RIO DE JANEIRO (Kyodo) An organization has been launched here to promote contemporary Japanese culture, including J-pop, “manga” comic books and animation.

In response to the Japanese Consulate General’s call for establishing such a body, Brazilian student groups launched the Instituto Japao Pop Br, or the J-pop Brazil Association, with support from the Getulio Vargas Foundation, a research institute backed by the Brazilian government.

The students and the foundation will jointly operate the association, which is the first Japanese culture promotion body in South America, the consulate general in Rio de Janeiro said. The association has about 50 core members, mainly students.

It plans to stage regular “cosplay” parties and karaoke contests in a bid to deepen understanding of Japanese culture.

Japanese culture is already popular with young Brazilians. Teams from this country have twice won the World Cosplay Summit, an annual competition in Nagoya sponsored by the Foreign Ministry.

Association leader Pedro Carvalho, a 21-year-old student, said J-pop and “anime” are the key to understanding Japanese youth culture.

“I’d like to spread Japanese culture more in Brazil,” Carvalho said.

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