In Japan, Spring is a time of new beginnings. With the end of a cold winter, the start of a new school year, cherry blossom festivals, and more, Spring is a time to start anew.
Naka-Kon has seen many changes over the years, allowing us to evolve and grow in our fifteen years of existence. Some long time members of our community might remember that we started out as a small tabling event held by the University of Kansas Anime Club. In the last five years alone, Naka-Kon has become a 501(c)3 non-profit, joined the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce, established a scholarship for local residents in Japanese studies, and brought in over 10,000 attendees for a whirlwind weekend. Much like Spring, Naka-Kon is springing into a new year, and a new beginning.
With this in mind, Naka-Kon is pleased today to announce the convention theme for 2019.
Naka-Kon: 青春 -aoharu- in bloom.
Aoharu combines combine the kanji “ao”, which means blue, and “haru,” which means Spring. It can be a hard word to directly translate, as it can have many meanings or different sentiments behind the words. The most common is youth. It’s the period where a person will be filled with hope, energy, and dreams for the future, and will experience lots of growth. It’s commonly associated, also, with our younger years, the Springtime of our lives.
Another reading of the word, seishun, is commonly associated with romance in anime and manga, but can be associated with other topics and genres of Japanese pop culture as well.
In the coming weeks, look forward to learning more about aoharu and it’s meanings, as well as discussions of the Japanese language, and places where you might find aoharu in pop culture.
Not only that, look forward to changes in how Naka-Kon interacts with you, including more community events and opportunities to learn more about the convention. Naka-Kon is experiencing growth and change, and we hope you’ll join us as we do.