It was a warm summar evening in July. The year was 2019 and the place was NärCon – “the biggest cosplay and gaming festival in the Nordics” – in Linköping, Sweden. Paul and Pepijn had been part of the initiative to get NECRONOMIDOL – “an ultradark idol unit that mix idol music with genres like black metal, darkwave, synthwave, NWOBHM, Japanese folk music, and other eclectic genres of music” – to Sweden and now the time had come for the first of three events.
Pepijn had invited fans to a meet-up just before the show but was caught up handling handlers and chauffeuring chauffeurs. Paul and Johan, as well as Filip and other fans, however, got together and prepared a gift for the band: a Swedish flag full of autographs and well wishes. The gift was presented during the first of two shows that NECRONOMIDOL gave during NärCon.
After NärCon Paul, Pepijn and Johan kept in touch exchanging experiences of shows, concerts etc. involving Japanese bands, idols, alt-idols and artists as well as more or less reasonable plans for arranging Japanese cultural events in Sweden. They kept in touch with a wide range of Japanese artists including multi-artist SARI, singer song
writer rider Ayasen, 2&, 14th Generation Toilet Hanako-san and Rei, Okaki and Michelle of White Water Lily.
When Pepijn and Johan got the chance to act as local crew for steam punk, heavy metal band FATE GEAR when they visited NärCon Winter 2020, it became clear that there is a growing interest in Japanese performing arts in Sweden. It also became clear that there is no organization in Sweden focusing on introducing a broader range of Japanese performing arts in Sweden or, for that matter, the Nordic countries.
To remedy this the Swedish-Japanese Performers Association (SJPA) was formed in June 2020. SJPA is a Swedish non-profit association with the goal “to promote Japanese art and popular music. The focus is idol, alt-idol and rock. The association will sponsor and arrange events such as art exhibitions, music festivals and tours”.
We have a lot of ideas on what to do next so stay tuned! It will be awesome and every so often kawaii!