Interview with Tomohiro Sekiya, Organizer of Russia's First Large-scale Cosplay Event [2/2]

Recently, we interviewed Tomohiro Sekiya, one of the organizers of Hinode, the first large-scale cosplay event held in Russia, to get a feel for the current otaku and cosplay culture in Russia. If you haven’t read the first part of this interview, you can do so here: Interview with Tomohiro Sekiya, Organizer of Russia's First Large-scale Cosplay Event 1/2

TOM: What kind of programs did you have during Hinode?
Sekiya: As it is a preliminary to WCS, there was a photo cosplay session, where cosplayers team up with cameramen and have a contest of the pictures taken, and a performance session, where small teams do a show. Other than that, there was also a fashion show-like program called Defile, and we also organized karaoke and AMD (Asian Music Dance) programs.

TOM: It seems like it was quite colorful, wasn’t it?
Sekiya: It is an expression of the fact that we want this event to be more than just a cosplay contest preliminary. Russians know a lot about Japanese culture from anime and manga, and it makes a strong impression on them. For example, there are a lot of fans who see Naruto eating ramen in the anime and think, “Someday I want to go to Japan and eat ramen just like this!” Japanese pop culture creates a strong motivation, and many think, “I will learn Japanese because I want to be able to speak the original words.” That’s why we don’t limit the event’s purpose to cosplay; we want it to be more like a place where people can learn about Japanese culture.

TOM: Oh, I see! From anime to cosplay, and similarly, anime to Japanese culture, it’s easy to see the connection.
Sekiya: Actually, Russians are very pro-Japanese. Besides having a good impression of Japanese products, especially young people are friendly toward Japan due to the influence of pop culture, such as manga and anime. These circumstances help in raising the admiration of cosplay in other parts of Russia, too. Last year’s event was only organized in Moscow, but in order to give more people the chance to participate in the WCS preliminary, we started to make contact with local organizations all around Russia in an attempt to invite selected people. This year, it will be held in five locations other than Moscow; next year, even more...we aim to gradually expand the scale of the event. Our motto is “Expand the Hinode network to all of Russia!”

TOM: It will be exciting to see how Hinode is going to change Russia’s cosplay culture. So, the last question: Do you have anything to say to our readers throughout the world?
Sekiya: What impressed me at WCS 2012 was that when I talked with representatives from 20 countries and the staff, all of them praised Russians for their high cosplay level. Being a country that had once competed with the U.S. in rocket development, I think there’s an underground culture with skilled hands that is strong in making clothes. However, while receiving high praise, there were also people saying, “I’d like to go to see Russia, but it’s not easy.” That’s why we want to send information on Russia’s cosplay to the whole world through Hinode to promote cultural exchange. In the future, we would also like to invite cosplayers from abroad, and to welcome anyone who is interested!

TOM: Thank you for your time!

Hinode Official Site:
http://www.hinode.asia/ (Russian)

Hinode 2012 Event Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YbiiXE9G88

Interview with Tomohiro Sekiya, Organizer of Russia's First Large-scale Cosplay Event [2/2] 1
Interview with Tomohiro Sekiya, Organizer of Russia's First Large-scale Cosplay Event [2/2] 2
Interview with Tomohiro Sekiya, Organizer of Russia's First Large-scale Cosplay Event [2/2] 3
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Interview with Tomohiro Sekiya, Organizer of Russia's First Large-scale Cosplay Event [2/2] 8
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Interview with Tomohiro Sekiya, Organizer of Russia's First Large-scale Cosplay Event [2/2] 10

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