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Otakon
Otakon IMG 7202 (28373078394).jpg
Cosplayers at Otakon 2016
Status Active
Genre Anime, East Asian popular culture
Venue Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Location Washington, D.C.
Country United States
First held July 29, 1994; 26 years ago (1994-07-29)
Last held July 26, 2019; 2 years ago (2019-07-26)
Organizer Otakorp, Inc.
Filing status 501(c)(3)
Attendance 29,292 in 2018
Official website Otakon.com

Otakon ( OH-tə-kon) is an annual three-day anime convention held during July/August. From 1999 to 2016, it took place at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland's Inner Harbor district; in 2017, it moved to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The convention focuses on East Asian popular culture (primarily anime, manga, music, and cinema) and its fandom. The name is a portmanteau derived from convention and the Japanese word otaku.

Otakorp

Otakon is run by the Pennsylvania-based non-profit organization Otakorp, Inc. whose primary purpose "is to promote the appreciation of Asian culture, primarily through its media and entertainment".

Programming

Typical Otakon programming includes anime and live action East Asian films shown on big screens in multiple video rooms. Fan-produced content including fan-parodies and anime music videos (AMVs) are also shown. For several years, Otakon had a dedicated 35 mm film theater, but replaced it in 2008 with an HD theater to take advantage of the wider array of offerings in that format. Panels and workshops are held on subjects such as voice acting, how to draw manga, and Japanese culture. Industry professionals announce new acquisitions, and expert guests discuss or show tricks of their trade and field questions from the audience. Many panels and workshops are conducted by fans rather than pros (ex. Create a Comic Project). The convention also includes cosplay and a skit-based Masquerade show, which in the years before the convention moved to Washington D.C. had taken place inside the Royal Farms Arena.

History

Otakon 2020 was cancelled due to its venue, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, being converted to a field hospital to treat COVID-19 patients during the ongoing pandemic.

Event history

Dates Location Attendance (unique memberships) Guests Notes
July 29–31, 1994 Days Inn Penn State, State College, Pennsylvania 350 Robert DeJesus, Dave Fleming, Jei Fubler Harvey, Bill Mayo, Neil Nadelman, Steve Pearl, Lorraine Savage, Sue Shambaugh, and Jeff Thompson
September 1–4, 1995 Penn State Scanticon, State College, Pennsylvania 450 Steve Bennett, Robert DeJesus, Matt Greenfield, Teruo Kakuta, Trish Ledoux, Neil Nadelman, Toshio Okada, Steve Pearl, C. Scott Rider, Tomoko Saito, Lorraine Savage, Sue Shambaugh, Toren Smith, John Staton, Jeff Thompson, Adam Warren, and Robert Woodhead Otakon's first and only four day convention
August 9–11, 1996 Marriott's Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, Maryland 1,000 Steve Bennett, Robert DeJesus, Masaomi Kanzaki, Matt Lunsford, Neil Nadelman, Steve Pearl, Sue Shambaugh, Jeff Thompson, and Adam Warren
August 8–10, 1997 Marriott's Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, Maryland 1,750 Ippongi Bang, Kuni Kimura, Matt Lunsford, and Jan Scott-Frazier
August 7–9, 1998 Hyatt Regency-Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia 2,500 Hiroshi Aro, Juliet Cesario, Robert DeJesus, Tiffany Grant, Scott Houle, Shoji Kawamori, Kuni Kimura, Trish Ledoux, Stuart Levy, Matt Lunsford, Tristan MacAvery, Neil Nadelman, Lisa Ortiz, Steve Pearl, Jan Scott-Frazier, Scott Simpson, John Staton, Jeff Thompson, and Amanda Winn-Lee
July 2–4, 1999 Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Maryland 4,500 Steve Bennett, Chris Beveridge, Michael Brady, Robert DeJesus, Robert Fenelon, Crispin Freeman, Tiffany Grant, Amy Howard-Wilson, Mari Iijima, Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, Yoko Kanno, Kuni Kimura, Hiroyuki Kitakubo, Shin Kurokawa, Rachael Lillis, Neil Nadelman, Kazuto Nakazawa, Lisa Ortiz, Steve Pearl, Fred Perry, Fred Schodt, Jan Scott-Frazier, John Staton, Jeff Thompson, Adam Warren, and Shinichiro Watanabe
August 4–6, 2000 Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Maryland 7,500 Yoshitoshi ABe, Bôa, Steve Bennett, Chris Beveridge, Mandy Bonhomme, Robert Fenelon, Michael Granberry, Shinya Hasegawa, Scott Houle, Amy Howard-Wilson, Kunihiko Ikuhara, Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, Ian Kim, Neil Nadelman, Steve Pearl, Gilles Poitras, Hiroaki Sakurai, Jan Scott-Frazier, John Staton, Jeff Thompson, Yasuyuki Ueda, Adam Warren, Pamela Weidner, and Simon Yam
August 10–12, 2001 Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Maryland 10,275 Steve Bennett, Rodney "Largo" Caston, Jo Chen, Colleen Doran, Fred Gallagher, Tiffany Grant, Scott Houle, Toshihiro Kawamoto, Ian Kim, Shin Kurokawa, Masao Maruyama, Hikaru Midorikawa, Fred Perry, Gilles Poitras, Jan Scott-Frazier, Kazuya Tsurumaki, Adam Warren, and Pamela Weidner
July 26–28, 2002 Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Maryland 12,880 Steve Bennett, Chris Beveridge, Rodney "Largo" Caston, Fred Gallagher, Yoko Ishida, Wendee Lee, Masao Maruyama, Yutaka Minowa, Kiroyuki Morioka, Neil Nadelman, Yasuhiro Nightow, Fred Perry, TW Crew, Gilles Poitras, Tatsuo Sato, Jan Scott-Frazier, and Lianne Sentar
August 8–10, 2003 Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Maryland 17,338 Steve Bennett, Mandy Bonhomme, Johnny Yong Bosch, Justin Cook, Julie Davis, Robert DeJesus, Brian Drummond, Fred Gallagher, Scott Houle, Yoshiaki Iwasaki, Toshihiro Kawamoto, Itsuro Kawasaki, Tsukasa Kotobuki, Pontus Madsen, Masao Maruyama, Rica Matsumoto, Dr. Susan Napier, Satoshi Nishimura, Kristine Sa, Fred Schodt, Jan Scott-Frazier, T.M.Revolution, and Pamela Weidner Otakon's 10th anniversary
July 30 – August 1, 2004 Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Maryland 20,899 angela, Matt Boyd, Siu-Tung "Tony" Ching, Luci Christian, Koge Donbo*, Richard Epcar, Christian Fundin, Mohammad "Hawk" Haque, Chuck Huber, L'Arc-en-Ciel, Pontus Madsen, Ian McConville, Yutaka Minowa, Ichiro Okouch, Ananth Panagariya, Chris Patton, Monica Rial, Chris Sabat, Tatsuo Sato, Yuzo Sato, Lianne Sentar, and Matt Thorn
August 19–21, 2005 Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Maryland 22,000 Greg Ayres, Katie Bair, Matt Boyd, Brian Carroll, Luci Christian, Justin Cook, Richard Ian Cox, Huw "Lem" Davies, Ben Dunn, Christian Fundin, Fred Gallagher, Michael Gluck, Mohammad "Hawk" Haque, the Indigo, Yoshinori Kanemori, Kumiko Kato, Toshihiro Kawamoto, Dave Lister, Pontus Madsen, Masao Maruyama, Ian McConville, Mike McFarland, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Scott McNeil, Vic Mignogna, Mitsukazu Mihara, Seiji Mizushima, Ananth Panagariya, Fred Perry, Puffy AmiYumi, Scott Ramsoomair, Xero Reynolds, Monica Rial, Michelle Ruff, Michael "Mookie" Terracciano, and Toshifumi Yoshida Attendance was capped at 22,000; attendance cap was reached on Saturday, August 20.
August 4–6, 2006 Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Maryland 22,302 Christine Auten, Troy Baker, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Christian Fundin, Lisa Furukawa, Fred Gallagher, Caitlin Glass, Yoshiki Hayashi, Kate Higgins, Kouta Hirano, Hirotsugu Kawasaki, Ayako Kawasumi, Nana Kitade, Yuri Lowenthal, Pontus Madsen, Masao Maruyama, Mike McFarland, Mucc, Kazuto Nakazawa, Monica Rial, Antimere Robinson, Patrick Seitz, Makoto Tateno, and Nobuteru Yuuki Attendance was capped at 25,000; attendance cap was not reached.
July 20–22, 2007 Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Maryland 22,852 AAA, Morio Asaka, Steve Blum, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Aaron Dismuke, Eminence, Christian Fundin, Fred Gallagher, Caitlin Glass, Ryuhei Kitamura, Kenji Kodama, Pontus Madsen, Vic Mignogna, Maki Murakami, Mamiko Noto, Hitoshi Sakimoto, Tomokazu Seki, Stephanie Sheh, Mike Sinterniklaas, Michihiko Suwa, and Steve Yun
August 8–10, 2008 Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Maryland 26,262 Laura Bailey, Peter S. Beagle, DaizyStripper, Richard Epcar, Peter Fernandez, Taliesin Jaffe, JAM Project, Willow Johnson, Kyoko Kano, Mika Kano, Mela Lee, Yuri Lowenthal, MarBell, Masao Maruyama, Hiromi Matsushita, Tony Oliver, Tara Platt, Derek Stephen Prince, Mike Sinterniklaas, Ellyn Stern, Kazuko Tadano, the Underneath, and Kappei Yamaguchi
July 17–19, 2009 Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Maryland 26,586 Becca, Crispin Freeman, Kikuko Inoue, Noboru Ishiguro, Yukio Kikukawa, Masao Maruyama, Hidenori Matsubara, Mike McFarland, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, MELL, Misako Rocks!, Tony Oliver, Fred Schodt, Naomi Tamura, VAMPS, Kanon Wakeshima, Travis Willingham, and Yutaka Yamamoto
July 30-August 1, 2010 Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Maryland 29,274 Peter S. Beagle, Chris Bevins, Maile Flanagan, Scott Freeman, Todd Haberkorn, Clarine Harp, Yoshiki Hayashi, Naoto Hirooka, Home Made Kazoku, Amy Howard-Wilson, Masashi Ishihama, Jerry Jewell, Kanon, Hiroki Kikuta, Hiroshi Koujina, Masao Maruyama, Koji Masunari, Vic Mignogna, Yuji Mitsuya, Tomonori Ochikoshi, Takamasa Sakurai, Patrick Seitz, Stephanie Sheh, Shihori, Mike Sinterniklaas, Felipe Smith, Sugizo, J. Michael Tatum, The Yoshida Brothers, and Hiroaki Yura
July 29–31, 2011 Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Maryland 29,337 Peter S. Beagle, Johnny Yong Bosch, Chemistry, Eyeshine, Scott Freeman, Toshihiro Fukuoka, Orine Fukushima, Noboru Ishiguro, Atsuhiro Iwakami, Masumi Kano, Roland Kelts, Kylee, Cassandra Lee, Shelby Lindley, Masao Maruyama, Mitsuba, Kazuya Murata, Momoka Ohara, Tony Oliver, Lisa Ortiz, Masayuki Ozaki, Scott Sager, Takamasa Sakurai, DJ Saolilith, Akira Sasanuma, Patrick Seitz, Stephanie Sheh, Chiaki Shimogama, Makoto Shinkai, Bob Shirohata, Sixh., Synergy, J. Michael Tatum, Nobuo Uematsu, Cristina Vee, Tom Wayland, Mari Yoshida, and Hiroaki Yura
July 27–29, 2012 Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Maryland 30,785 Peter S. Beagle, Christine Marie Cabanos, Jason David Frank, Gashicon, Aya Hirano, Mikako Joho, Tetsuya Kakihara, Lauren Landa, Masao Maruyama, Yuuka Nanri, Trina Nishimura, Ai Nonaka, Brina Palencia, Shin Sasaki, Michael Sinterniklaas, J. Michael Tatum, Hidetaka Tenjin, Gen Urobuchi, VIXX, and Sarah Williams
August 9–11, 2013 Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Maryland 34,211 Shingo Adachi, Peter S. Beagle, Maile Flanagan, Crispin Freeman, Tsukasa Fushimi, Todd Haberkorn, Kyle Hebert, Home Made Kazoku, Chiaki Ishikawa, Hiroyuki Kanbe, Yoko Kanno, Tetsuya Kawakami, Roland Kelts, Kaoru Kurosaki, Masao Maruyama, Mike McFarland, Vic Mignogna, Kazuma Miki, Masayuki Ozaki, Takamasa Sakurai, Jad B. Saxton, Tomokazu Seki, Micah Solusod, Michihiko Suwa, T.M.Revolution, Yuzuru Tachikawa, Cristina Vee and, Shinichiro Watanabe Otakon's 20th anniversary
August 8–10, 2014 Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Maryland 33,929 Altima, Linda Ballantyne, Dante Basco, Peter S. Beagle, Christine Marie Cabanos, Robbie Daymond, Kelly Gneiting, Katie Griffin, Saori Hayami, Jiro Ishii, Shinichiro Kashiwada, Sunao Katabuchi, Carrie Keranen, Yusuke Kozaki, Wendee Lee, Masao Maruyama, Hidenori Matsubara, Erica Mendez, Tony Oliver, Stephanie Sheh, John Stocker, Ray Villard, David Vincent, Yama, Yoshiki, and Hiroaki Yura Attendance was capped at 35,000; attendance cap was not reached. First time in Otakon's history that an attendance decline occurred.
July 24–26, 2015 Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Maryland 26,877 Ei Aoki, Laura Bailey, Sandy Fox, Yuichiro Hayashi, Yasuaki Iwase, Seiji Kishi, Toru Kubo, Shizuka Kurosaki, Lauren Landa, Lex Lang, Masao Maruyama, Toshiyuki Nagano, Oreskaband, Bryce Papenbrook, Romi Park, Chris Sabat, Takamasa Sakurai, Sean Schemmel, Shinji Takamatsu, Kaiji Tang, J. Michael Tatum, Toshiyuki Toyonaga, Travis Willingham, Shuko Yokoyama, and Draft King Attendance was capped at 35,000; attendance cap was not reached. Second consecutive attendance decline recorded.
August 12–14, 2016 Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Maryland 29,113 Zach Aguilar, Kazuki Akane, Ilya Alekseyev, All Off, Ray Chase, Robbie Daymond, Aaron Dismuke, Shiro Dogu, Kasumi Fukagawa, Caitlin Glass, Kazuki Higashiji, Kenji Horikawa, Kuniko Kanawa, Yoshitaka Kawaguchi, Nobuhiro Kikuchi, Erik Scott Kimerer, Lauren Landa, Michael Liscio Jr., Yui Makino, Michi, Jason Charles Miller, Max Mittelman, Koji Morimoto, Sarah Natochenny, Muneki Ogasawara, Lisa Ortiz, Haven Paschall, Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld, Stephanie Sheh, Mike Sinterniklaas, Matt Stagmer, Sonny Strait, LeSean Thomas, Alexis Tipton, Shunsuke Wada, Kazutomi Yamamoto, and Yoshiki Last year Otakon was held in Baltimore. Attendance increased by 9.3% after two consecutive years of decreasing attendance.
August 11–13, 2017 Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C. 24,894 Ilya Alekseyev, Ei Aoki, Stella Chuu, Flow, Sandy Fox, Toshio Furukawa, Kyle Hebert, JAM Project, Shino Kakinuma, Kuniko Kanawa, Roland Kelts, Tetsuya Kinoshita, Tomoki Kyoda, Lex Lang, Masao Maruyama, Hidenori Matsubara, Takanori Matsuoka, Jamie McGonnigal, Vic Mignogna, Chris Niosi, Tony Oliver, Project BECK, Tyson Rinehart, Michelle Ruff, Frederik L. Schodt, Stephanie Sheh, Mike Sinterniklaas, The Slants, Matt Stagmer, Katsuyuki Sumizawa, T.M.Revolution, Hideyuki Tomioka, and Shimba Tsuchiya First year Otakon was held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Attendance decreased 14.4%.
August 10–12, 2018 Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington D.C. 28,116 Nobutoshi Canna, SungWon Cho, Kanetake Ebikawa, Todd Haberkorn, Shōji Kawamori, Hirokatsu Kihara, Cherami Leigh, Masaya Matsukaze, Erica Mendez, Phil Mizuno, PixelPantz (guests for Otakon's Matsuri event), Arnie Roth, Eric Roth, Naoko Tsutsumi, Nobuo Uematsu, Yoh Yoshinari Attendance rebounded almost to 2016's level, increasing by 13.14%
July 26–28, 2019 Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington D.C. 28,472 Steve Bennett, BRADIO, Jen Cohn, Ryoma Ebata, Richard Epcar, EyeQ, Makoto Furukawa, Tohru Furuya, Diana Garnet, Sayuri Hara, Erika Harlacher, Shoichi Hotta, Hiroyuki Imaishi, Kikuko Inoue, Manaka Iwami, Hirokatsu Kihara, Chikahiro Kobayashi, Shigeto Koyama, Yoshiaki Kyougoku, E. Jason Liebrecht, Marcus D, Masao Maruyama, Elizabeth Maxwell, Minmi, Hiroshi Nagahama, Atsushi Nakayama, nano, Stephanie Panisello, Eric Roth, Jez Roth, Nobunaga Shimazaki, Shing02, Ellyn Stern, Substantial, Michihiko Suwa, Taku Takahashi, Kirk Thornton, Kaoru Wada, Kari Wahlgren, Hiromi Wakabayashi, Naoki Yoshibe and Yoshihiro Watanabe
August 6–8, 2021 Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington D.C. Alexander Aniel, Harumi Fujita, Manami Matsumae, HELLCATPUNKS, Takahiro Izutani, Laura Post, SPARK SPEAKER

Locations

Otakon Visit Baltimore Award 2011
Otakon 2011 Visit Baltimore "Customer of the Year" Award

The first Otakon was held at a Days Inn in State College, Pennsylvania in 1994; 350 people attended.

Baltimore

From 1999 to 2016, Otakon was held at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland. In 2011, the Baltimore city tourism agency, Visit Baltimore, gave Otakon a "Customer of the Year" award for "demonstrat[ing] ongoing commitment to Baltimore, bringing more than 27,000 attendees to the city every year, a much-anticipated event by the local community and media". Otakon has been a top convention for Baltimore since 2003. Otakon 2009 had an economic impact of $12.5 million in direct spending and booked over 4,500 hotel rooms. According to the Baltimore Business Journal on December 10, 2010, Otakon 2010 had 4,575 booked hotel rooms and an estimated economic impact of $15.3 million, up from $12.5 million the year before; in particular it had significant impact on food vendors.

Washington, DC

Beginning in 2017, Otakon moved to Washington, DC, to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Las Vegas

From 2014 to 2018, a spin-off convention also run by Otakorp had been held in January at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. In 2018, shortly after the end of Otakon Vegas 2018, Otakorp, Inc. announced on the Otakon Vegas website that Otakon Vegas was going on hiatus for an undetermined amount of time and that Otakon Vegas 2018 would be the last Otakon Vegas held. Otakorp, Inc. described Otakon Vegas as being an "experiment" and stated that they were "taking some time to examine the results of this experiment, to rethink and reorganize the show logistics, and to determine how best to bring the show forward." They left the door open for a future Otakon Vegas by concluding that they "hope to return to Vegas in the future.""


Coordinates: 39°17′07″N 76°37′02″W / 39.28538°N 76.61734°W / 39.28538; -76.61734

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