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Anime Expo, abbreviated AX, is an American anime convention that usually takes place on the July 4 weekend for four days each year in Southern California. The convention tries to include July 4 in its dates, except on the years when July 4 falls on a Wednesday. Anime Expo is hosted by the non-profit Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA). SPJA has also held Anime Expo conventions in New York and Tokyo, which took place in 2002 and 2004 respectively.[1] Anime Expo has frequently collaborated with the anime industry, and as the convention has grown, so has the visibility of Anime Expo's industry sponsors as evidenced by their towering presence throughout the convention site.

Programming

Many of the convention attendees cosplay at some point during the convention, while attending seminars, panel discussions, vendor booths, and more[2]. Popular events (in addition to guest and industry panels) include the masquerade, concerts at the Nokia, karaoke contest, anime music video contest, and "AX Idol" contest. Anime Expo is a 24-hour convention, offering late-night dances, all night video and gaming rooms, and open-mic Karaoke in the nighttime hours, where some of the activities were held at the Westin Bonaventure.

History

Anime Expo began as an anime and manga convention in Northern California. Many of its original staff came from Anime Con, an anime convention held in San Jose, California in 1991, and later absorbed by the SPJA in 1992. In 1994, Anime Expo made a strategic relocation to Southern California and has resided there since.

The convention continues to thrive due to the growing popularity of anime and maintains a strong draw due to the many notable Japanese guests it has been known for. It currently holds the title of America's largest anime convention, a title which it has consistently held every year except 2003 in which its attendance was slightly edged out by its rival east coast convention Otakon.[3] From 1,750 attendees in 1992, Anime Expo's size has increased to over 44,000 in 2009[4], which makes Anime Expo the largest anime and manga convention in North America and one of the largest in the world.

Event history

Dates Location Atten. Guests
July 3–6, 1992 Red Lion Hotel
San Jose, California

<td style="text-align: center">1,750</td>

Jerry Beck, L. Lois Buhalis, Ben Dunn, Robert Fenelon, Lea Hernandez, Seiji Horibuchi, Ken Iyadomi, Shawn Kleckner, Trish Ledoux, Carl Macek, Luke Menichelli, Haruhiko Mikimoto, Keiji Nakazawa, Robert Napton, John O'Donnell, Claude J. Pelletier, David Riddick, Fred Schodt, Buichi Terasawa, Jeff Thompson, Yoshiyuki Tomino, Steve Wang, Robert Woodhead, and Toshifumi Yoshida.[5]
July 2–4, 1993 Parc Oakland Hotel and
Oakland Convention Center
Oakland, California

<td style="text-align: center">1,693</td>

Keita Amemiya, Robert DeJesus, Doug Dlin, Robert Fenelon, Peter Goll, Kenji Goto, David Ho, Seiji Horibuchi, Leo Hourvitz, Yasuhiro Imagawa, Junco Ito, Michitaka Kikuchi, Hiroyuki Kitazume, Makoto Kobayashi, Steve Kyte, Trish Ledoux, Carl Macek, Helen McCarthy, Haruhiko Mikimoto, Robert Napton, Yasushi Nirasawa, Martin Oulette, Wil Overton, Claude J. Pelletier, Jeff Pidgeon, Fred Schodt, Jan Scott-Frazier, Masatoshi Tahara, Takayuki Takeya, and Toshifumi Yoshida.[6]
July 1–3, 1994 Anaheim Marriott Hotel and
Anaheim Convention Center
Anaheim, California

<td style="text-align: center">2,057</td>

Allen Hastings, Shoji Kawamori, Izumi Matsumoto, Jan Scott-Frazier, Minoru Takanashi, and Nobuteru Yuuki.[7]
June 30 – July 2, 1995 Los Angeles Airport Hilton
Los Angeles, California

<td style="text-align: center">2,138</td>

Amy Chia, Danger Productions, Allen Hastings, Leo Hourvitz, Kazuhiko Ikeguchi, Noboru Ishiguro, Jay Miao, Haruhiko Mikimoto, Koichi Ohata, Nobuyuki Ohnishi, Jan Scott-Frazier, Ryoei Tsukimura, Satoshi Urushibara, and Kinji Yoshimoto.[8]
June 28–30, 1996 Anaheim Marriott Hotel and
Anaheim Convention Center
Anaheim, California

<td style="text-align: center">2,918</td>

Hideaki Anno, Hiroki Hayashi, Noboru Ishiguro, Yoshiaki Kawajiri, Hiroyuki Kitazume, Leiji Matsumoto, Toshihiko Nishikubo, Hiromasa Ogura, Koichi Ohata, Ai Orikasa, Mamoru Oshii, Jan Scott-Frazier, Kenichi Sonoda, Yumi Takada, and Kenichi Sonoda.[9]
July 4–6, 1997 Los Angeles Airport Hilton
Los Angeles, California

<td style="text-align: center">3,826[10]</td>

July 3–5, 1998 Anaheim Hilton and Towers
Anaheim, California

<td style="text-align: center">4,883</td>

Mika Akitaka, Akira Kamiya, Hiroyuki Kitakubo, Yasuhiro Nightow, Nobuyuki Takahashi, Yuu Watase, and Takahiro Yoshimatsu.[11]
July 16–18, 1999 Anaheim Hilton and Towers
Anaheim, California

<td style="text-align: center">6,400</td>

Mika Akitaka, Mari Iijima, Yoko Kanno, Hiromi Matsushita, Lisa Ortiz, and Gilles Poitras.[12]
June 30 – July 3, 2000 Disneyland Hotel
Anaheim, California

<td style="text-align: center">9,700</td>

Rika Fukami, Keiji Gotoh, Kunihiko Ikuhara, Noboru Ishiguro, Akira Kamiya, Yukio Kikukawa, Mahiro Maeda, Yutaka Minowa, Range Murata, Kazuto Nakazawa, Yasuhiro Nightow, Chiho Saito, Yuu Watase, and Nobuteru Yuuki.[13]
July 5–8, 2001 Long Beach Convention Center
Long Beach, California

<td style="text-align: center">13,000</td>

Hisashi Abe, Morio Asaka, Kia Asamiya, Jo Chen, Masayuki Kojima, Kikuko Inoue, Hidenori Matsubara, Haruhiko Mikimoto, Makoto Uno, and Yuu Watase.[14][15]
July 4–7, 2002 Long Beach Convention Center
Long Beach, California

<td style="text-align: center">15,250</td>

Jo Chen, Hiroaki Goda, Tsukasa Hojo, Kunihiko Ikuhara, Hiroaki Inoue, Yoko Ishida, Noboru Ishiguro, Masashi Ishihama, Akira Kamiya, Shoji Kawamori, Maria Kawamura, Yukio Kikukawa, Hideyuki Kurata, Koichi Mashimo, Koji Masunari, Hidenori Matsubara, Toshiharu Murata, Mamiko Noto, Puffy AmiYumi, Nobuhiro Watsuki, and Takumi Yamazaki.[16]
August 31 – September 2, 2002 Marriott New York Marquis
New York, New York

<td style="text-align: center">5,500</td>

Akitaroh Daichi, Noboru Ishiguro, Yoko Kanno, Toshihiro Kawamoto, Takao Koyama, Taro Maki, Koji Sugiura, Atsushi Takeuchi, Yoshiyuki Tomino, and Shinichiro Watanabe.[17]
July 3–6, 2003 Anaheim Convention Center
Anaheim, California

<td style="text-align: center">17,000</td>

yoshitoshi ABe, Kazuki Akane, Duel Jewel, Rebecca Forstadt, Crispin Freeman, Kazuhiro Furuhashi, Mitsuru Hongo, Taliesin Jaffe, Yuki Kajiura, Yousuke Kuroda, Mahiro Maeda, Atsuko Nakajima, Liam O'Brien, Koushi Rikudo, Goro Taniguchi, Misa Watanabe, Kazuki Yao, and Nobuteru Yuuki.[18]
January 16–18, 2004 Sunshine City Convention Center
Tokyo, Japan

<td style="text-align: center">4,919</td>

Shō Aikawa, Ken Akamatsu, Hiroshi Aro, Crispin Freeman, Fred Gallagher, Yuichi Hasegawa, Saki Hijiri, Ryusuke Hikawa, Hiroyuki Imaishi, Imaitoonz, Isamu Imakake, Mutsumi Inomata, Noboru Ishiguro, Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, Takehiko Ito, Yutaka Izubuchi, Toshihiro Kawamoto, Hiroyuki Kitazume, Satomi Kodama, Rie Kugimiya, Akira Kushida, Tomomi Michizuki, MIQ, Nao Nagasawa, Hiroshi Negishi, Tetsuya Nishio, Hiroyuki Okiura, Romi Park, Akemi Takada, Nozomu Tamaki, Kana Ueda, Under17, Yoshihiro Yonezawa, and Reina Yoshimura.[19]
July 2–5, 2004 Anaheim Convention Center
Anaheim, California

<td style="text-align: center">25,000</td>

Koichi Chigira, Kate Davis, Hiromi Hirata, Yoko Ishida, Masashi Ishihama, Shinichiro Kimura, Hideyuki Kurata, Lee Myung-jin, Wendee Lee, Michael Lindsay, Masao Maruyama, Shino Masanori, Koji Masunari, Yuji Matsukura, MIQ, Minoru Murao, Range Murata, Toshiharu Murata, Satoshi Nishimura, Kazufumi Nomura, Tomonori Ochikoshi, Yoshiyuki Okamura, Ichiro Okouchi, Kaoru Ozawa, Tadashi Ozawa, Cindy Robinson, Michelle Ruff, Katsushi Sakurabi, Soichiro Sano, Carrie Savage, Tomokazu Seki, Ren Usami, Cindy Yamauchi, and Reina Yoshimura.[20]
July 1–4, 2005 Anaheim Convention Center
Anaheim, California

<td style="text-align: center">33,000</td>

Hunter Mackenzie Austin, Greg Ayres, JB Blanc, Johnny Yong Bosch, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Siobhan Flynn, Crispin Freeman, Ugetsu Hakua, Rachel Hirschfeld (voice actress), Ryo Horikawa, Hiroyuki Kitakubo, Osamu Kobayashi, Tsuneo Kobayashi, Kotoko, Sara Lahti, Wendee Lee, Range Murata, Liam O'Brien, Hiroshi Osaka, Maaya Sakamoto, Carrie Savage, Tomokazu Seki, Miho Shimogasa, J.D. Stone, Helena Taylor, Wendee Tomson, Kazue Yamamoto, and Akihito Yamashita.[21]
July 1–4, 2006 Anaheim Convention Center
Anaheim, California

<td style="text-align: center">40,647</td>

Laura Bailey, CLAMP, Crispin Freeman, Toru Furuya, Noboru Ishiguro, Yutaka Izubuchi, Koge-Donbo, Tomoki Kyoda, Mana, Vic Mignogna, Seiji Mizushima, Hiroshi Nagahama, Atsuko Nakajima, Mick Takeuchi, and yozuka*.[22]
June 29 – July 2, 2007 Long Beach Convention Center
Long Beach, California

<td style="text-align: center">41,671</td>

Tetsuo Araki, Michael Arias, Greg Ayres, Laura Bailey, Steve Blum, Johnny Yong Bosch, Minori Chihara, Leah Clark, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Justin Cook, Caitlin Glass, Yuko Goto, Kate Higgins, Aya Hirano, Yuuna Inamura, Eisaku Inoue, Chiaki Ishikawa, Taliesin Jaffe, Satoru Kannagi, Hideo Katsumata, Takaaki Kidani, Masaru Kitao, Mike McFarland, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Halko Momoi, Shuhei Morita, Hiroshi Nagahama, Sumire Nanohana, Tomonori Ochikoshi, Tony Oliver, Oreskaband, Kate Oxley, Takaharu Ozaki, Brina Palencia, Orion Pitts, Brandon Potter, Dai Sato, savage genius, Patrick Seitz, Stephanie Sheh, Anna Tsuchiya, Kounosuke Uda, and Travis Willingham.[23]
July 3–6, 2008 Los Angeles Convention Center
Los Angeles, California

<td style="text-align: center">43,000</td>

Yamila Abraham, Masahiro Ando, Ayane, Greg Ayres, Cameron Baity, Mike Fasolo, Fullmoon 13, GaGaalinG, David Hayter, Masamitsu Hidaka, Yoko Ishida, Jyukai, Hiromi Kato, Hideyuki Kikuchi, Kuro, LM.C, Chris Many, Johnathan Meza, Vic Mignogna, Jason C. Miller, Jeanette Moffat, Shoko Nakagawa, Tony Oliver, le Peruggine, Riku, Tom Root, Kaeko Sakamoto, Patrick Seitz, Toshihiko Seki, Kevin Shinick, Akemi Takada, Saiko Takaki, Thee Out Mods, VelBet, and Travis Willingham.[24]
July 2–5, 2009[25] Los Angeles Convention Center
Los Angeles, California

<td style="text-align: center">44,000[4](unique); 109,000 (turnstile)</td>

Yamila Abraham, Seth Green, Morning Musume, Hiroyuki Imaishi, Atsushi Nishigori, Daisuke Ishiwatari, Toshimichi Mori, Toshiyuki Morikawa, Yasuhiro Nightow, Satoshi Nishimura, Seiji Mizushima, Kari Wahlgren, Karan Ashley, Robert Axelrod, Steve Cardenas, Walter Emanuel Jones, Catherine Sutherland, Barbara Goodson, Nakia Burrise, Blake Foster, Patricia Ja Lee, Dan Southworth, Cerina Vincent, Reggie Rolle, Amy Miller, Brandon Jay McLaren, Monica May, Vic Mignogna, Moi dix Mois[26], Satsuki[27]
July 1–4, 2010[4] Los Angeles Convention Center
Los Angeles, California

<td style="text-align: center">TBA (unique);105,000 (turnstile)[28]</td>

Yuu Asakawa[29], Kyle Hebert, Sophia, Toshihiro Kawamoto, Shinichi Watanabe, DJ CHUCKY, M-Project, m1dy, GUHROOVY, NO+CHIN and DJ Schwarzenegger [30] Kenji Kamiyama, Satoru Nakamura and Tomohiko Ishii,[31] Katsuyuki Konishi, AKB48, MELL, Rei Hiroe, May'n, Megumi Nakajima, Horie Yui, Danny Choo, Eri Kitamura, BENI, RSP, Masakazu Morita, Saki Aibu, Cast of "Kisaragi": Nezumi Imamura, Yousuke Asari, Masahiro Usui and Yuichirou Nakayama, Vic Mignogna, Johnny Yong Bosch, Cristina Vee, Jason Miller,
July 1–4, 2011
(20th Anniversary)[32]
Los Angeles Convention Center
Los Angeles, California

<td style="text-align: center"></td>

TBA
2012 Los Angeles Convention Center
Los Angeles, California

<td style="text-align: center"></td>

TBA
2013 Los Angeles Convention Center
Los Angeles, California

<td style="text-align: center"></td>

TBA

Notes

  • The 2009 event donated over $29,000 to the Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) from the SPJA Charity Auction, announced during closing ceremonies on Sunday, July 5, 2009[4]
  • Masquerade main event was attended by a standing-room only crowd, over 7,200 seats available[33]
  • Total 2010 through-the-doors attendance achieved 105,000 (turnstile) which is a drop in attendance compared to the 109,000 (turnstile) number of 2009.[34]
  • Expo’s 20th Anniversary will be celebrated in 2011.

Organizational structure

The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA), the parent organization which produces Anime Expo, is a federal and California state registered 501(c)(6) non-profit corporation.[35] The staff of Anime Expo is broken up by division, and each division is composed of a number of departments. The Divisions are: Membership Services, Operations, Programming, Audio Visual Services, Exhibits, Interactive Events, and Guest Relations. Additionally, the SPJA arm has several departments that also service Anime Expo, these include Marketing, Staff Resources and Finance. There were over 500 staffers and volunteers at Anime Expo 2006.

Although Anime Expo is primarily staffed by volunteers, due to its continuous growth it was deemed necessary starting in 2005 to offer a wage compensation to key year-round staff members in positions such as the Chairperson, Directors, and Division Managers. The wage is offered to avoid running afoul of California HR laws and is minimal, in most cases equivalent to eight hours per week at minimum wage. The SPJA, which is the parent organization of Anime Expo, has a small handful of full-time employees among which are the CEO, CFO, and office manager. In addition, there are several consultants for outsourced functions such as marketing and legal representation/consultation.

As of March 27, 2009, Chief Executive Officer Trulee Karahashi, who had been a part of Anime Expo and the SPJA in various capacities for 11 years, left the organization.[36][37]

In September 2009, former Universal Studios executive Michael Lattanzio was hired as the SPJA's new CEO.[38][39]

In January 2010, four Anime Expo division managers publicly resigned over strong disagreements over the direction of the organization set forth by the SPJA's new CEO. One significant point of contention was the CEO's decision to refocus and restructure the SPJA's marketing efforts starting with the termination of a PR and marketing contractor whom the convention management have had a close relationship with since 2004.[40]

Other Anime Expos

The SPJA has twice run conventions outside of California: Anime Expo New York in 2002, and Anime Expo Tokyo in 2004.

Anime Expo New York

Anime Expo New York (AXNY) was held in 2002 in the Times Square district of New York City, New York.[17] The event was originally a joint effort with Central Park Media and its industry event, Big Apple Anime Fest (BAAF). Due to differences, the event ran as separate entities within the same time frame and venues, with BAAF hosting the theatrical film screenings, and Anime Expo New York hosting the convention. The events shared some resources, with notable guests listed in the program guides of both events. The SPJA ran the event in order to demonstrate that it could run events outside of its home state of California. The event was a precursor to Anime Expo Tokyo which ran in Tokyo, Japan in 2004.[19] The SPJA has not run any events outside of California since 2004.

Anime Expo Tokyo

Anime Expo Tokyo (AX Tokyo) was held in 2004 at the Sunshine City Convention Center in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, Japan.[19] It was not technically organized directly by the SPJA, but rather was organized by the Japanese Association for Science Fiction (JASFIC) with assistance from the SPJA. JASFIC had two goals for Anime Expo Tokyo. The first goal was to establish in Japan a non-corporate sponsored convention dedicated to anime. The second goal was to demonstrate to the organizers of the World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon) that Japan could serve as a suitable venue for conventions that attract foreigners. Although Anime Expo Tokyo did not go on to a second year, JASFIC was ultimately successful in attracting the 65th World Science Fiction Convention to Japan in 2007.

Anime Expo Tokyo had a staggering list of over 40 guests such as manga artist Ken Akamatsu, MiQ, Under17, Hiroshi Aro, and many others, although a small handful had to make last minute cancellations. Anime Expo Tokyo was also the very first Anime Expo that officially hosted guests from the U.S. anime industry such as producer Fred Gallagher and voice actor Crispin Freeman.[19]

Of Anime Expo Tokyo's 4,249 attendees, approximately 300 of that number were estimated to have traveled from abroad. In addition to the attendance numbers were 240 members of the press, 40 of which were from overseas. An additional 430 people were composed of dealers, guests, or staff.

No plans to host another official Anime Expo outside of California have been announced.

References

  1. "Profile". Anime Expo. 2007-01-09. Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  2. O'Rourke, Michael. "Like-minded fans share in 'Cosplay' at Anime Expo". My San Antonio. 
  3. "Ten largest North American anime conventions of 2003". AnimeCons.com. 2007-01-09. Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Anime Expo 2009 Continues to Hold the Title of Nation’s Largest Anime and Manga Event with a Record Number of Over 44,000 in Attendance, July 5, 2009
  5. "Anime Expo 1992 Information". AnimeCons.com. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  6. "Anime Expo 1993 Information". AnimeCons.com. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  7. "Anime Expo 1994 Information". AnimeCons.com. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  8. "Anime Expo 1995 Information". AnimeCons.com. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  9. "Anime Expo 1996 Information". AnimeCons.com. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  10. "Anime Expo 1997 Information". AnimeCons.com. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  11. "Anime Expo 1998 Information". AnimeCons.com. Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  12. "Anime Expo 1999 Information". AnimeCons.com. Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  13. "Anime Expo 2000 Information". AnimeCons.com. Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  14. "Anime Expo 2001 Information". AnimeCons.com. Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  15. "Anime Expo Opening Ceremonies". animenewsnetwork.com. Retrieved 2007-08-09. 
  16. "Anime Expo 2002 Information". AnimeCons.com. Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Anime Expo New York 2002 Information". AnimeCons.com. Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  18. "Anime Expo 2003 Information". AnimeCons.com. Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 "Anime Expo Tokyo 2004 Information". AnimeCons.com. Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  20. "Anime Expo 2004 Information". AnimeCons.com. Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  21. "Anime Expo 2005 Information". AnimeCons.com. Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  22. "Anime Expo 2006 Information". AnimeCons.com. Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  23. "Anime Expo 2007 Information". AnimeCons.com. Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  24. "Anime Expo 2008 Information". AnimeCons.com. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  25. AlexT (2008-07-07). "Anime Expo 2008 Announces 17th Convention Biggest Success To Date". Anime Expo. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  26. AnimeExpo 2009: Special Guests
  27. http://www.jame-world.com/us/news-49546-satsuki-and-auncia-to-appear-at-anime-expo-usa.html
  28. Anime Expo 2010 Reports 105,000+ Turnstile Attendance, AnimeNewsNetwork, July 13, 2010
  29. Japanese Voice Actress, YUU ASAKAWA, will attend Anime Expo® 2010 as an Official Guest of Honor, Anime-Expo.org, March 3, 2010
  30. Anime Expo Hosts Excel Saga Director Shinichi Watanabe, Anime News Network, February 18, 2010
  31. Anime Expo® 2010 announces Eden of The East trio as Official Guests of Honor, Anime Expo, April 15, 2010
  32. Hugo Martin, Anime Expo to stay in Los Angeles three more years, Los Angeles Times, June 30, 2010
  33. Anime Expo 2009 Continues Strong into Day 4 as the Nation’s Largest Anime and Manga Convention, July 5, 2009
  34. Carlo Santos, SPJA Open Board Meeting, Anime News Network, July 4, 2010
  35. About The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation
  36. To: SPJA Executive Members, Convention Committee, Anime Expo Managers, Staff and Volunteers, March 28, 2009
  37. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation “(SPJA)”
  38. The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation Announces New President and Chief Executive Officer
  39. SPJA announces new CEO, Michael Lattanzio
  40. Multiple Anime Expo Staffers Resign in Board Dispute January 11, 2010

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