Comic Con Okinawa: uniting people through pop culture

Base Info
Cosplayers wait to be evaluated October 15 during the cosplay contest at Comic Con on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan.  (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Brittany A. James / Released)
Cosplayers wait to be evaluated October 15 during the cosplay contest at Comic Con on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Brittany A. James / Released)

Comic Con Okinawa: uniting people through pop culture

by: Cpl. Brittany A. James | .
U.S. Marine Corps | .
published: October 28, 2016

CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan -- Members of the Status of Forces Agreement community and Okinawa residents gathered to attend Comic Con Okinawa Oct. 15 on Camp Foster.

Comic Con is an annual event that takes place for comic book connoisseurs, video gamers, movie fans and artists across the island to unite and bond with each other through their passions and interests.

“Comic Con is a culmination of different interests under one roof,” said Sgt. Josh Johnston, a motor transport mechanic with 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, and an attendee of Comic Con.

“It is amazing seeing everyone come together from different parts of the island having fun together and geeking out over the displays and costumes.”

Comic Con featured events such as: Pokémon tournaments, video game showdowns, cosplay and art contests, panel discussions and meet and greets with guest artists and voice actors.

“The planning for this event has been in the works since February,” said Henry Ortega, art director of Marine Corps Community Services marketing. “It is amazing to see everyone’s work and planning come to life. We could not have done it without everyone’s support of MCCS programs, and this is our way of giving back.”

The event concluded with a cosplay contest, where more than 25 attendees showcased their costumes by performing skits on stage in front of a panel of guest judges.

The contest featured participants dressed as characters from video games such as Kingdom Hearts, Fallout and Super Mario. There were also characters from movies and shows such as Harry Potter and My Neighbor Totoro. Many of the participants’ costumes were made by hand.

“The art of pop culture speaks volumes without saying much,” said Ortega, a New York City native. “It transcends all languages, and today is a tremendous example of that.”