Content - 10,000 Japan fans to make pilgrimage to Davos

  • April 14, 2017

10,000 Japan fans to make pilgrimage to Davos

Tokyo (SCCIJ) – Geisha and legendary monsters, high-tech and crazy fashion trends, brightly-colored manga worlds, sumo wrestlers and Japanese cuisine: The Swiss city Davos which is globally known for its annual World Economic Forum meeting will be under the influence of Japan at the 17th JapAniManga Night from 26 to 28 May. The festival name is a combination of the words Japan, anime and manga. Since it was set up 15 years ago, the event has become the most important meeting place for fans of Japanese subculture in Switzerland. Around 10,000 visitors are expected to come and immerse themselves in Japanese culture.

JapAniManga Night in Davos

Japan, anime, manga, night

A packed program with samurai demonstrations, Tokyo DJs, a “Japanese music night”, fantasy elements and a marquee village with many attractions are waiting for the visitors of this year’s JapAniManga Night. “Our priority is to give visitors an authentic experience. Many artists will be coming from Japan to Davos specifically for this event,” explains Lukas Zuberbühler, festival organizer and pioneer of the Japan fan world in Switzerland. Even the barrel of rice wine which is traditionally opened at the start of the festival, would be flown in directly from Japan. "We want the best sake - without preservatives," says Zuberbühler.

“Japan boom” in Switzerland

The "JapAniManga Night" has become the major meeting place for Swiss fans of Japanese subculture since its founding 15 years ago. "We want to maintain this role also in the future," says Zuberbühler. He has observed a real “Japan boom” in Switzerland since several years. "Thus, the festival is once again bigger and more versatile," states the 33-year-old event planner. With the Davos Congress Center, where also the World Economic Forum takes place, as well as the adjoining Kurpark, the perfect locations for such a big crowd were found. Fans can expect that the Japan festival will continue to stay in Davos also in the coming years, he says.  

The origins of the JapAniManga Night go back to regular meetings of Swiss manga and anime fans in the restaurant of the railway station of Nänikon-Greifensee. The teenagers met to discuss Japanese manga books and watch Japanese animated films. Festival founder Zuberbühler was among them. He does not look like a stereotypical Japan nerd but more like the employee of a Swiss bank. In fact, he worked for a large Swiss bank for more than ten years before he could make a living by organizing the Japan festival.

JapAniManga Night festival founder Lukas Zuberbühler with festival visitors (click to enlarge)

JapAniManga Night festival founder Lukas Zuberbühler with festival visitors (click to enlarge)

Chief pirate as job title

On his JapAniManga Night business card, his role is described as “Chief pirate”. “This is not because I am a fan of the anime series ‘One Piece’, but because I love adventure and a title like CEO does not tell very much”, he told Redbull Switzerland two years ago. His enthusiasm for Japan began during his childhood when he encountered the anime series “Neon Genesis Evangelion”. Later he was fascinated by traditional Japanese craftsmanship. He founded the festival with friends in 2002 in Winterthur where the JapAniManga Night stayed until 2014. It finally outgrew the city so the location had to be changed to Davos in 2015.     


Text: Martin Fritz for SCCIJ; Photo (Top): Davos Tourism; Photo (below): Red Bull Switzerland

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