Otakon Celebrates 25th Anniversary This Weekend

Washington, D.C. (July 22, 2019) – Otakon, the annual celebration of Japanese and East Asian culture, will be held in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center from Friday, July 26 through Sunday, July 28. Otakon brings entertainment and educational opportunities for people of all ages as part of its mission of bringing cultures together. On this, the 25th anniversary of the convention, look for special events marking that historical milestone.

Even if you don't know much about Japanese animation (known as anime), you may have heard of "Kiki's Delivery Service," the classic movie about a young witch learning to use her powers. For the film's 30th anniversary, Hirokatsu Kihara, who also worked at Studio Ghibli on such legendary projects as "Laputa: Castle in the Sky" and "My Neighbor Totoro," will tell stories of the making of "Kiki's Delivery Service" and other films.

Fans of anime will get a chance to see their heroes in person, such as industry veterans like producer Michihiko Suwa ("City Hunter," "Detective Conan," "Lupin III") and voice actress Kikuko Inoue (known for classic anime roles like Belldandy, The Boss and Nurse Joy).

The video rooms will show some of the most influential movies and shows of the last 25 years, including "AKIRA," a "Lupin III" double feature, "Bubblegum Crisis" and more.

But Otakon is about more than anime. Musical guests include funk rock band BRADIO, followed by the Tribute to Nujabes Concert, in addition to a new project, the "RPG National Anthem Variations" guitar concert with Sam Griffin and Eric Roth. Other musical acts who will perform over the weekend are TAKU from m-flo, Diana Garnet and nano. In addition, composer Kaoru Wada will talk about his works over the years for such productions as "Inuyasha" and "Ninja Scroll."

Roxanne Modafferi and Serena DeJesus will show off martial arts moves up close, and costume designer Jez Roth will host a new event, "Project Cosplay Live." Other guests include North American voice talent such as Richard Epcar and Ellyn Stern, as well as other key guests from Japanese animation. Check out the Otakon website for a complete list of guests.

Families can find additional fun in the workshop space, where they can build a Pokémon terrarium, try paper crafting and learn the basics of armor building. In the Otakon Makerspace, you can drop in to do a quick project to take home or contribute to the Makerspace art exhibit.

The Otakon Break-in room will return, with all new devices, tricky puzzles and games. And of course, the Otakon Masquerade on Saturday night is a must-see for fans of costuming.

Otakon also offers three ways to enjoy dancing: Lyra's Formal Ball; Hiro's Lounge, a swing lounge with lessons all day and two live bands; and the Otakon Rave, with DJs pumping beats into the early hours.

Before you head home, check out the large Dealers' Room, containing hundreds of vendors with everything from plush toys to clothing.

ABOUT OTAKON AND OTAKORP, INC.: Now entering its twenty-sixth year, Otakon is an annual celebration of Japanese and East Asian popular culture, and also one of the largest gatherings of fans in the United States. Otakon celebrates popular culture as a gateway to deeper understanding of Asian culture, and has grown along with the enthusiasm for anime, manga, video games, and music from the Far East. Historically, Otakon has drawn up to 34,000 people for three days each year (for a paid attendance of over 100,000 turnstile attendees). Otakon is a membership based convention sponsored by Otakorp, Inc., a Pennsylvania-based, 501(c)3 educational non-profit whose mission is to promote the appreciation of Asian culture, primarily through its media and entertainment. Otakorp, Inc. is directed by an all-volunteer, unpaid staff – we are run by fans, for fans.

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