Your Friend in Japan

The History of Anime Fandom and Anime Expo

Written by HotAnime

the history of anime expo

Anime Expo is upon us, and J-List is preparing for our biggest show ever, with a huge booth and walled-in “Hentai Cave” full of awesome products (so make sure you bring your ID), plus a JAST USA game panel on Sunday night with lots of new announcements. If you’re not able to attend the show, don’t worry! First, we’ve got a great sale for you: get 300 points for every $20 you spend on the site through July 4, meaning that you can get a huge discount for making a big order now. Also, starting today, the next 600 orders shipped from Japan will get one free limited Megumi sticker included. So make your order fast!

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Anime Expo, the “first” annual convention dedicated entirely to the anime industry, but it’s really the show’s 26th year, since its first incarnation (“Anime Con ’91”) was really the same show before a name change caused by one of the many fan schisms that that have always defined the event. I remember what anime was like back then, still a very “edge” thing to be into, and no one was sure if there were enough fans to support a dedicated convention like this. There were only a few thousand fans gathered at the Red Lion Inn in San Jose that fateful weekend, and everything was a lot more informal with regards to the guests from Japan. I remember waiting in line for an autograph by future Eva creator Sadamoto Yoshiyuki and hitting on a cute Japanese girl I saw (it turned out to be his wife), trying to speak bad Japanese with Mikimoto Haruhiko in my hotel room, and actually having breakfast with Ken’ichi Sonada, though I was too nervous to talk with him. Now, anime is a huge industry, loved and supported by fans all over the world, and there’ll be more than 100,000 of them here this weekend. It’s certainly fun to be at AX again, and we hope to see you at our booth this year!

There are various things that are common in Japanese homes but not in American ones, and vice versa. Japanese houses will generally have a low area by the front door for people to leave their shoes, hardwood floors (American style plush carpeting would not survive humid Japanese summers), and at least one washitsu or “Japanese room” with traditional tatami mats and paper doors that cats like to poke holes in. Homes in America are different, with big ovens for baking (very rare in Japan), a garbage disposal for getting rid of uneaten food (not allowed in Japan because rice would gum up the pipes), and central heating (unthinkable in a country where rooms are heated one at a time). Another thing you’ll find in Japanese homes but not in most American ones is a butsudan or Buddhist Altar, the centerpiece of Japanese family life and afterlife. Every morning, my mother-in-law takes the first bowl of rice out of the rice cooker and offers it at the altar along with three sticks of incense, so so her mother and father know they’re not forgotten. More than anything, Buddhism in Japan is all about remembering the loved ones who have gone before you, and in the same way a Christian might say he could feel the hand of Jesus or the Holy Spirit providing guidance in times of trouble, a Japanese person would likely say they felt the spirit of their dead grandmother (or whoever) showing them the correct path to take. To my unfamiliar eyes, the Buddhist altar in my house is very similar to the Ark of the Covenant from Raiders of the Lost Ark, a radio for talking with one’s dead family members.

J-List will be at anime expo!

We’re setting up our booth for Anime Expo, which is booth #1215, And it’s going to be great. We hope everyone will come by our booth and see the cool items we have prepared, and get a free “I Bought Hentai at J-List” limited pin. If you can’t make it, be sure and make a big order from my site during our special sale, which ends July 4, plus you’ll get one of those awesome limited Megumi stickers that everyone wanted on social media.

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