by Anthony Beanes
(This story has since been updated with the correct information, as well as more details on this story. Click on this link to read the updated story)
With the recent changes Anime Expo has been going through, one of the new ideas Anime Expo is putting into motion is the launch of the SPJA Youth Program. One of the policies that has been causing an uproar was the requirements to attend Anime Expo as employees, volunteers, panelists, performers, guests, members of a guest's or performer's entourage, Artist Alley participants, exhibitors, vendors, and press. In this application what is needed in order to be accepted into Anime Expo are the following:
-Background Check with a third party company
-Social Security Number
-Eight training courses with certain groups needing to take different courses
(Press, Exhibitors and or Vendors are not required to take the courses, but are encouraged.)
What is not being talked about is that the background checks that are required to gain access to Anime Expo, also requires anyone who applies be charged with 50$. In an email that was shared by a volunteer regarding this information read as the following:
What is alarming in all of this, is that social security is needed in the application regarding the background checks. The only other time a social security number must be given out in my experience was for a job, and or traveling. This to me raises a red flag, and I am not the only one that feels this way. I have seen multiple artists on my twitter feed express the same thoughts. In an effort to make Anime Expo safer, I feel this is taking safety to a whole new level.
By Gregg Dietz
Diana Garnet, one of the few prominent foreign artists signed to a major Japanese record label, will perform at the 2016 Otakon Matsuri, Otakorp Inc. is pleased to announce.
Born in Washington D.C., U.S.A., Garnet was heavily influenced by her anime-loving father, and was immersed into anime culture at a young age. Hearing "Yuzurenai Negai" by Naomi Tamura inspired her lifetime goal to become a singer in Japan.
On her third trip to Japan, she began to work as a middle-school English teacher, when a life-changing opportunity arose. In 2013, she took part in a nationwide karaoke TV show for foreigners, called "Nodojiman! THE WORLD 2013 Spring" on NTV and was crowned the winner, also securing a major label debut at the same time.
After releasing cover works for her first single and mini-album, Garnet’s first original single, "Spinning World," was chosen as the ending theme song for the mega-hit anime, "Naruto: Shippuden," making her the first female solo foreign artist to sing an anime theme song.
Since then, she has also featured in FLOW’s best album as a guest vocalist, and was also tapped as one of the “likely breakout stars of 2015” in Yahoo! Japan’s Video Topic Awards.
Her second original single, "Nankai! Mystery," was chosen as the theme song for the NHK E-TV anime "Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note," which will air from October 2015 to March 2016, further elevating her status among anime and mass audiences alike.
The Otakon Matsuri is an outdoor street festival that will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, August 11 at Baltimore's beautiful West Shore Park at the Inner Harbor. Admission is free to both the Otakorp membership as well as to the general public. The event features many attractions to keep attendees well-occupied: games, contests, prizes, live entertainment, great food, and even Otakon guests, who have been known to stop by and take part in the festivities.
Otakon 2016 will be held August 12-14 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, MD.
ABOUT OTAKON AND OTAKORP, INC.: Now entering its twenty-third year, Otakon is an annual celebration of Japanese and East Asian popular culture, and also one of the largest gatherings of fans in the United States. Otakon celebrates popular culture as a gateway to deeper understanding of Asian culture, and has grown along with the enthusiasm for anime, manga, video games, and music from the Far East. Since 1999, Otakon has been held in Baltimore, Maryland; currently, Otakon is one of Baltimore's few large, city-wide events, drawing over 34,000 people for three days each year (for a paid attendance of over 100,000 turnstile attendees). Otakon is a membership based convention sponsored by Otakorp, Inc., a Pennsylvania-based,
501(c)3 educational non-profit whose mission is to promote the appreciation of Asian culture, primarily through its media and entertainment. Otakorp, Inc. is directed by an all-volunteer, unpaid staff – we are run by fans, for fans.
For more information about Otakorp, Inc., see http://www.otakon.com/otakorp/index.asp
For more information and the latest news on Otakon 2015, see http://www.otakon.com/