St. Petersburg to host Japanese pop culture show

Japanese pop culture is to descend on St. Petersburg this weekend with the opening of the Tokyo Pop Culture Index at the Baltic House Theatre.

The two-day convention - also known as TOPIX - opens on March 12 and is part of the city's annual Japanese Spring festival. Similar celebrations of Japan's pop culture have taken place in cities around the world, including the Paris Japan Expo, Hyper Japan London and the Anime Expo in Los Angeles, but this is the first time an event of this type has been hosted in what is arguably Russia's most culturally aware city.

Organized by Japan-based Biken International Co., which publishes books and organizes events to promote Japanese art and culture, both traditional and modern, TOPIX will showcase pop culture art, anime, manga, games, photography and cosplay - or costume play - fashion.

The main attractions will be stage performances and booths set up by companies to promote their pop culture services and products.

The State Hermitage Museum, local art dealers, scholars, artists and Russian magazines dedicated to the growing phenomenon of one of Japan's leading export industries are providing support for the event.
From Japan, officials of the Japan Fashion Association, Digital Hollywood University, the Vantan Design Institute and the Japan Decorator Association will also be on hand to promote the genre.

Companies that will be taking part in the festival include Animatrix, ProCosplay, La Parfait and I-Rockstar Magazine.

"Economic globalization amid the sense of mutual understanding between cultures, deepening international relations and cooperation are promoting increasing creativity," the organizers said in a statement. "To promote deeper bonds around the world, cultural exchanges such as this are more important than ever."
Russia has been a keen supporter of Japanese art and culture for many years, the organizers said.

"These shows have been behind the rapid surge in the popularity of the Japanese pop culture scene," it said. "The fan base is spreading and we are also expecting fans from Finland, the Ukraine, Belarus and Croatia to travel to St. Petersburg for this event."

Further information is available through the Russian-language web site for the event at:
http://www.topix.spb.ru

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