If the massive success of Anisong World Matsuri is any indication, anisong and Japanese pop culture has definitely found a home in the US. Spread over two different shows, both nights were completely sold out bringing J-pop music to over 7000 attendees each night. One look out into the audience and you can immediately tell you were at a Japanese concert as thousands of fans enthusiastically waved their penlights.While glowsticks are nothing new to the States, leave it to Japan to take an idea to a whole different level. Rather than a sea of random colors being waved sporadically, Japan has birthed a concept titled, Wotagei.

walkure

Fans change their penlights to pink and red to welcome Walkure’s JUNNA and Minori Suzuki

Wotagei is a portmanteau of the words “wotaku” (similar to the more common “otaku” though used specifically to denote idol otaku) and “gei” for performance. Within Japanese pop culture wotagei has become a means for fans to express themselves as well as actively participate in the performance with their idols.  Whether its simply changing their penlights to match the color of their favorite performer or group, to elaborately choreographed waves of the penlight, you can find both and everything in between at any Japanese pop concert.

Traditionally, higher end penlights have been difficult for fans outside of Japan to attain. Usually one would have to take a trip to Japan, order online through a third party seller (which usually increases the cost drastically) or wait for a special event to sell some. One company has sought to expand outside of Asia to be the first to attack the growing American audience, hungry to step up their wotagei gear. Lumica was kind enough to take some time out from their hectic Anime Expo 2017 booth to talk to us about some of their products that they’re bringing to the States.

 

Jimmy Pham

Equal parts powerlifter, equal parts lover of all things j-idol related, a dash of gaming and anime, shake well with ice and pour into a large huggable body, finally garnish with YouTube content creation. Jimmy aka Swoletaku aims to bring Japanese pop culture to the masses.