Japan to officially recognise the deep-rooted enthusiasm of Slovaks for Japanese pop culture

AnimeCrew has been organising comic-con events since the late eighties.

People wear costumes during the 12th international festival of pop culture AnimeSHOW 2019 in Bratislava.People wear costumes during the 12th international festival of pop culture AnimeSHOW 2019 in Bratislava. (Source: TASR)

It has been promoting Japanese culture through pop culture events for years, and the Slovak organisation AnimeCrew will now receive the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation for their work.

Though this year’s recipients were announced in late summer, AnimeCrew members will be awarded a certificate on November 25, at the Japanese Embassy.

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In 2021, the Commendations will be handed out to 177 individuals and 41 groups around the world to recognise their contributions to the promotion of friendship between Japan and other countries.

Pandemic impact on festivals

The Slovak organisation is only one of the two groups from Central Europe to become a recipient of the Foreign Minister’s Commendations this year. The latter is Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest.

AnimeCrew helps promote Asian cultures, including the culture of Japan, through international festivals such as Comics Salon and AnimeSHOW, which are the biggest of its kind in Slovakia. They have been held in the country since 1988, but the events were initially known as IstroCon.

In 2020, the festivals were severely hit due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, thanks to the Culture Ministry and a crowdfunding campaign, Comics Salon took place in Bratislava during one September 2021 weekend. AnimeSHOW is scheduled to be held in Bratislava in late March 2022.

Commendation for opera house

The Commendation for AnimeCrew comes seven years after the group received an award from then Japanese ambassador Akio Egawa. AnimeCrew was the first to receive the award.

Over the years, Japanese ambassadors have awarded several Slovaks and institutions for their promotion in understanding and supporting Japanese culture, including the State Opera House in Banská Bystrica in 2015 and the Slovak Shogi Association in 2019, which promotes Japanese chess among Slovaks.

The opera house in Banská Bystrica also received the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation in 2017 for the promotion of mutual understanding through music between Japan and Slovakia. Since 1999, singers from this opera house have performed in Japanese cities more than 180 times.

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