New People Grand Opening
The New People store opening was designed to showcase big names, interests and all other things that make Japanese pop culture so exciting.
Being someone that has been interested in Japanese culture, both traditional and popular, since, oh, the age of 15, this of course piqued my interest. I began to learn more about the store and the festivities planned around the opening including the first annual J-Pop Summit Festival and I knew then that I had to be there to see New People and the J-Pop Summit Festival for myself!
After 4 years of planning and $15 million dollars worth of investments, New People finally opened its doors to the public. New People is a 20,000 square foot building with 3 floors of fashion, art, books and food with a cinema located in the basement of the building all dedicated to what is more widely known here as J-Pop. It is located at 1746 Post Street in the heart of San Francisco's Japantown and is the brain child of founder and CEO of Viz Pictures Seiji Horibuchi.
Everything in the store is a work of art in itself with all three floors being laid out and artistically planned, even down to the furniture in the main lobby, so that it encapsulates the feelings and expressions of all things modern Japanese with just the right touch of Americana to create a stunning fusion of Japanese and American design. Even the bathrooms were designed to offer an experience!
The second floor of the building is where you will find the some of the hottest brands and unique fashions being offered in Harajuku now. Current brands being offered in the store include Baby the Stars Shine Bright, Alice and the Pirates, Black Peace Now, 6% Dokidoki and SouSou. And while most of these designers will be offered permanently, they do have plans to bring in others in the future.
The third floor of the building is where the art gallery happily named Superfrog is located. For opening day this art gallery hosted exclusive prints by none other than Yoshitaka Amano, the man behind the character art for the Final Fantasy Series. His current show called "Deva Loka" and was inspired by American Comics and automobiles. He used a combination of auto paint and metallic glitter in these pieces to accentuate the fusion of his inspirations. "Deva Loka" will only be showing until October 25th, so be sure to get out there to see it before it makes its way to Japan!
The basement of New People is where Viz Cinema can be found. This cinema is a fully loaded movie theatre and is dedicated strictly to showing the most popular films and anime movies that Japan has to offer. During the grand opening of New People and to round out the J-pop Summit Festival, it hosted the American premiere of 20th Century Boys. This film has been highly acclaimed around the world but this was its first showing in the US. It was a grand red carpet premiere complete with the heroine of the film, Takako Tokiwa (Yukiji Setoguchi) and the still unidentified "Friend" (if you don’t know who I’m talking about then you best be seeing the film, you will thank me later!) making an appearance and also giving a Q & A session before the screening of the film.
Other films that were shown this month include the last two films in the 20th Century Boys Trilogy, The Last Hope and Redemption. Redemption will also simultaneously open in Japan as well as Viz Cinema on August 28th and run through September.3rd. Bleach The Movie saw its first US showing on 8/18 at Viz. The cinema also hosted the official DVD Release of Death Note, L and Change the World, on 8/25! You can check out vizcinema.com for more information, future show listings and events.