Japanese pop culture fans gather at a festival in Havana

HAVANA, Sept. 10th Insularity is the only common feature that Cuba and Japan seem to share, a distance that does not discourage the hundreds of Cuban “otakus”, Japanese manga and anime fans, gathered last weekend in Havana to celebrate the culture of a Exotic country who dream of knowing.

The old colonial fortress San Carlos de la Cabaña, temporary home of the community “friki” habanera, gathered a motley crowd that did not see preferences or ages, and even accepted those who left the script and decided to proclaim loyalty to American sagas as ” Game of Thrones “and the” Star Wars “.

Role-playing games, workshops on videogames, drawing areas, karaoke, meetings with Cuban “youtubers” and a spontaneous catwalk of costumes delighted the hundreds of attendees of the 5th Cuban Otaku Festival, more modest than its international counterparts but “that goes growing little by little. “

“At first only two or three came, but now this has been filled,” says Danela, a 24-year-old from Havana who in her spare time investigates Japanese dances and customs, and is now one of the organizers of a dedicated space to the traditional culture of the Asian country within the event. Like most of his colleagues, Danela’s “passion” for Japan began seeing the series and animated films broadcast on Cuban state television: he was fascinated by “The Spirited Away” by the legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki.

“This (the Festival) we do ourselves, with what we have, but yes, it has been growing and more and more people are coming in. The anime has served to ignite the curiosity, which already extends to other parts of the culture” , Explain.

Danela, together with her friend Aitana, founded a Japanese dance group two years ago, for which they research on the internet, prepare the choreography and sew the clothes themselves. “It’s really hot, but I love it,” says Ana, 16, as she points to a yukata with yellow, white and blue flowers on a blue-green background made by Danela.