Japanese culture invades London

The British got a taste of Japan when ‘Hyper Japan’, a festival dedicated to all things Japanese, arrived at London’s O2 Arena

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (JULY 10, 2015) (REUTERS) – Tasting sake, sampling colourful snacks and dancing along to “J-Pop”, fans of all things Japanese can indulge in food, drink and music at the “Hyper Japan” festival in London this weekend.

The exhibition, which opened on Friday (July 10) celebrates Japanese cuisine and culture. It started at London’s Truman Brewery in 2010 and now draws some 80,000 people, organisers say.

Many visitors come in colourful wigs, costumes or dresses inspired by Japan’s culture of “kawaii”, or cute, as they sample food stalls, cooking demonstrations and martial arts displays. Some dress up as anime characters as they play on video games.

The festival’s “Sake Experience” is Europe’s largest public tasting event for the Japanese rice wine, according to organisers.

The event also provides a taste of Japanese music, with girl groups such as Dempagumi.inc, Die Milch, Eir Aoi and Heisei Kotohime, as well as other Japanese R&B and pop singers, performing live.

“What makes Japanese culture really unique is that we closed our culture off to the West about 100 years ago and that nurtured our own culture,” ‘Hyper Japan’ founder Kazuhiro Marumo told Reuters.

“Nowadays we have a very good mix of Western and Eastern culture, modern and traditional, and all these elements are very well balanced.”

The festival runs through to Sunday (July 12).