Japan Expo opens in France

JIJI

The 14th Japan Expo, one of the largest exhibitions of Japanese pop culture in Europe, opened Thursday in the suburbs of Paris.

The organizer expects some 230,000 people to visit during the expo’s four-day run to peruse the latest anime, comic books and video games from Japan.

The expo drew “cosplayers,” or fans who dress up as anime characters and other pop icons, from around Europe, turning the role-playing stage into a riot of colorfully costumed visitors.

Part of the expo is also dedicated to promoting traditional Japanese culture, such as “budo,” or martial arts.

A food stand churning out “takoyaki” (octopus dumplings) also attracted a long line of visitors.

Special guests scheduled to appear at this year’s expo include Tetsuo Hara, author of the popular manga “Hokuto no Ken” (“Fist of the North Star”).

The expo is also playing up regional mascots, such as Hikonyan, which represents the city of Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, and Kumamon, from Kumamoto Prefecture.

The Japan National Tourism Organization meanwhile opened a booth to provide travel information and promote visits to Japan.