Canceled in 2020 and 2021, the 21st edition of Japan Expo was finally able to take place at the Parc des Expositions in Villepinte. A news that fans of manga and Japanese culture, always present in large numbers, rejoice.
“It’s a great moment of sharing” begins Florian Bassim, with a smile on the corner of his lips, to describe the primary qualities of the convention. A cosplayer since 2015, the 25-year-old hasn’t missed a single edition since he was 15. For him, the Japan Expo represents “heaven on earth. Many other manga and anime lovers would presumably answer the same. From Thursday July 14 to Sunday July 17, 2022, nearly 250,000 people, disguised or not, strolled along the 140,000 square meters of the exhibition, to honor pop culture.
On the program: a multitude of merchandising stands and goodies of all kinds, activities related to Japanese folklore, meetings with influential personalities in the field or even announcements concerning future releases from publishing houses and animation studios. . In short, the dream place for all admirers of this estate, happy to be able to share their passion. In a jovial tone, Florian confides his joy at seeing the festival become popular year after year, reaching more and more people: “We find more and more families on the spot, it’s nice. It is certain that there are more people between 18 and 25 years old, it is the majority public. But it is diversifying: today we can see children as well as adults or the elderly, all gathered around the same passion. »
A culture “that has not finished growing”
If the essential manga and anime have concentrated the main attention of the crowd, another medium has made a lot of noise, confirming its growing reputation. The manhwa, or South Korean comic strip, is attracting more and more people. Since the appearance of the Webtoon online platform this year in France and Europe, readers of this new genre are accumulating. On this occasion, hundreds of balloons bearing the image of the media are waved towards the sky, in front of its stand. “It is true that since this year, the Webtoon is of more and more interest to the Western landscape. It became very popular fairly quickly and you can immediately see the crazy enthusiasm it took at Japan Expo. The best part is that this is just the beginning! » raves Ambre Ouilles, influencer and guest of the Webtoon stand. With a convinced look, she explains the reasons for this growing Asian fashion: “I think this universe offers something fresh and new, which touches everyone and allows anyone to escape. In my opinion, we have also toured our own cultures, such as literature and theatre, which are of less and less interest to new generations. »