Toulouse: the “Japan Touch” honors Japanese culture

This is the fifth edition of this festival dedicated to Japan. This year, the organizers have relied on Japanese traditions and booming pop culture. The “Japan Touch” ends on September 4.

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Wig, makeup, costume. Like many visitors, Sacha went to the Japan Touch in the guise of a manga character. His cosplay: Obanaï Iguro, major character of Demon Slayer.

It’s like it’s me”, explains Sacha, for whom cosplay is “an entertainment, a hobby”. “When we put ourselves in the shoes of the character, we talk like them, we are called by their name”.

In Japanese culture, manga is ubiquitous. And this genre is also very popular in France. “It’s been my job for 10 years. Year after year, the manga is gaining momentum”, remarks David Dao Ngam, founder of a school dedicated to manga in Paris. “When I teach at other schools and ask who knows manga and who watches it, everyone raises their hands. At the time, there were only 3 or 4”.

The figures prove David Dao Ngam right. According to a study published last January by the firm GFK, 47 million manga were purchased in France in 2021. This represents more than half of comic book sales of all genres that year. “It’s just amazing”, notes the mangaka.

In the aisles of the festival, the place given to manga and anime does not prevent Japanese traditions from existing. Evidenced by the presence of stands dedicated to Japanese martial arts. As confirmed by Gaston Nicolessi, director of the rose garden dojo, the practice of aikido “is going back to young people”. In Toulouse, the Japan Touch audience is relatively young, although the organizers pride themselves on welcoming anyone “between 7 and 77 years old”.

In Toulouse, the Japan Touch audience is relatively young, although the organizers pride themselves on welcoming anyone “between 7 and 77 years old”.

In recent years, the craze for Japanese culture has been felt in Toulouse. According to Jean-Pierre GImenez, organizer of this edition of the Japan Touch, the festival welcomes today “a cosmopolitan public” who cultivates “the taste of elsewhere”. “Every year there are more and more people“, he assures.