Our Biggest Convention Yet?!? – JCMU at Anime Central 2017

This month, the Japan Center (JCMU) was fortunate enough to attend Anime Central near Chicago!

Anime Central (ACEN) is one of the largest Japanese media conventions in the U.S. (certainly the largest we’ve attended thus far!), and is held annually in Rosemont, Illinois. With this year being the 20th anniversary of the convention, it is an especially momentous occasion for the con organizers! From May 19th through the 21st, we hosted a booth at ACEN to highlight our study abroad opportunities in Japan for convention participants.

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Our booth, complete with Hikonyan and our wonderful cosplaying volunteers!

Anime, manga, and other popular forms of Japanese pop culture are what initially introduced many of our students to Japan. However, few people at these cons are aware of the study abroad opportunities available that would allow them to actually go to Japan.

Improving awareness of study abroad – that’s where we come in!

All of the conventions we have attended to this point have been held in Michigan, so we were initially unsure of how a convention of predominately non-Michiganders would react to our study abroad programs. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find that hundreds of people stopped by our booth to discuss the various opportunities available to them! 

Attendees of all ages stopped by our booth to discover our study abroad options in Hikone. They were even more excited to find out that students from across the country (not just Michigan) were eligible to participate in our programs! We even had four alumni stop by our booth as well, reconnecting with us and learning more about our upcoming alumni events and initiatives.

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Spring 2013 alum Tyrie Adams makes an appearance!

Additionally, we had the chance to meet up with other anime conventions in attendance that we are working with, including members of the JAFAX team (Grand Rapids, MI), the Dokidokon team (Kalamazoo, MI), and the Glass City Con team (Toledo, OH). We are truly thankful to have their support, and look forward to attending their cons in the next couple of months!

Every day, our booth volunteers were invited to participate in the activities ACEN had to offer!

The convention hosted the largest collection of artists and anime-related vendors that any of us have ever seen, including official booths run by large industry exhibitors such as Crunchyroll, Good Smile Company, and Funimation. In addition, the con hosted a large game room complete with Japanese arcade games, including a UFO catcher, Pop’n Music, Dance Dance Revolution, and more. Furthermore, there were concerts, panels, and photo shoots at all times of the day, including our volunteers’ favorite activity, Tanto Cuore tournaments. All of this helped make this year’s ACEN an extraordinary 20th anniversary!

JCMU would like to thank ACEN for allowing us to introduce more con-goers to the world of study abroad in Japan. We hope this helps more students become aware of the study abroad possibilities available to them and encourages them to go on a program in Hikone themselves. If you were an ACEN attendee that visited our booth and would like to learn more about the wide array of programs that we offer, please visit the JCMU website.

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One of the punniest cosplays we saw there: a Magikarpet! Cosplay credit @cospunning

We’ll be at plenty more conventions in the coming months! Our next one will be JAFAX in Grand Rapids next month from June 16th through the 18th – we hope to see you there!

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