Japanese Anime Festival 2014

A cross-section of the audience watching a movie
Participants looking at the display box containing One Piece Manga and character miniature dolls

Anime and manga are the one of the most integral parts of Modern Japanese Culture. Anime refers to Japanese animation while manga is a style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels aimed at adults as well as children. Incidentally, many students of the Japanese language in Kenya developed an interest in Japan and Japanese Culture as a result of anime and manga.  In view of this, the Japan Information & Culture Centre held an anime festival and manga workshop at its premises.

The Anime Festival was held from Friday, 3rd October to Monday, 6th October 2014. The first two days of the Anime Festival mainly concentrated on Anime screenings. A total of six animations were shown over the two days. These were: Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, SOS! Tokyo Metro Explorers: The Next, NEGADON: The Monster from Mars, KOMANEKO: The Curious Cat, KAKURENBO: Hide and Seek and PLANZET. In order to accommodate the unique tastes of the members of the audience, the various anime screened varied in genre, art styles and animation technology.

Participants of the Cosplay competition posing for a group photo with Manga Instructor Mr. Matsuda
Participants of the Anime Festival interacting with each other during the break between movies
In addition to the movie screenings, there was a cosplay competition on the second day of the Anime Festival. Cosplay stands for costume play. It is an aspect of the anime subculture whereby someone dresses up as a character in an anime or a manga. This year, there were five competitors who participated in the competition. Members of the audience voted for the cosplay that they liked most. The winners of the Cosplay competition were various gifts as a token of appreciation.
Mr. Matsuda illustrating a point during the Manga Workshop
A cross section of the audience during the Manga Workshop
The third and fourth days of the Anime Festival consisted of a Manga Workshop conducted by Mr. Ikuo Matsuda. Mr. Matsuda has been active in the manga industry since 1974 when he studied manga under the manga writer Mikiya Mochizuki. In 1976, he started working as an instructor at the Yoyogi Animation School. He rose through the ranks to become the Head of Instruction in 2004. In 2011, he opened the Yokohama Comic School. He has been a special guest teacher in anime conventions in Italy and Sweden.
Matsuda explaining a point to participants during the workshop
Members of the audience posing with their artwork at the end of the session
The audience of the Manga Workshop included primary school students, university students, those with an interest in manga and professional animators and artists.