What does our exhibition centre have in common with Düsseldorf’s Immermannstraße and Nordpark? They are all hotspots for Japanese pop culture. Germany’s biggest Anime and Japan Expo, DoKomi, has already been hosted here for 15 years. Its anniversary edition attracted more than 150,000 Anime, Manga and Cosplay fans in early July – twice as many as in the previous year. Let’s have a look at why Düsseldorf provides the perfect setting for the Anime and Japan Expo and why it is in such good hands at our premises.
Japanese culture is omnipresent in Düsseldorf and enriches urban life with authentic restaurants, stores and cultural institutions. There’s a reason why the metropolis on the Rhine is also known as Little Tokyo. As a company passionate about exchange and networking, we are happy to contribute to promoting intercultural dialogue and rooting the connection to Japan even more strongly in the region.
Our subsidiary Düsseldorf Congress, for example, annually hosts DoKomi, which has grown into what is Germany’s biggest convention revolving around Japanese pop culture since its first edition. Featuring Manga, Anime and Cosplay through to music, gaming, fashion and traditional Japanese arts and culture – its wide and varied ranges presented from 30 June to 2 July brought more visitors to Düsseldorf than ever before. And well over 100,000 square metres offered them sufficient space for the varied array of activities and events at DoKomi 2023.
A breath-taking weekend filled with Japanese influences
The Anime Convention spread over the entire CCD Congress Center Düsseldorf (CCD), six exhibition halls and an outdoor area in the inner exhibition centre – conditions nothing short of ideal for the Anime and Japan Expo as Andreas Degen explains:
“When we got started in 2009 with 1,800 visitors at a school, we would never have imagined filling such a large venue. Then, as we grew bigger and bigger, first the CCD was recommended to us and a little later the next big leap took us to the neighbouring exhibition halls.”
Andreas Degen and Benjamin Schulte quickly came to appreciate the advantages of Messe Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre: spacious halls, multifunctional rooms, modern infrastructure – and Düsseldorf Congress’ event expertise.
“This allows us to meet the needs of different interest groups and create an interactive experience for our guests,” adds Benjamin Schulte. “We especially appreciate the easy accessibility of the premises. Thanks to the good local transport connections travelling to DoKomi is a piece of cake. This allows us to attract a diverse audience from around the world.”
Successfully so: boasting 150,000 visitors, this year’s edition is twice as big as in 2022. In just 15 years, DoKomi has established itself as Germany’s leading event in the Anime community. The founders have achieved this by actively involving the fan community in the design of the event to this day.
“The idea for DoKomi was born out of our passion for Anime and Manga. It thrives on the fact that it is an event by fans for fans,” reports Andreas Degen.
“We feel this spirit because everyone involved puts a lot of heart and soul into the project: not only our permanent team including volunteers, but also the participants contribute the content for DoKomi.”
This is also reflected by DoKomi’s ticketing system, which works on the principle of pay what you want:
“Everyone is allowed to decide for themselves in the online advance sale how much they want to pay for admission and what they want to see to make DoKomi even hipper. This active participation enables us to respond very specifically to the ideas of our audience and thus grow DoKomi bigger and bigger. It is, of course, also good to know that even the Deutsch-Japanische Gesellschaft am Niederrhein e.V., the City of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Congress and Messe Düsseldorf always back us up and enjoy the project.“
Interactive Japan Expo with spectacular stage entertainment
DoKomi’s side events thrilled visitors with spectacular shows, live concerts and performances, for instance on the huge Black Stage in Hall 9. Workshops taught language or drawing skills, while authentic Japanese karaoke featured Japanese Anime intros, German adaptations and pop music on the playlist. Other interactive highlights such as Cosplay competitions, dance workshops or character auctions for a good cause also provided variety, with the latter event raising the considerable amount of 14.400 euros for Tiernotruf e.V. Düsseldorf. At the DoKomi Gaming Festival 2023, visitors could test new games, take part in eSport tournaments, compete in the community tournament area and relive nostalgic memories in the Retro-Arcade.
Anime Convention as a creative centre for Japanese pop culture in Germany
In Hall 1 visitors found everything their hearts desire: soft toys, collectible figures and cards, posters or stickers. The Illustrators’ Alley with over 750 artists also proved a magnet for the Manga and Anime fans. Here they had the chance to meet their idols, exchange ideas and get autographs. In the Fashion Area, young designers presented their Harajuku, Lolita, Visual Kei and J-Fashion collections and accessories.
”DoKomi is in exactly the right place in Düsseldorf”
All in all, DoKomi was an unforgettable experience for all the senses, thereby strengthening the bond between Düsseldorf and Japanese culture. Benjamin Schulte gets to the heart of the matter:
“We consider it our task to bring Germany and Japan a little closer together. DoKomi also serves as a door opener to Japanese culture. Many participants were introduced to Japan through Anime and Manga, want to get to know the people, learn the language and travel there.”
That’s why the founders see DoKomi as a lively celebration of Japanese culture, Anime, Manga and Cosplay perfectly placed in Düsseldorf. “Japan has a tradition here and the local Japanese community is huge,” says Andreas Degen and adds: “But it’s not just this that made Düsseldorf the best location for DoKomi but also because there are many supporters for our cause – starting with the City of Düsseldorf. This welcoming hospitality fits perfectly with DoKomi and its colourful, cheerful audience.”
We could not have put it any better. Which is why we conclude with a big thank you for organising such a multi-faceted and influential event as well as for the always productive, trusting cooperation with all parties involved. What was your highlight at DoKomi 2023?