Social Encore: Otaku Summer Festival

Aug. 20, 2015 | 0 Comments

BY JERMEL-LYNN QUILLOPO / Special to the Star-Advertiser

In efforts to help raise money and to create awareness surrounding ancient Japanese traditions, the Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha will host its first ever Otaku Summer Festival from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday at 1239 Olomea St.



» Where: Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha, 1239 Olomea St.
» When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday
» Cost: Free; parking available at the shrine and Damien Memorial School, 1401 Houghtailing St.
» Info:

Longtime member Kell Komatsubara said the organization wanted to create a festival that combines both the younger and older generations.

“The Shinto religion is slowly disappearing and the biggest thing we want to do is form awareness of it and get the younger generation interested and involved,” she said.

The Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha Shrine was established in 1920 to help preserve Shinto traditions in Hawaii and was a place many first generation Japanese immigrants (issei) embraced. As the shrine slowly approaches its 100th anniversary, the organization would like to honor the shrine by handling various restoration projects that include termite, electrical and structural repairs in time for the milestone. They hope the festival will help raise money to alleviate the expensive cost of repairs.

The family-friendly festival includes Japanese cultural activities, food, collectibles and more. The Hanayagi Dance Academy, Waipahu Seibukan Kendo Club and Ryusei Taiko drumming will entertain crowds with live demonstrations. Crimson Apple will also be there to perform.

If you love Japanese nostalgia there will collectibles such as vintage kimono, toys, books videos and even rare movie posters from Asahi Theatre, Honolulu’s first Japanese Theatre. If you like to would like to test your skills, try traditional festival games such as Kingyo Sukui, a game that challenges you to catch a real fish with a paper net.

COURTESY OTAKU SUMMER FESTIVALKyle Hebert is a featured guest at this year's festival.


Kyle Hebert is a featured guest at this year’s festival.

Classic Japanese fair food will include takoyaki and other local favorites. You’ll also be able to see people dressed in authentic Japanese-style maid and butler outfits at the Anime Cafe.

Well-known anime voice actor Kyle Hebert will also be present at the festival. He’s the voice behind Dragonball Z and is the voice of Ryu from Street Fighter. The 20-year voice acting veteran will hold a free clinic on how to start your career in the industry and will hold auditions for those who are serious about trying out.

Anime interactive artist Andy Lee will join local talents Jon J. Murakami, Devin Oishi and Dennis Imoto as well, and the Hawaii Video Gaming League (HVGL) will also be set up to entertain people who want to play Street Fighter.

Jeff Young, commissioner and founding member of the Hawaii Video Gaming League, said they got involved in order to help with fundraising efforts and to show people many games have heavy Shinto influences.

“I think that it’s very important to be aware of the different religious aspects,” said Young. “Hawaii is a big melting pot of religions and in the gaming world you will find tenrikyo and Shinto religion. It’s good to have festivals like these that help create that awareness by introducing traditions with modern day.”
Jermel-Lynn Quillopo is a multi-faceted, energetic individual with experience in both print and broadcast journalism. “Social Encore” aims to tell diverse stories about Hawaii’s food, events and people; share your tips with Jermel via email or follow her on Twitter.

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