Digital Exclusive: Behind Kawaii Kon 2021

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — One of Hawaii’s most popular conventions, Kawaii Kon is returning at the end of May.

However, this year will be much different than previous years, with both a digital and in-person convention planned.

The virtual event will be held from May 29 to May 30.

“If you have a Twitch account, you can log into there and follow our Kawaii Kon Twitch page. And then there you can actually chat and you can join in with the panels,” said Gina Maeda with Kawaii Kon.

For those that don’t have Twitch, she said there is also an option to watch the broadcast on the Kawaii Kon website. She said over the past year, virtual Kawaii Kon has been popular with those away from Hawaii.

“We had actually multiple stories of people who had moved away from Hawaii, and they just missed the community here they missed interacting with the people from home, and so having a virtual platform actually allowed them to reconnect with us, which was really really sweet,” said Maeda.

A big draw to the event always has been the local vendors, and that will also be online this year.

“So if you just go to the Kawaii Kon evently page you can scroll through all of the vendors that have registered with us, click on their shop and then scroll through their listings there, and then it would be shipped directly from that seller,” said Maeda.

Some of the panel guests for the virtual Kawaii Kon include, cosplayer Vivid Vision, Dog’s Bond board game and local art group Comic Jam Hawaii.

While preparations are being made for the virtual convention, Kawaii Kon is also working with the Hawaii Convention Center to create an in-person convention from Nov. 19 to Nov. 21. However, it will look a lot different and there may not be as many vendors or attendees as before.

“Back in 2019 with our last in person convention we had over 15,000 attendees. So as large as the Convention Center is, I think it would be a little difficult to have 15,000 attendees spaced, six feet apart, but we are doing our best to follow everyone’s guidelines,” said Maeda.

Maeda said along with social distancing, masks will be required at the event.

Though, she said there is still a lot of uncertainty when it comes to how the event will be carried out, like how the vendors will be set up and what the in-person panels will look like.

“The convention center has been really playing a key role in planning that out. And then just seeing what their recommendation is, I think it’s just been a lot of collaboration and back and forth right now,” said Maeda. “I think it’s just seeing where we land, as far as case numbers and positivity rate, as we get closer to November.”

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