Ideas, tips and reports about event display construction and management

Tokyo International Anime Fair 2012

by welkamro

If you ask German people about their association with the word „Japan“, in the most cases you will hear: Sushi, entertainment electronics, samurai and especially: manga and anime. No wonder: Today, mangas are a multi-billion dollar business, and not only in Japan, also in the western countries it is quite popular. Reasons enough to give these phenomenon it´s own exhibition.

If you are part of the marginal group of people who have never heard about it: Mangas are comics. When european people try to read it for the first time, they often get overwhelmed: You read a manga from the right side to the left, and from top to the bottom. That´s usual for japanese books.
Animes are japanese animated movies, which often depends on manga comics.
Mangas and animes are deeply ingrained in the japanese culture, and sometimes it has scurillous contents: phantastic love stories for pubescent girls, instructions for the perfect tea ceremony and a huge comic-porn industry – the imagination of the japanese artists seems infinitely.

As a part of one of the biggest industrial sectors for japanes publishers, there are lots of trade shows around mangas. One of it is the „International Anime Fair“ in the giant „Tokyo Big Sight“ building.
If you had visited some japanese exhibitions before, you will get a quite familiar first impression of it: colourful, glowing booths, colourful, glowing assistants and colourful, glowing XXL-size action figures. The differences between manga- and business trade shows are surprisingly small.

I think I don´t have to say that the booth-assistants were dressed up in their best manga-outfits.
That´s a thing of course. As opposed to German trade shows, where sometimes are also some elaborate assistants (for examle on videogame- or book tade shows), the japanese comic-assistants give lots of thanks to you if you make photos of them, and not the other way around.

When I walked trough the exhibition halls, lots of things reminded me of a walk through Shibuya on a weekend: The booths were colourful and bright like the skyscrapers, there are lots of people walking around, some of them gives you booklets (or handkerchiefs), and lots of noises.

Everywhere were some loudspeakers, playing theme songs from (more or less) famous anime series. When you hear it for the first time, it´s quite funny, but often the sounds mix up to an undefinable sound-cocktail – and thats the point it gets quite annoying. But for most of the japanese visitors that ain´t a problem, it´s just like they overhear it. Maybe beacuse they are used to it.

At some booths you can watch clips from some anime series, like at the huge stall for the 20th anniversary of the japanese anime „Crayon Shin-chan“ (I can remember that it was also quite popular in Germany ten years ago). After you watch the cartoon, you could take a post-it note and a pen, and write down some wishes for the protagonist Shin-chan.
Unfortunately, that was the only kind of entertainment. I expected some more „show“.

In Germany, the promoter often try to push the people in throwing some merchandising in the crowd. Sometimes, people disputes about these products, nearly battering.
Here in Japan, everything is more behaved and nothing gets out of hand, like in some German public-exhibitions.

the Welkam boys Kojichu, Japanese for 'under construction,' is an ongoing notebook of ideas, tips and discoverys we've picked up over the years building displays and managing events around the world.

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