Anime Expo's SPJA to Rebrand With Continued Focus on Japanese Culture

posted on 2016-02-24 02:00 EST
Organization to have new name & mission, additional office in Tokyo

The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA), the California-based non-profit organization behind Anime Expo, revealed last month in an interview with Roland Kelts for The Japan Times that the organization is "expanding, refocusing and rebranding." Kelts wrote in the article that the SPJA "plans to move beyond otaku/fan culture and embrace the broader challenge of integrating successful conventions in film, gaming, tech, music and other forms of entertainment media."

ANN spoke with SPJA CEO Marc Perez about the change. Perez told ANN that after the rebranding, "Anime Expo's focus and promotions will be unchanged," and that the organization does not plan to combine Anime Expo with other existing events. Additionally, Perez told ANN that Anime Expo's focus "will continue to be Japanese culture." Perez added that the organization will have a new mission, a new name, and "a broadening of [its] goals" that "will allow for the potential to support other entertainment media."

Perez could not say whether the change will mean that the SPJA will host other events in the future to reflect the rebranding and integration of other forms of media, stating, "it's too early to say what exactly that will look like."

The SPJA is also in charge of a project called Project Anime, which Perez said "supports other anime events and conventions around the world." Perez added, "Project Anime hosts informative presentations and roundtable discussions geared toward improving the convention production process and introducing convention organizers to members of the Japanese content industry. We hope to expand this idea and apply it to variety of fan oriented events such as film, gaming, tech and music."

Perez told ANN that the SPJA plans to open an additional office in Tokyo sometime this year in hopes of being able to "develop a closer working relationship with the industry we support." The SPJA will reveal its new brand name and logo in the coming months.

Anime Expo will celebrate its 25th anniversary at its convention this year from July 1-4. Confirmed guests include Final Fantasy and Vampire Hunter D artist Yoshitaka Amano. SPJA's director of industry relations Azusa Matsuda told Kelts regarding this year's convention, "It would be great if we could stage some events looking back on 25 years of Anime Expo, and at those same years in terms of anime and manga."

Last year's Anime Expo set a new attendance record with 90,500 unique attendees, up 12% from 2014.

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