For Tony Valente, taking the time to meet fans of his manga and interacting with the many visitors of book publisher Ankama’s booth matters most. The author of hit manga “Radiant,” arguably the biggest manga to come out of France to date, continually welcomes a sea of attendees at the Villepinte Convention Center, about a 45-minute drive from central Paris.

“The most important thing for me is hearing them tell me my manga represents them,” Valente says.

Every year, it’s crucial for artists like Valente to attend the Japan Expo. The annual convention held a few kilometers north of Paris has become a staple of French fan conventions, becoming the third most popular gathering of the country. Around 300,000 visitors make their way to the four-day summer pilgrimage for Japanese culture admirers.