The Asian Art Museum was at the NEW PEOPLE grand opening and first annual JPop Summit Festival this past Saturday in Japantown. Here’s one pic that describes the day:
NEW PEOPLE is the country’s first center dedicated exclusively to all things “Jpop” (as in Japanese popular culture, and not strictly Japanese pop music). Launched by the founder / CEO of VIZ Pictures and VIZ Media (manga and anime powerhouse), NEW PEOPLE houses a cinema, gallery, shop, food court (featuring local favorites Delica and Blue Bottle Coffee), boutiques specializing in subculture fashions (be it “Gothic Lolita” or the over-accessorized, rainbow palette of Harajuku).
Here’s a perfect example of “if you build it, they will come.” NEW PEOPLE opened with fanfare. Healthy amounts of like-minded but incredibly diverse people — all clamoring for their youth (sub)culture fix — waited in line to experience this “authentic” slice of Tokyo right in the middle of Japantown. I’ve never seen so many “lolitas” and “kawaii” gals. They flew out celebrity artist Yoshitaka Amano (most known for Final Fantasy artwork) to debut his latest works, and indie comic fave Yuichi Yokoyama (who did a live painting). There was also a lively red carpet movie premiere of 20th Century Boys, based on the manga.
As for the museum, we (including our samurai ambassador) handed out materials to the public, said hi to familiar faces, and had a great time. Couldn’t have asked for better weather.
I for one, am personally excited since this all resonates with my interests. But whatever your cup of tea may be, one can’t help but find this latest venture a fascinating one. It’s a bit of a cultural phenomenon, and a genuine effort on NEW PEOPLE’s part to foster the appreciation, preservation, and exposure of Jpop culture among the Bay Area. In addition, I’ve heard many say that this is exactly what Japantown needs, an infusion of energy and excitement. Some hope that NEW PEOPLE can help revitalize the beautiful but sometimes worrisome quiet of this charming community-minded neighborhood (also our neighbor).
Please click here for scenes from the day.
Have you been to NEW PEOPLE yet? Are you interested in going? Do you think this will bring some pep to Japantown? We’re curious to hear your thoughts.
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