Japan Expo

Japan Expo
Photo: japan-expo-paris.com
Japan Expo is the world’s largest convention on Japanese popular culture held outside Japan. It is held in Paris, France every July and lasts for four days, running Thursday through Sunday.

The founders of Japan Expo grew up watching Japanese animation on television. Anime got its big break on French TV in 1978 and was extremely popular in the 1980s and 1990s. Before founding Japan Expo, Jean-François Dufour, Sandrine Dufour and Thomas Sirdey published fanzines and organized small anime conventions with attendance of about 2,000. After a trip of Japan, they decided to organize their first large-scale event dedicated to Japanese pop culture. That’s how Japan Expo was born.

The first Japan Expo was held in 1999 at the Institut supérieur du commerce de Paris (ISC Paris Business School) and drew about 3,200 attendees. The attendance has been growing ever since. For example, the 2016 Japan Expo attracted 250,000 anime and manga fans from all over France and abroad, which is almost twice the attendance of San Diego Comic-Con.

Japan Expo doesn’t only focus on anime, it encompasses all aspects of Japanese pop culture including animation, manga, video games, music, fashion, martial arts, and more. The convention was conceived as a kind of a window to Japan and Japanese culture for Europeans. One of its main goals is to build bridges between young audiences and various forms of Japanese culture and traditions.

Japan Expo has a rich and diverse program packed with exciting events and activities for people of all ages and backgrounds. It includes panels, meetings, autograph sessions and photo-ops with special guests, stage performances and shows, workshops and masterclasses, contests and competitions, video gaming, showcases of traditional Japanese culture, cosplay, anime and film screenings, fashion shows, martial arts and sports, a large expo area, and more. The convention features over 150 exhibitors and vendors as well as special guests (video game designers, anime directors, manga artists, voice actors, singers, etc.).

Alongside the main convention that takes place at Paris Nord Villepinte, a large convention center located in the suburbs of Paris, Japan Expo organizes spin-off events in 4 cities in 3 countries on 2 continents: Japan Expo Centre (Orléans, France), Japan Expo Sud (Marseilles, France), Japan Expo Belgium (Brussels, Belgium), and Japan Expo USA (Santa Clara, California).

Japan Expo

Photo: Dj ph




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