Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak – architect of the Apple 1 and Apple II computers – is behind plans to bring the first US-style Comic Con to Japan at Makuhari Messe on December 3rd and 4th, 2016.
The event is a sister event to Silicon Valley Comic Con which will happen for the first time in March, 2016. With the connection to Silicon Valley, Tokyo Comic Con too will be a mix of both pop-culture and technology – giving the event a slight twist compared to standard comic conventions.
Japan is not new to home grown comic conventions with events like Comiket attracting hundreds of thousands of attendees each year. One thing that local comic conventions lack that Tokyo Comic Con won’t, is star power. While there will be a chance to meet comic creators and buy merchandise (which Japanese comic convention goers will be quite familiar with) there will also be global stars in attendance for autographs, photos and panel discussions.
At the kick-off event in early December, actors Ray Park (who portrayed Darth Maul in Star Wars Episode 1) and Ian McDiarmid (who portrayed Palpatine in Star Wars episodes I to III) along with local talent Mika Mifune (daughter of legendary actor Toshiro Mifune) and Japan’s top cosplayer Otogi Nekomu appeared on stage with Wozniak to announce the event.
Mifune discussed the connections between Japan’s jidaigeki tradition and Star Wars. She also mentioned that her father had been in discussions with director George Lucas about playing either Obi Wan Kenobi or Darth Vader.
Otogi Nekomu, a cosplayer who draws huge crowds of photographers at any event she attends, modeled a special Tokyo Comic Con super hero costume. This was intended to show that the organizers see cosplay as a big part of Tokyo Comic Con – as it is at other Comic Cons and pop culture and entertainment related events in Japan.
Something unique to Tokyo Comic Con (and it’s sister event in Silicon Valley) is the emphasis on tech. Along with the artists, merchandise, stars and panels, you can expect to see technology playing a big part in the event. Robots, artificial intelligence, apps, new hardware and start-ups will also be part of the mix.