College hosts 20th annual Kansas City Japan Festival

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Connor Heaton

Reporting correspondent 

cheaton@jccc.edu

Hundreds flocked to the college on Saturday, Oct. 7 to celebrate the 20th annual Kansas City Japan Festival, a convention which hosted a large variety of workshops, performances, parades and merchants.

One felt like they were transported to a different world upon stepping into the Carlsen Center atrium. There were people everywhere from all walks of life, from students, diplomats, and even Samurai. It was a shmorgishborg of all things Japan.

Accompanying this were a variety of events from traditional dance acts and drum shows, to bonsai tree tutorials and cosplay contests.

Student Anna Smith, a first-time festival-goer, remarked about her favorite event.

“I got to watch the drum performance in the big auditorium, it was amazing,” Smith said. “There were a lot of people that watched it.”

The festival spanned half of the campus including the Carlsen Center and Regnier Center, with the latter used mostly for special Japanese cuisine.

Alongside food, there were plenty of other items in stock including clothing and traditional artisan crafts.

Festival attendee Sarah Faulkner said she took advantage of the fair prices offered at the festival and purchased several items at the event.

“I bought this Kimono and these paintings here,” Faulkner said. “They were all decently priced for what they were.”

The nature of the event enticed many people to come dressed as their favorite colorful characters, providing a good people-watching experience for those who attended.

“I saw mermaids, [anime] cosplayers and even a girl with a computer stuck through her head,” Faulkner said. “It was so strange, but fun.”

Indeed, the JapanFest contained much more than traditional Japanese arts and workshops. The third floor of CC was almost completely dedicated to anime with massive libraries of manga filling up entire classrooms. There was also plenty of anime-themed merchandise and a cosplay contest.

“It was [anime] central over there on the third floor,” Faulkner said. “I didn’t do any cosplay or anything, but I did a few years ago.”

More information about the Kansas City Japan Festival can be found on their website.

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