Sakura-Con in 2006
|Genre||Anime, Manga, Gaming|
|Venue||Washington State Convention Center|
|Attendance||23,000 (est) in 2016|
|Organized by||Asia-Northwest Cultural Education Association (ANCEA)|
Sakura-Con is an annual three-day anime convention held during March or April at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, Washington. The convention, which is traditionally held over Easter weekend, is the largest anime convention in the Northwest and is the 9th largest North American anime convention as of 2016. It is organized by the volunteer Asia-Northwest Cultural Education Association (ANCEA).
The convention typically offers anime game shows, anime music video contest, art show, artist alley, dances/raves, collectible card gaming, cosplay chess, cosplay contest, exhibitors hall, fashion show, Japanese cultural arts and presentations (aikido demonstrations, kabuki performances, kendama play, kendo swordsmanship, taiko drumming, tea ceremonies), Japanese pop and rock concerts, karaoke, masquerade ball, panels, table top RPG gaming, video gaming (arcade, console, PC), 24-hour video theaters. The convention runs programming for 24 hours a day.
In 2002 the charity auction benefited the Make-A-Wish Foundation and raised $4,560. The 2010 charity auction also benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation raised $27,000. The convention before holding fundraisers at the 2012 event raised $90,000 for tsunami relief. The 2015 charity auction benefited the Make-A-Wish Foundation and raised over $40,000. In 2016, a blood drive was held for Bloodworks Northwest.
Sakura-Con's roots are from within the local science fiction convention community. A number of anime fans who had decided that there was not enough anime content represented at conventions such as Norwescon, hatched the plan for an anime convention in a Tacoma, Washington comic book shop. Originally named Baka!-Con, (baka or ばか is Japanese for idiot,) the first convention was held at the Double Tree Inn in Tukwila, Washington in 1998. In 2000, Baka!-Con changed its name to Sakura-Con, (sakura or 桜 (alternately: さくら) is Japanese for cherry blossom).
In 2002 the convention utilized 70 percent of the convention space at the Seattle Airport Hilton & Conference Center along with having county representatives and the local Japanese Consulate General speak at opening ceremonies. Several guests canceled appearances in 2003, Yoko Ishida and Maria Yamamoto due to Pioneer company policy on traveling during international strife, and Akitaro Daichi and Atsushi Okuda. The 2004 convention had a warm body attendance cap of 4,500 people. In 2005 Sakura-Con had to limit its attendance to 5,100 and turned people away, resulting in the convention's move to the Washington State Convention & Trade Center.
The event ran for over 55 hours in 2007 and had 1,200 hours of programming, with only about half the attendees being from the Seattle area. Tatsunori Konno, the CEO of Bandai Visual USA, was heavily questioned about the company's pricing polices during their 2007 panel. In 2009 the event included five concerts, three dances, a large gaming area, seven theaters, and over 1,000 hours of programming. Registration line waits of three hours or more occurred due to the convention's growth. Sakura-Con in 2009 brought an estimated $13 million to the Seattle economy.
The convention covered six floors in 2010 and included six gaming rooms, seven panel rooms, and five video rooms. At the opening ceremonies a wedding proposal occurred between two staff members. The Dazzle Vision and High and Mighty Color concert had over 4,000 attendees. Exist Trace's concert in 2011 drew over 3,000 attendees. Before the 2012 convention around 12,000 attendees pre-registered. Sakura-Con 2013 had the second largest impact of area conventions, adding $19 million to the local economy. During the 2014 convention a cosplayer was held up at the nearby Freeway Park.
|April 24–26, 1998||Double Tree Inn
|313||Tony Butler, Bruce Duffy, Dr. Antonia Levi, Stu Levy, Sam Liebowietz, Neil Nadelman, and Ron Scovil.|
|April 23–25, 1999||Double Tree Inn
|553||Yushin Daiko, Tiffany Grant, Tristan MacAvery, and Stan Sakai.|
|March 31 – April 2, 2000||Double Tree Inn
|866||Yushin Daiko, Sandy Fox, Tiffany Grant, Lex Lang, Dr. Antonia Levi, Tristan MacAvery, Doug Smith, and Taka Koto Ensemble.|
|April 27–29, 2001||Holiday Inn and Convention Center
|1,519||Steve Bennett, Hiroki Hayashi, Mitsutaka Iguchi, Pamela Lauer, Dr. Antonia Levi, Mary Ohno & The Kabuki Academy, Lorraine Reyes, Lia Sargent, and Taka Koto Ensemble.|
|April 26–28, 2002||Seattle Airport Hilton & Conference Center
|2,328||Johnny Yong Bosch, Jessica Calvello, Pamela Lauer, Dr. Antonia Levi, Hiroshi Nagahama, Norio Shioyama, Tsunami Taiko, and Masakazu Yonemura.|
|April 4–6, 2003||Seattle Airport Hilton & Conference Center
|3,023||Fred Gallagher, Hilary Haag, Yukio Kikukawa, Hiroshi Nagahama, Michelle Ruff, Susumu Sakurai, Hidakazu Shimamura, and Yoshinobu Yamakawa.|
|April 23–25, 2004||Seattle Airport Hilton &
Sea-Tac Marriott Hotel
|4,775||yoshitoshi ABe, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Akitaroh Daichi, Michael Dobson, Fred Gallagher, Jerry Holkins, Hiroki Kikuta, Mike Krahulik, Scott McNeil, Hiroshi Nagahama, Monica Rial, Kaeko Sakamoto, Run Sasaki, Eric P. Sherman, Hiroko "hiro" Shimabukuro, Yasuyuki Ueda, and Yoshihiko Umakoshi.|
|April 8–10, 2005||Seattle Airport Hilton &
Sea-Tac Marriott Hotel
|4,745||Angela, Tom Bateman, Greg Dean, Jerry Holkins, Kumiko Kato, Hiroki Kikuta, Mike Krahulik, Hiroshi Nagahama, Ikue Ohtani, Run Sasaki, Tatsuo Sato, Travis Willingham, and Tommy Yune.|
|March 24–26, 2006||Washington State Convention & Trade Center
|8,300||The 404s, Katie Bair, Ippongi Bang, Jessica Boone, Camino, Fred Gallagher, Michael Gluck, Jerry Holkins, Takanori Hoshino, Takahiro Kimura, Mike Krahulik, Hideyuki Kurata, Tony Oliver, Run Sasaki, Stephanie Sheh, Goro Taniguchi, David Vincent, and David L. Williams.|
|April 6–8, 2007||Washington State Convention & Trade Center
|11,000||A-Key Kyo, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Akitaroh Daichi, Michael Gluck, K.T. Gray, Shawn Handyside, Kouta Hirano, Jerry Holkins, Jeph Jacques, Kyle Jones, Jonathan Klein, Mike Krahulik, Hideyuki Kurata, Jason Liebrecht, LiN Clover, Sam Logan, Vic Mignogna, Move, Hiroshi Nagahama, Kaori Nazuka, Yasuhiro Nightow, Liam O'Brien, Monica Rial, Rooster Teeth Productions, Carrie Savage, Sumi Shimamoto, Doug Smith, Spike Spencer, John Swasey, and Toshifumi Yoshida.|
|March 28–30, 2008||Washington State Convention & Trade Center
|13,600||Ali Project, J.L. Anderson, Robby Bevard, Caitlin Glass, Brandon Graham, Todd Haberkorn, Wes Hartman, Jerry Holkins, Yutaka Izubuchi, Yuna Kagesaki, Toshihiro Kawamoto, Roland Kelts, ketchup mania, Hiroki Kikuta, Mike Krahulik, M. Alice LeGrow, Vic Mignogna, Jake Myler, Hiroshi Nagahama, Joshua Ortega, Brina Palencia, Derek Stephen Prince, Scandal, Yuji Shiozaki, The Slants, and Nobuteru Yuuki.|
|April 10–12, 2009||Washington State Convention & Trade Center
|16,586||yoshitoshi ABe, Leah Clark, Greg Dean, Aaron Dismuke, Peter Fernandez, Girugamesh, Todd Haberkorn, Shawn Handyside, Hangry & Angry, Jerry Holkins, Roland Kelts, Jonathan Klein, Mike Krahulik, Joel McDonald, Myuji, Sasaki Nozomu, Hideo Okamoto, Wendy Powell, The Slants, Smile.dk, Soul Candy, David Stanworth, J. Michael Tatum, and Kappei Yamaguchi.|
|April 2–4, 2010||Washington State Convention & Trade Center
|18,002||Troy Baker, Luci Christian, Dazzle Vision, Richard Epcar, Todd Haberkorn, High and Mighty Color, Ryo Horikawa, The Hsu-nami, Yasuhiro Imagawa, Noizi Ito, Mai Kadowaki, Vic Mignogna, Yutaka Minowa, Lika Morinaga, Satoshi Nishimura, Tsuyoshi Nonaka, Brina Palencia, Chris Patton, Wendy Powell, Soul Candy, Kent Williams, and Takahiro Yoshimatsu.|
|April 22–24, 2011||Washington State Convention & Trade Center
|19,040||6%Dokidoki, Berryz Kobo, Chris Bevins, DJ Blade, Chris Cason, Jo Chen, Cynthia Cranz, Exist Trace, Tiffany Grant, Clarine Harp, Roland Kelts, Kotono Mitsuishi, Daisuke Moriyama, Cassandra Lee, Tony Oliver, Wendy Powell, DJ Rize, DJ Saiyan, Stephanie Sheh, Mike Sinterniklaas, Sixh., Spunk Da Bunny, Atsushi Suzumi, Jason Thompson, Cristina Vee, and Vofan.|
|April 6–8, 2012||Washington State Convention & Trade Center
|21,457||Steven Blum, Leah Clark, Todd Haberkorn, Clarine Harp, Naoto Hirooka, Atsuhiro Iwakami, Fumiko Kawamura, Jonathan Klein, Reuben Langdon, Jamie Marchi, Yutaka Minowa, Katsushi Ota, Chris Sabat, Stereopony, Michihiko Suwa, Retsu Tateo, Gen Urobuchi, Kanon Wakeshima, Kawajiri Yoshiaki, and Zekkyō.|
|March 29–31, 2013||Washington State Convention & Trade Center
|21,000 (est)||Eir Aoi, Ayumi Fujimura, Gashicon, Luna Haruna, Atsuko Ishizuka, Reki Kawahara, Toshihiro Kawamoto, Vic Mignogna, Katsuyuki Motohiro, Bryce Papenbrook, Stephanie Sheh, Naoyoshi Shiotani, John Swasey, and Joji Wada.|
|April 18–20, 2014||Washington State Convention & Trade Center
|23,103||Shingo Adachi, Toshifumi Akai, Kyoji Asano, Leah Clark, Elisa, Todd Haberkorn, Chuck Huber, Yui Ishikawa, Tomohiko Ito, Erik Scott Kimerer, Tetsuya Kinoshita, Mami Koyama, Maki, Koji Masunari, Erica Mendez, Matthew Mercer, Mint, Range Murata, Hiroshi Nagahama, Tetsuya Nakatake, Koichi Ohata, RinRin, Shigehiko Sato, Patrick Seitz, and Christopher Smith.|
|April 3–5, 2015||Washington State Convention & Trade Center
|23,419||Masaki Asai (APSY), Chris Bevins, Johnny Yong Bosch, Kotomi Deai, GARNiDELiA, Naoto Hirooka, Arifumi Imai, Kanako Ito, Shinichiro Kashiwada, Hiromi Kato, Katsuhiko Kitada, Osamu Kobayashi, Kanako Kondo, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Vic Mignogna, Toshimichi Mori, Bryce Papenbrook, Rachel Robinson, Sumi Shimamoto, Haruka Terui, Kana Ueda, David Vincent, Makoto "Max" Watanabe.|
|March 25–27, 2016||Washington State Convention & Trade Center
|23,000 (est)||Aaron Dismuke, Kyle Hebert, Natalie Hoover, Chuck Huber, Masashi Ishihama, Shinichiro Kashiwada, Reki Kawahara, Toshihiro Kawamoto, Jonathan Klein, Shigeto Koyama, Reuben Langdon, Kazuma Miki, Ian Sinclair, Micah Solusod, J. Michael Tatum, Joji Wada, and Takahiro Yoshimatsu.|
|April 14–16, 2017||Washington State Convention Center
|Takanori Aki, Johnny Yong Bosch, Kira Buckland, Christine Marie Cabanos, Aaron Dismuke, Megan Emerick, Caitlin Glass, Todd Haberkorn, Natalie Hoover, Yasuhiro Irie, Chikashi Kubota, Erica Lindbeck, Erica Mendez, Matthew Mercer, Vic Mignogna, Hiroshi Nagahama, Chris Sabat, Patrick Seitz, Kenichi Sonoda, and Gen Urobuchi.|
The Asia-Northwest Cultural Education Association (Sakura-Con organizers) were given the Foreign Minister’s Award from Japan on May 30, 2012. The award was given at the residence of the Japanese Consul General Kiyokazu Ota.
Sakura-Con in 2013 returned to host the Anime Costume Contest at Dragon Fest 2013 in Seattle, Washington's Chinatown for the fourth time.
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