The Aki Matsuri Japanese Fall Festival featured Japanese cultural traditions and art forms such as karate, taiko (or drumming groups) and Okinawan folk dance. The event also had a cosplay (costume play) contest Japanese food.

Event organizer and president of the Japanese American Citizens League Steve Togami said Aki Matsuri has been a mainstay in Albuquerque for the last 15 years. He said the wide variety of events allows people to see various aspects of Japanese culture, from contemporary anime to shigin, which is a very old type of women’s a capella singing.

One of the booths was run by former and current UNM students who were recruiting volunteers and artists to work on a local anime convention called Con Jikan. Convention chair Justin Brough said the students started the convention to bring together the Albuquerque anime/manga community.

“The problem with a lot of conventions that have happened in Albuquerque before is that they’re touring conventions,” he said. “It’s not really community-oriented, they put on conventions as a way to make profit. In those cases the con suffers.”

Brough said that convention-goers can look forward to cosplay contests, an artist’s alley where people can sell original prints and even a maid café, where girls dressed in maids’ costumes serve guests and entertain them. The convention will take place in the SUB in March 2013.

By Adria Malcolm
Two-year-old Jen Janert dances a traditional Japanese dance during Aki Matsuri, an annual Japanese Fall Festival held at the National Hispanic Cultural Center on Sunday.