Asian mangas and pop culture showcased at Japan Expo in Paris

5th July 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 5, 2007 - Tens of thousands of Asia enthusiasts are expected at the opening of the annual Japan Expo near Paris Friday to sample the latest in Asian pop culture, from mangas to fashion to Japanese rock.

PARIS, July 5, 2007 - Tens of thousands of Asia enthusiasts are expected at the opening of the annual Japan Expo near Paris Friday to sample the latest in Asian pop culture, from mangas to fashion to Japanese rock.

The three-day festival, which is entering its eighth year after drawing some 56,000 visitors in 2006, has become a must for Europeans interested in "Asian recreation."

As well as mangas, the Japanese highly stylized graphic novels, Japan Expo will showcase will feature fashion shows with the pigtailed and white-socked Japanese-schoolgirl style.

Visitors will also be able to see developments in video games, martial arts, sudoku and floral art.

"We have positioned ourselves as an event for the general public linked to manga, with the aim of opening up to Japanese culture as a whole," said Florent Dautriche, who handles contact with the manga editors.

This year, all the major manga publishers in French will have a booth at the fair in the Villepinte suburb northeast of Paris, with 8,000 square metres (26,250 square feet) out of a total of 55,000 dedicated to the Japanese comics.

The Asian craze has already taken French youth by storm. Mangas account for more than a third of all comics sold in France today, up from only 19 percent in 2003, says trade publication Livre Hebdo.

That trend is all the more impressive in light of the fact that sales of conventional comics slipped nine percent last year.

France is today the world's second largest consumer of mangas, trailing only Japan.

And France's large publishers of traditional comics have all bowed to the Japanese trend, with 10 series alone accounting for half of all manga sales in the country, including "Naruto," "Dragon Ball" and "Kyo."

Top manga editor Kana will be celebrating its 10th anniversary at Japan Expo -- a decade of success during which Kana owner Media Participations has sold more than 19 million copies of its top series.

The Pika label, owned by Hachette, Glenat, Delcourt and Kurokawa, owned by Editis, will also participate in the festival.

Japan Expo, which drew no more than 3,000 people when it first opened in 1999, has since forged an international reputation, attracting visitors from across Europe and even from Asia and Brazil.

"In 2006, many of the Japanese leaders in the publishing sector came and we did not have enough specific space to accommodate them. This year we have created a professional zone dedicated to royalty sales," Dautriche said.

And of course, all the star "mangakas," or artists, have been invited. They include Hiroyuki Takei who draws "Shaman King," Nobuyuki Anzai who draws "Mar," and Syuji Takeya of "Astral project."

But Japan Expo is not just about manga. It will also be the temple of all Asian pop culture, featuring in addition to Japanese mastery works by Korean and Chinese artists.

Several stars, most of them Japanese, will be on site, including Yoshiki, who according to the exhibit website is "the most influential artist in Asia."


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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