Earlier this month, Manchester hosted the third Doki Doki Festival – an annual event celebrating both traditional and modern Japanese culture. “doki doki” is a Japanese phrase that refers to the sound of the heart beating, usually used in the context of someone’s heart beating fast when they’re near someone they have a crush on.
Traditionally, Doki Doki features talks, demonstrations, parades and other events showcasing manga, anime, fashion, martial arts, film, music, games and other aspects of Japanese culture, past and present, as well as retail stalls and artist stands.
For this year’s event, the charity nominated Aid For Japan as its charity of choice – and also invited the charity’s founder Akemi Solloway to speak at the festival.
With a stall for Aid For Japan arranged at the event, the charity had donation boxes, badges, flyers and leaflets as well as our team of volunteers ready to discuss aspects of the charity’s work with Doki Doki attendees.
Akemi is a regular guest at UK-based Japan culture events and is often called upon to speak about Japanese matters. As well as giving a talk about the charity, Akemi was also invited to take part in a panel answering questions from people interested in traveling to Japan. She also presented a special talk discussing Japanese history.
Meanwhile, Doki Doki’s activities brought the best of Japanese culture to Manchester. This included taiko drumming, martial arts display, shamisen player and tea ceremony. The event also featured screenings of Japanese films and anime titles, including Miss Hokusai. Music included Japanese pop outfit Budo Grape and enka singer Akari Mochizuki.
Doki Doki also featured a maid cafe (traditionally a cafe in which young Japanese girls dress up as maids serving Japanese food), a fashion show and a presentation of how to dress in a traditional kimono.
After the festival had closed, a special after-event party put together by the Doki Doki organisers in conjunction with Manchester University Japanimation Society.
Doki Doki provided an opportunity to introduce Aid For Japan to a new audience and also helped to raise awareness of its activities and goals. Hopefully the charity will get to make an appearance at many more events in 2017.
Aid For Japan expresses its grateful thanks to Doki Doki and its team of organisers. Thanks also to Manchester University Japanimation Society. Special thanks to Angela Shaffer for her continued help and assistance with Aid For Japan and also to Misato and Richard for their volunteering roles.
All photos by Angela Shaffer.