a 2022 version might see the sunshine, relying on authorities restrictions .
“A should step”
The machine was relaunched at full pace in January, whereas Japanese manga and animation are extra fashionable than ever in France. “Many exhibitors and publishers who had bought their stand for 2020 have agreed to maintain it; With the manga trade in full swing, we have now additionally seen a number of new actors signal on and historic ones have competed of their efforts to embellish and animate their stands. This vitality will probably be felt on the competition »Thomas Sirdey rejoices, seeing it as an indication of belief.
Mangetsu, the manga imprint of Bragelonne editions that blows out its first candle, is considered one of them. Subsequently, it’s the first time that he’ll carry out a present at Japan Expo: “A compulsory step once you make manga, we did not even ask ourselves the query of coming or not”says Sullivan Rouaud, director of the Mangetsu assortment. “It permits us to satisfy the readers that we solely know in the mean time by social networks” and persuade the brand new ones.
For the event, the writer has determined “to mark the blow” inviting considered one of its authors, Yuka Nagate, creator of butterfly beast. A go to that’s all of the extra outstanding as not many Japanese mangaka have agreed to come back this 12 months. As for animation and music, the pinnacle of Japan Expo clarifies by recalling that “huge names like Junichi Hayama, Mamoru Yokota, Yuji Kaida or the Mappa studio, to call only a few”, may also be there.
Anyway, this 12 months, Japan Expo has determined to open up past Japanese tradition by dedicating a part of its 140,000 sq. meters to different nations below the “Wonderful” label. Some will see it as a approach to reap the benefits of the emergence of Ok-pop, webtoons, but in addition the Marvel or Star Wars franchises, that are very current at conventions and festivals. However Mr. Sirdey claims to have tried, prior to now, to make room for different pop cultures, notably a Comedian-Con area in 2013:
“Widespread cultures are not compartmentalized, as earlier than. With the pandemic, but in addition with the practices of the youthful generations, individuals voluntarily transfer from one job to a different with out essentially being linked to the nation of creation. The thought is to please a standard viewers and encourage discovery. »
One other change: Japan Expo is now sponsored as effectively. Piccoma, an internet studying service for Japanese comics (a subsidiary of the South Korean Kakao) not too long ago established in Europe, has put its emblem on this new version. Alliances have additionally been established with manufacturers resembling Celio, Rakuten or Fnac. “Most of our revenue continues to be centered on ticket gross sales”, completes Mr. Sirdey, nonetheless. A field workplace whose costs haven’t elevated, however this time it is going to be totally on-line, with no field on the entrance to “higher regulate the move of tourists and be certain that those that present up with a ticket can enter”.
Whether or not the general public will reply stays to be seen. “Our pre-sale indicators are fairly inexperienced; however we’re ready for Thursday, the opening, to determine»Sirdy says. The postponement to mid-July, when the occasion is historically held on the primary weekend of the identical month, doesn’t appear to have dampened the fervor of festival-goers. “There may be a number of enthusiasm for the occasion and the will to satisfy once more nose to nose, after so lengthy”says Mr. Rouaud for his half.
The one shadow hanging over the phoenix, moreover the warmth, that well-equipped cosplayers may have bravely realized to beat for a few years: the Covid-19 pandemic and its seventh wave, which continues to develop.