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Friday, April 27, 2012

Fans experience the Web in real time at party


By MAAYA KONAGAI
Staff writer

From Justin Bieber to Lana Del Rey, it seems the way to stardom now is via online video-sharing sites such as YouTube.

Nico Nico Douga is Japan's choice for video sharing. But it's more than just cat videos — the site, operated by Niwango, has worked to become influential in other facets of pop culture. This weekend the Web station will host a festival.

Niwango has changed their way of holding all-company meetings to comprise live events with an entertainment focus. The daytime portion of this year's "meeting" is called Nico Nico Cho Kaigi. Visitors will be able to partake in cosplay (costume play) at the event, but there will also be science- and design-themed booths. Organizers say various Nico Nico Douga personalities will be on hand, and at the Nico Nico News booth, there will be a live debate. Economy and Trade Minister Yukio Edano is set to discuss how Japanese culture should be exported overseas with journalists Yoshiko Ikoma and Daisuke Tsuda.

The night portion of the event promises to be a party with artists from Nico Nico Douga taking part in a concert alongside musicians such as Yoko Takahashi, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and JAM project. Unfortunately, tickets for this Nico Nico Cho Party are already sold out, but net-tickets will allow people to watch the party online.

If the United States is a melting pot of cultures, Nico Nico Douga could be considered a melting pot of enthusiasts. For now it gives everyone a chance to experience what's on the screen in a reality that's not virtual.

Nico Nico Cho Kaigi takes place at Makuhari Messe in Chiba on April 28 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and April 29 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Tickets are ¥1,000 in advance. Nico Nico Cho Party takes place at Makuhari Messe on April 28 (5:30 p.m.) and April 29 (4 p.m.). Only net tickets are available. For more information, visit www.chokaigi.jp.


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