Jason Yadao is an author and journalist who covered many of the developments of anime and manga culture in Hawai‘i over the past decade. From 2005 to 2011, he authored the weekly anime and manga themed column “Cel Shaded” in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Yadao is also the author of The Rough Guide to Manga, 2009.
Around the early to mid 2000s, three things got me into the anime and manga scene as well as marked the development of the scene itself. The first was the growing popularity of DVDs and Blockbuster which started to carry anime. The second was the release of Tokyo Pop’s “100% Manga” which presented translated manga in its original right-to-left format. Manga started to populate major booksellers like Borders and Waldenbooks. The third would be the start of the annual Kawaii Kon Anime Convention and Conference in 2005. It became a key jumping off point to meet other people to share in their fandom.
I think the most unique thing about Hawai‘i fandom is that we’re the gateway to Japan. We get a lot more Japanese influence compared to any other state, it’s built into the culture. We have all these cultural festivals, and events of which people are very accepting. On the other hand it’s a self-contained community that has limited resources. I feel sad for the people who don’t venture out of state as I’ve been to a lot of conventions on the mainland and they’re so vibrant and much larger, I wish there were more opportunities for Hawai‘i fans.
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