You know spring is in the air when anime characters begin roaming the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. April 18-19 marks the thirty-sixth annual Hatsume Fair, a springtime shindig that transforms the normally tranquil gardens into a raucous party, complete with anime and cosplay characters, thundering taiko drums, martial arts demonstrations, and some rather fantastic sake tastings.
The Japanese garden’s largest and most popular annual event, Hatsume welcomes thousands of guests throughout the weekend, all looking to celebrate the first bud of spring. Three stages (Tokyo, Osaka and Sake) dotted throughout the garden host an array of events, demonstrations and concerts, giving an air of authenticity, while the Hatsume Marketplace gives festivalgoers a chance to taste, sip and shop. But of all the activities happening on the weekend, the most eye catching is that of the costume contest and fashion show. Brandishing their cosplay best, contestants dress to the nines as their favorite anime, video game, television and movie characters in the costume contest, while the fashion show spotlights Japanese street fashion, showcasing not just contestants’ creative abilities, but fashionable sensibilities.
For the Hatsume Fashion Show (Sunday, April 19 at ), a fan favorite, the Morikami’s judges—experts from Tate’s Comics and the 3000 Brigade—will be breaking award categories into Best Lolita Sugar (Sweet, Classic and Kodona), Lolita Spice (Gothic and Punk), Decora, Steampunk, and Roji-en, which is Morikami specific. But what does this all mean? To help ease you through these costumed waters, we have a short fashion breakdown below.
The Hatsume Fair will run April 18-19 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Costume Contest will start at 5 p.m. on Satruday, April 18, on the Tokyo Stage. The Fashion Show will wrap the Hatsume Fair on Sunday, April 19 at 5 p.m., on the Tokyo Stage.
|New this year, the Sake Stage will host a series of food and drink demonstrations revolving around sushi and sake, of course. Along with Sake 101 (12 p.m. on Saturday, April 18), chef extraordinaire, Roy Villacrusis of the upcoming Nitrogen Bar, Grill and Sushi in Jupiter, will host a sashimi demonstration at 2 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. Following Saturday’s sashimi demo, Villacrusis will be joined by Midori Roth, sake expert (and Sake 101 professor), will discuss sake versus wine in a panel discussion. Beginning Sunday’s Sake Stage fun, “A Day in the life of Sake Brewer” will kick things off at 12 p.m. Led by Shingo Kurito from Japan’s Kizakura Brewery, his discussion will walk visitors through the process of brewing sake, as well discuss the many different varietals. Wrapping the Sake Stage offerings will be a panel discussion on Pairing Sake with food. Roth and Villacrusis will once again join the discussion to help foodies pair the best sakes for Japanese and American cuisine.|
One of the more popular, and recognizable fashion subcultures is that of Lolita. Loosely based off Victorian-era clothing, Lolita fashion has evolved over the years to include a number of variations, including Classic, Sugar, Gothic and Punk. And though each look varies depending on the wearer, at its core, there are similarities: A knee length, hoop-like dress or skirt acts as a base, which is often adorned with petticoats, corsets, blouses, knee-high socks or stockings, and headdresses. But as with all fashion, dress is open to personal influence; this is mainly just a common undercurrent.
An example of Gothic Lolita street fashion.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
When it comes to Lolita subcultures, the Morikami’s costume contest will focus on Sweet, Classic and Kodona under the Sugar category; and Gothic and Punk within the Spice category:
- As the name implies, Classic Lolita follows pretty closely to its Victorian roots, with a more mature style, classic a-lines and muted colors.
- Sweet Lolita plays off the classic troupes, while bringing in a dose of fantasy. Bright colors and a childlike motif are the norm, while themes of baby animals, candy and fairytales are common throughout the look. As for accessories, large bows, purses, stuffed animals and parasols are common—all with a hint of pink and pastels, of course.
- Kodona is a more masculine version of Lolita, opting for “Prince pants” (essentially capri pants), masculine shirts, top hats and the like.
- Gothic Lolita (right) merges Goth fashion and Lolita sentiments for a moodier look. Dark colors, lace, bonnets and parasols are all common, while make-up tends to be darker though natural.
- Punk Lolita gives a little punk rock influence to the mix. For this look, lolitas are trading in much of the Victorian-inspired accessories for something with a little edge, donning boots or oxfords, screen-printed tees, and plaid just to name a few.
Breaking from the Victorian-inspired Lolita look, Decora is all about layers—lots and lots of layers. This version of street fashion piles on the accessories, from bows and berets on the wearers bangs, to bangles, baubles, and plastic necklaces and bracelets piled on the wrists and neck. And don’t forget leg warmers and knee socks, or that dental/medical mask decorated to the nines.
Photo courtesy of KyleCassidy/Wikimedia Commons
The Steampunk (right) category breaks from the Japanese street fashion genres, opting for the subgenre of science fiction that embraces the aesthetic and technology of steam-powered machinery from the 19th-century. For this look, expect open cogs and gears, metal and copper, top hats, waistcoats and tailcoats, corsets, gowns and petticoats.
The final category of the Hatsume Fashion Show takes on a Morikami theme with Roji-en. Using the Morikami’s six gardens, collectively named Roji-en: Garden of the Drops of Dew, as inspiration, fashion show contestants have been asked to create an original outfit that embraces the Roji-en aesthetic.