Japan Expo is a French professional event fair on Japanese popular culture, which takes place at the Paris-Nord Villepinte exhibition center every year at the beginning of July. It is a cultural event dedicated to manga, video games, anime, but also martial arts, fashion, music (J-pop, J-rock, traditional), cinema and its traditions.
France has had a passion for all things Japanese, from popular to underground culture. Japan Expo is the meeting place for lovers of Japan and its culture, from manga to martial arts, from video games to Japanese folklore, from J-music to traditional music: an unmissable event for all those interested in Japanese culture and an infinity of discoveries for the curious.
Japan Expo celebrated Japanese culture, created in 2000, the festival has pursued since its first edition the ambition of bringing together lovers of Japan, fans of pop culture and the curious of all kinds, to allow them to enjoy their passion and make them discover the land of the rising sun, its culture and its talents. Japan Expo is a convention on Japanese popular culture, the largest of its kind in the world outside Japan, and expanded to include some European and US pop culture as well.
Japan Expo brings to the fore the most traditional as well as the most modern Japanese culture by inviting the public to meet guests from many fields, attend shows of all kinds and participate in all kinds of animations, games or of workshops. Japan Expo offers the opportunity to meet them during signing sessions, masterclasses or conferences during which they talk about their work, their career and their works.
Japan Expo thus welcomes dozens of distinguished guests: mangaka, animation professionals, chara-designers, illustrators, video game creators, producers, musicians, singers, composers… many of them make the trip from Japan to attend the festival. Don’t miss the chance to meet these talented artists and learn more about them.
Japan Expo had become a key event in Europe, an annual meeting point to celebrate all aspects of Japanese culture. The high point of this event is the Cosplay competition, always a spectacular and fun moment admiring the amazing costumes. Nowadays, over 200,000 visitors share in this passion together each year. Alongside the main fair which allows visitors to discover the latest mangas and video games,
Meetings – Hundreds of signing and conference guests: mangaka, animators, cosplayers, musicians, videographers, directors, traditional artists and more.
Shows – Cosplay parades, traditional shows, music showcases, wrestling matches and more: more than 750 events on the program.
Entertainment and games – Hundreds of participants and exhibitors share their passion with you: traditional workshops, freeplay video games, quizzes and competitions, games on stage, prizes to be won, etc.
Highlights of Japan Expo 2019
Japan Expo celebrated its 20th anniversary: 20 years of passion and celebration around Japanese culture. For the occasion, the festival put on its 31: on 140,000 m² spread over four halls, Japan Expo installed four new stages and brought new features and improvements to its infrastructure. The 20th Impact thus saw the appearance of the Tsubamé stage, a second musical stage in addition to the Karasu stage; another Sora scene offering entertainment, games, quizzes, karaoke, etc.; the Lumica stage, dedicated to dance; and the Mikan Room, a screening room offering all-day screenings.
The Ichigo stage has been enlarged to give better visibility to the public, has been given a new floor layout for more scenographic possibilities, and three screens for better broadcasting. Everything was in place to allow the public to make the most of the cosplay shows or the Ballet Dragon Quest with its 45 dancers on stage.
The Yuzu stage has become a real high-end movie theater with a 14-meter-wide screen, perfect for previews of the animated film Saga of Tanya the Evil –the Movie–, the anime Vinland Saga or of the live film Tokyo Ghoul ‘S’ in the presence of the actors.
Finally, the Také scene has also undergone its revolution, completely transforming itself to become an esports scene, a new theme with programming acclaimed by the public highlighting League of Legends, Overwatch and SoulCalibur VI.
More than 300 guests had come together to celebrate this 20th anniversary and among them, three emblematic personalities from manga, anime and J-music who did the festival the honor of being its guests. honor: Gô NAGAI, the author of Grendizer; Yoshiyuki TOMINO, the creator of Gundam, who came to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the anime; and Ai OTSUKA who was taking her first steps on a European stage during her 15-year career.
Showcases & performances
And among these artists, many groups, singers and musicians perform on stage. All genres are welcome to show off the variety of the Japanese music scene . Young talents as well as established artists allow you to enjoy the most diverse sounds live: J-rock, RnB, J-pop, hard rock, punk, electro… or even anime and video game music.
Since music has always been part of Japanese culture since its origins, artists with more traditional styles also come to play the shamisen, the koto, the sanshin and many other instruments with bewitching sounds.
Workshops, games & activities
Japan Expo is the perfect place to start new activities. Workshops and initiations are organized to teach you the basics of drawing, model making, cosplay making, or traditional activities such as ikebana, origami or calligraphy.
Japan Expo is also and above all a life-size game space: a place where fun culture in all its forms meets with festival-goers, on stage and at the stands. Associations come in large numbers to offer you activities, make you win gifts and entertain you, and publishers have many surprises in store for you on their stands.
Video games are an integral part of Japanese pop culture and obviously occupy a special place at Japan Expo. Publishers, guests and many associations take part in the festival. Come and play on the stands with the many games available, try out the latest releases or take part in tournaments to challenge other visitors.
Video game creators, artists and producers are also on hand to teach you more about their professions and the video game industry on an entirely dedicated stage. A perfect place for you to enjoy conferences, tournaments and host previews.
In 2019, Japan Expo celebrates the official arrival of esports in the festival program with a Také stage completely revisited and equipped for this new discipline acclaimed by the public.
Japanese culture is fascinating in many ways, and its traditions are some of its most attractive aspects. Japan Expo makes you discover all the facets of Japan by highlighting traditional culture, welcoming artists and craftsmen who present their talents.
In addition to performances of music, theater and folklore shows on a dedicated stage, the Sakura stage, many associations participate in this effort, around activities and workshops, such as ikebana (Japanese floral art), the tea ceremony, calligraphy, painting, traditional games, cooking or conferences on various themes related to Japanese culture.
Over time, cosplay has become one of Japan Expo’s most popular animations. The most talented cosplayers take to the stage in stunning costumes and produce unforgettable performances on Europe’s largest coslay stage: up to 14,000 spectators come to cheer them on in an atmosphere of madness. Japan Expo is hosting the final of the European Cosplay Gathering, the biggest cosplay contest in Europe.
Japan Expo is also the first event in the world to offer a stage entirely dedicated to cosplay, the Kitsune stage, where everyone can parade freely.
At Japan Expo, admire your favorite characters come to life on stage and in the aisles.
Martial arts & sports
Martial arts are more present than ever at Japan Expo. The principle is simple and allows you to discover many disciplines: a space reserved for martial arts clubs, the Budô space, where they await you all day for demonstrations and initiations. Ninjutsu, kendô, jûdô, aikidô, karate, shôrinji kenpô, kyûdô and many others: you just have to choose your martial way.
Martial arts are not the only sports that the Japanese are fond of and Japan Expo also makes you discover them, such as yakyû – baseball, national sport in Japan – or even puroresu – wrestling – with grandiose fights.
French but also Japanese publishers are scrambling to broadcast anime in preview and in exclusivity, and thus offer visitors a taste of the next productions and licenses available in France. Some previews take place in the evening, to prolong the pleasure of a day at Japan Expo.
Fashion is an essential part of Japanese pop culture. Fashionistas are at the rendezvous and the fashion of the streets of Tokyo also becomes that of the alleys of the festival.
Designers, young stylists and major Tokyo fashion brands take part in the event with fashion shows, designer conferences and workshops. Always present, the Young Designers, European designers, present their creations inspired by Japanese trends at the Village Passion mode.
Publishers, shops, young artists and creators, magazines, webzines, exhibitions, institutions, associations and more than 150 fanzines and amateur stands: Japan Expo is THE unmissable event for players in the manga industry and Japanese culture . With stands overflowing with cultural products from Japan, novelties, goodies of all kinds, information on Japan, games, your happiness is bound to be found in the aisles of Japan Expo.