Participating J-MoF

My Participation at JMoF, the first Weekend Convention in Japan

How was the first convention that took place in a hotel?


The gathering picture

  This time, I participated in the first Japan Meeting of Furries (or J-MoF), the first Japanese furry convention which resided in a reserved hotel..

As explained in past articles, most of a convention took place in reserved-hotel, and usually continue throughout a weekend. Surprisingly, this kind of event never took place in Japan until J-MoF; usually a kemono convention only takes place in single-day, or multiple-days without convention center access during night time. Although I have participated several remarkable furry conventions in the United States, never had an opportunity to participate even single time in Japan. So this time, with full of excitement and expectation, I have associated with this unprecedented event. I would like to make a brief report about this unique convention and people who gathered.

Let's go to Hikone!

Beautiful sight of Mt. Fuji

 JMoF took place in a central city of Japan, Hikone in Shiga Prefecture, which known for Biwako, the largest freshwater lake in Japan, and Hiko-nyan, an adorable official mascot for the city of Hikone. It was six hours travel from Tokyo by car. The travel was enjoyable. Though we have experienced little snow, climate was nice and we were able to observe beautiful sight throughout the journey.

Don't know why, but ramen noodle in service center looks 
twice a tempting than regular one.

Arriving "Sun Route Hikone"

 JMoF took place at Sun Route Hikone, the business hotel only few minutes away from Hikone station. It's quite a convenient hotel in considering it is also a walking distance from Hikone Castle. I have noticed many participants sightseeing Hikone Castle in prior to the con. 

Unfortunately, I have not encountered Hikonyan the BOSS of cute little mascots known as Yuru-Kyara (lit. "A genial character") but I did see many many items including posters, flags, banners, plushies, books, CDs, etc... It was good enough for me to see how influential this character is to this city. Speaking of which, this city of Hikone located in such an ideal location. It is neither far nor close to Tokyo and Osaka--the two largest cities in Japan--and is best place to travel with a friend. It really makes you feel like as if you are on the journey of road-trip.

The event took place in spacious floor in the hotel.

J-MoF rings up the curtain

So the commemorating first JMoF has opening ceremony started on January 12th. Kurisuke, the organizer delivered a short message, and the first convention has started in Japan!

Let the convention begins!
The convention had taken place in the second and third floor in the hotel. On the third floor, which where most of the events took place, there were rooms and spaces to unite: "Konki Room" the event hall where photo shooting and opening ceremony takes place; JMoF official dealer's table; drawing section; and conversational lounge equivalent in "The Zoo."

The main floor of Konki.
At the photo shooting booth, there were professional photo-shooting instrument, camera, and printing devices, which made it possible to photo-shoot and print/laminate an image at the same time.

They'd printed photo picture/name card in a minute.
On the second floor, there were Headless Lounge which was--surprisingly--introduced in Japan for the first time, "Yachiyo Room" for a group photo, and a few other rooms for panels.

Events everywhere

 Like other convention, many events took place simultaneously

At "The Character Appealing Contest," fursuit makers were allowed to spend one minute explaining the enthusiasm for their own creation. Every participant uniquely appealed their effort and love toward their own character, and the room was filled with laughter.

"You have one minute!"

At the balloon picking up battle, fursuits and human, a red team and a white team mingled to cast a battle. Contrary to its fancy name, the battle was deployed in focus of "how to terminate opponent's balloons," and ended in a form of "vale tudo--anything allowed."

Balloon Picking Battles

It's more like a balloon popping instead of picking.

The winner was a white team which solemnly picking balloons throughout the game.


This is the Talk Show. Kurisuke, the chairman, and Danjyu-rou, a joker of Kemono community, talk and crack up the audience regarding various episodes from Kemono community. The program was broadcast on internet real-time; allowing people on the web to participate.

"Letter from listener"
On a Dealer's table, many official products were on sale including T-shirts, transparent portfolio, pin badge, tumbler, etc. Every single products were surprisingly high-quality.

Every single product is wicked high quality.
An upcoming event information is written on a white board aside..
Drawing section: People Drawing section. Many artists contribute to draw. A white sheet of paper was filled with unique and impressive artworks.

Many artists contributed.

Art result on first date. Magnificent!

This is the art sheet from the second day..

Beside that, there was a bulletin board where participants may write their schedule and messages.

Many message multiplies by itself.

The dance floor. I have always thought people in Japan are too shy to dance--I was wrong. Many fursuits and dancer join the floor one at a time, and enjoyed the fun time.

The dance floor.

Photo shooting: this time, the chief editor himself from Shiga-Hikone Shinbun, the local newspaper publisher has visited for media coverage. In addition, stuffs from Sun Route were so excited to spend time with us and posted about three articles on their blog.
The gathering photo of fursuits!
This is the newspaper which was released. You may read the online version from here.

Their blogs report with full of excitement[1] [2] [3]

Beside those, although we haven't taken photo unfortunately, Ham who has repeatedly visited furry convention outside Japan had conducted a panel regarding how to participate foreign conventions, Kurisuke conducted a panel sharing his travel experiences, and there were other fursuit creating panels too. Those panels are not only fun, but also very informative. I had the impression that they are not just imitating other furry convention but trying to explore their own uniqueness, and it is really seeming successful.

And then to the finale....
As a final event, many Kigurumi performers including Furry’s Act came up show the coolest performance! Their acting was cute and thrilling at same time!


Also, Sardyuon who participated Anthrocon2012 showed up too. I was able to watch his performance once again after seven month.

And now here is closing ceremony. Coursework played the ending roll movie, and concluded the two day event of JMoF. A round of applause did not stop.
Closing speech of Kurisuke

Short video made by JMoF.

The total participants of JMoF the first was hundred in total. In consideration of this is their first launched event, this must be the great success. Even I myself enjoyed too much…though I do not even own Kigurumi!

About People

I have always asked myself how it would be different participating a convention in Japan from participating one in the United States. I.e. would kemoners and furries enjoy a convention differently? I have always felt the atmosphere that difficult to be explained when I participate a convention in the United States. That is, the atmosphere of acceptance which makes you can think you are right to be furry and there is always a room for you; the atmosphere of acceptance that you can unlikely feel in a daily life. The key concept of the furry community in the United States could be extended to a single word, communication. In most of the cases, a furry convention mainly emphasizes on communication between furs, and I was always sceptic would it be same on the opposite side of the globe. And I will gladly admit that I was wrong. 

During JMoF, I have tried to talk to many people as much as possible by moving around one place to another, give a little greeting, and hand them a name card. It is just a simple sequence, but a circle of friends links and expands. Some were grouped and some were alone, but that did not matter much; when I speak out, the conversation grew livelier spontaneously.  

During the con, someone tweeted, “it's not fun being alone in the con,” but immediately after, people rushed to him, spend a while together, talked, and laughed. When he is about to leave, we all felt strange friendship in-between which made us sad to say goodbye. The simple line he wrote on the bulletin board saying, “JMoF was wicked fun!” made me really satisfied to be at this convention. There were many encounters and reunions, but I was able to talk with everyone without any wall in-between which I am feeling proud. There was one thing became clear after I participated this event: actually this is exactly what Uncle Kage once said tough—There is no border or barrier between to whom who like anthropomorphic figures. It was the first time for me to participate Japanese convention, but I was able to feel this fact strongly. Whether you are kemoner or furry, we share something common in depth after all. If you like anthropomorphic animal, we are all same at that stance. I recognized this fact once again, and left the convention filled with joy.

Kigurumi is so adorable!!!

So again, this was the first time participating furry related event outside the United States, but the atmosphere was almost same as what I usually feel in a furry convention held in the United States. Rather, since this was the first convention with the relatively tiny amount of participants, I was able to feel strong bondings between them. It really made me think everyone could be a friend of another. I am happy that I was able to participate this event with this particular timing since it could be difficult to feel same if population grow.

About Hikone.

In addition, I was able to observe healthy relationships between inside and outside of the community. The location of Hikone is perfect example. In past articles (though it is in Japanese), I repeatedly mentioned how furry society extends charity to others...which is something uncommon in Japan. This is not only morally admirable acts but also makes a good reason to conduct a convention and not making a furry convention ego trip for themselves. I have always wished to do something alike in Japan, but due to a cultural difference, such act is not widely accepted. But during this con, I was able to observe and determine how this convention is not self-contented.  

During the term of regional contribution, Hikone was the perfect location to conduct a convention. Hikone is one of the most historical and sightseeing spots known for Hikone Castle and Lake Biwa. Especially Hiko-nyan become explosively popular throughout whole nation—in that term, there is something we share in common.  

During the con, many people enjoyed the stay in this picturesque city: some went to Hikone Castle for sight seeing, some went to Lake Biwa with rental cycle, some enjoyed eating local Specialty product such as Oumi-beef and Red konjac, etc...  

So in a way, we did (although it could be relatively tiny) influenced regional economy. That is something that all participants should feel proud of. In any case, if JMoF continue to take place in Hikone, I am expecting even more regional events such as inviting Hiko-nyan ad so on! (Needless to say, at a level that both kemoners and non-kemmoner could enjoy though. However, in consideration of how hotel staffs enjoyed time with us and blog about the convention, maybe we are underestimating the potential.)


In a total, JMoF was such an enjoyable event. Every single event was fun, and I was able to spend good time with people.

Naturally, this is the first trial, and there were many things could be improved. (Like Anthrocon and FurtherConfusion) But as a first convention, every single staffs have them more than what they could do to make the event better. Especially, I was able to feel the enthusiasm and effort of staffs throughout the con including how they organized room, creating own products, time schedule, and so on. It was their effort to make this con possible. I would like to give them a round of applause.  

Lastly, I would like to point out how I am truly grateful to the hotel staff who allow Kigurumi to roam around in the hotel. I am certain this has been the first time ever they have asked hat request.  

Hotel staff from Sunroute Hikone are so generous and truly caring. I remember one of the hotel staff repeatedly stopped by and asked “should I bring some more water?” That is the kind of a service we all expect. I am also glad that they seemingly enjoyed this surreal event according to their blog.

So far, I have not yet received when and where JMoF going to take place in the next. But there is no doubt that this would be the end of it. We enjoy a convention in the United States; now Japanese people know how fun it is! There is no way we can stop them having fun time for sure…

See you in next event

<Photo by SCRA>

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