Japanese pop culture in spotlight at New People

There’s more to Japanese pop culture than the cute and quirky Hello Kitty. Saturday’s second annual J-Pop Summit Festival in San Francisco’s Japantown showcases some elements — anime, gaming and sake — that might be less familiar to mainstream audiences.

Sponsored by New People — a retail complex offering Japanese fashion, films and art — the event starts at 11 a.m. with a traditional Kagami-wari, or breaking of a celebratory sake barrel.

“J-Pop Summit Fest is designed to be an example of the artistic freedom and diversity of pop culture in terms of its openness and appreciation to foreign cultures and cultural exchange,” says Seiji Horibuchi, founder of New People. “It is an ideal blending of Western and Asian pop sensibilities and offers something for everyone.”

Among Saturday’s activities are art displays, musical performances, film premieres, fashion shows, video game demos and lots of Japanese cuisine.

Mori Chack, a graphic designer internationally known for his character Gloomy Bear — a pink Hello Kitty-like teddy bear often shown blood-stained and attacking humans — will talk about his work in a panel discussion and will sign limited-edition Gloomy Bear shirts.

Fresh from Burning Man, Osaka, Japan-based artist Ken Hamazaki opens his exhibit “Grateful Red,” a series of paintings inspired by the Grateful Dead, with an avant-garde performance-art piece called “Red Tea Ceremony — You Are God” at New People’s Superfrog Gallery.

“His ceremony is a surreal presentation that is mesmerizing to watch and demonstrates the pinnacle of Japanese Zen, but reinterprets it for a modern audience,” Horibuchi says.

Hamazaki — whose shaved head, red body paint and vivid crimson costumes have earned him the title “The Red Man” in Osaka’s Minami Senba district — will perform his art of “teeth making” at 1 p.m. in Japantown’s Buchanan Mall.

Also, the festival features pioneering Bay Area graffiti artist Estria, who will create four original canvases to be auctioned to the highest bidders.

shaughey@sfexaminer.com

IF YOU GO

J-Pop Summit Festival

Where: New People, 1460 Post St., San Francisco 

When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday

Admission: Free

Contact: (415) 525-8630, www.newpeopleworld.com/festival

artsentertainmentNEPOther Arts

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs spoke to San Francisco’s new Guaranteed Income Advisory Group on April 16. (Courtesy SFGOV)
City launches task force to explore Universal Basic Income programs

San Francisco on Friday launched a guaranteed income task force that could… Continue reading

Muni’s K-Ingleside line will return six months earlier than previously announced. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
K-Ingleside train to return on May 15

Announcement comes on the heels of pressure from Supervisor Myrna Melgar

Demonstrators march from Mission High School towards the San Francisco Police station on Valencia Street. (Jordi Molina/ Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Vigil, march honors those killed by police

Deaths of Daunte Wright, Roger Allen and others prompt renewed calls for defunding

A Recology employee stands at the comapany’s recycling facility on Pier 96 in 2016. (Jessica Christian/2016 S.F. Examiner)
Nuru scandal: Feds charge second former Recology executive with bribery

A second former Recology executive is facing charges for allegedly bribing ex-Public… Continue reading

Skier Andy Padlo crosses a frozen Spicer Reservoir. (Courtesy photo)
Stormy weather tests skiers’ mettle on Dardanelle traverse

Overcoming challenges makes outings more rewarding

Most Read