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July 24 - July 26, 2015
Baltimore Convention Center
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Home  //  Activities  //  Events: Thursday Matsuri
Events: Thursday Matsuri

Welcome one and all, otaku of all ages, to Otakon's Annual Matsuri!

Once again, we bring you an amazing show for you to kick off the Otakon weekend right, with music, games, awesome food, some of our local anime clubs and groups, even a Yukata contest, as well as a few surprises for all of our attendees, but best of all, it's free to attend! You don't even need your member badge. You can avoid the lines and come hang out with your friends and Otakon family at the Matsuri, then get your badge later, since we run the Matsuri from noon til 9PM.

The Otakon Matsuri will be held on Thursday, August 7th, 2014, at the Baltimore West Shore Park, down by the Inner Harbor and the Maryland Science Center, just a few blocks from the Baltimore Convention Center at the point marked on the linked map. We'll have staff and signage for everyone to get to the Matsuri, so keep an eye out for them.

Yukata Contest

The Yukata contest will be held at the Otakon Matsuri for attendees of all ages to compete in. Signups will be held at the Matsuri at the Otakon help booth. We will have spots for up to 35 contestants. The contestants will be judged on the following categories:

  • Autheticity (How traditional your Yukata is. Last year we had many contestants who had worn Kimono instead of Yukata, there is a difference, so make sure you do your research on the difference and ensure that you are wearing a Yukata);
  • Uniqueness (How much your Yukata is different than others, what makes your Yukata stand out among others);
  • and Presentation (How well you can show off your Yukata, and how well you can work the crowd while wearing it)
We'll have a panel of judges, some from our staff, some special guests that will be there, to judge all of your Yukata and present our winners with some awesome prizes.

2014 Performance Lineup

12:00PM - 12:45PMTribe One
1:00PM - 1:45PMAdam WarRock
2:00PM - 2:45PMYukata Contest
3:00PM - 4:15PMBenjamin Briggs
4:30PM - 5:30PMSumo Demonstration
7:15PM - 8:30PMPeelander-Z



Featuring Sumo Champions Kelly and Yama


Think sumo is just big dudes in loincloths? Broaden your cultural horizons and witness the powerful athletes of USA SUMO in action! Otakon Matsuri will feature real live sumo matches as well as educational demonstrations. There's even a bit of audience participation.

Kelly Gneiting Kelly Gneiting
Sumo Champion

Kelly is a five-time Champion who's competed in USA SUMO for the last 12 National Championships. He hopes to help facilitate the sport's growth in America in preparation for its inclusion into the Olympic Games.

13-Time U.S. Representative at the World Sumo Championships/Games. 3x-U.S. Sumo Champion. At the World level, in 2006, he lost a medal match (3rd place) to Poland. In 2009 he advanced to the quarter finals (top 8) at the World Games in Taiwan (with 50 competitors).

He has run 3 marathons, the first two in LA, the third in Arizona. The first was in 2008 when at 425 lbs, heavier than the heaviest man to play NFL Football; time was 11h 52m 6s. The second time was a Guinness World Record for the Heaviest Person to Complete a Marathon (400 lbs); time was 9h 48m 52s.

Kelly also served as a U.S. Marine, involved in the Reserves for 9 years.

Kelly Gneiting appears courtesy of USA SUMO.

Yama Yama
Sumo Champion

Making a rare US appearance, all the way from Japan, is iconic sumo figure Yama, whose professional sumo fighting name is Yamamotoyama. Yama is an iconic sumo figure. At 6'4", 601 pounds, he is not only the largest Japanese sumo wrestler ever, but he is actually the largest Japanese HUMAN ever!

Yama has been practicing sumo for over 20 years. After winning numerous university sumo championships, he reached professional sumo's highest division ("makuuchi") in only two years, the second fastest pace in history.

Yama appears courtesy of USA SUMO.

Adam WarRock

Adam WarRock's unique brand of indie nerd raps has amassed him an Internet following that has stretched to every realm of fandom, ranging from comic books, TV, movies, video games, and more. His pop cultural-based songs have been featured in TIME, the New York Times, SPIN; sites such as The AVClub, WIRED, NYMag's Vulture, io9; and have garnered attention from cultural celebrities such as Nathan Fillion, Edgar Wright, Dan Stevens of Downtown Abbey, and Ron Swanson himself, Nick Offerman. Having released three full-length albums and a veteran of multiple national tours, his music and stage presence has electrified crowds at Comic Cons, SXSW, university shows, and events across the country. With over a million views on YouTube, and an army of followers online, his live show continues to storm venues as he brings his brand of nerdy hip hop to the public. In the words of so many bloggers, journalists and fans, "it's not just Internet good, it is g*ddamn brilliant." Check out for more awesome and free music from Adam himself!

Benjamin Briggs

Benjamin Briggs has been producing electronic music for over 10 years, starting with OverClocked ReMix and later continuing to other independent ventures, such as Dj CUTMAN's netlabel GameChops. He has since established himself as a self-sustaining entertainer, playing live performances like Nerdapalooza and MAGFest 11, releasing music on his own website, and live streaming on regularly to further connect with his fanbase.

Known for his remixes of video game music and chiptunes, he puts on a high-energy show full of positive vibes and lots of dancing. With any luck, his plan for world domination will succeed, one smile at a time.


"THE RiCECOOKERS is a talent that cannot be compared to other bands" and "has an originality never seen before" (,i>Bounce Magazine, August 2011). And for a good reason. THE RiCECOOKERS is a Japanese alternative rock band born in America.

THE RiCECOOKERS was formed in 2004 in Boston, Massachusetts by Tomomi Hiroishi (Vocals/ Guitar), Kota Fujii (Lead Guitar), Daisuke Wakabayashi (Bass) and Sohei Oyama (Drums) while studying at the Berklee College of Music. Tomomi was born and raised in Mexico City while the rest of the band grew up in Japan.

In the spring of 2010, THE RiCECOOKERS made their Japanese debut with a bilingual EP titled "Four of our Songs" followed by their first Tokyo tour. During one of their shows, a renowned Film Director Yukihiko Tsutsumi discovered them and placed their single "NAMInoYUKUSAKI" as a theme song for his TV drama series SPEC (TBS Network), SPEC-THE MOVIE 2012 (Toho), and . THE RiCECOOKERS made history as the very first unknown Indie Band to be booked as a theme song for a major TV/Film series in Japan. After their dramatic debut, THE RiCECOOKERS quickly climbed the charts and became one of the most talked about bands in Asia. Tsutsumi later described THE RiCECOOKERS as "the kind of rock music I've been waiting for". Soon after the release of "NAMInoYUKUSAKI~TV SPECial COLLECTION", THE RiCECOOKERS became the #1 Indie Artist on the Billboard JAPAN Charts, as well as winning a nomination for the "Best Independent Artist of the Year" (2011) from Billboard Japan Music Awards.

In 2011, THE RiCECOOKERS released their first album titled【sélf】, followed by their first rock festival performance at RISING SUN ROCK FESTIVAL Japan. In 2013, they released their second album, "parallax" in Japan. The album is now release also in U.S. in 2014. THE RiCECOOKERS continue to tour in the United States and Japan and attend various musical events including CMJ Music Marathon.

Tribe One

Tribe One is a rapper from Atlanta, Georgia who writes smart, personal and emotional songs about things like comic books and video games. He's a bit of a nerd and he knows it. Revels in it, in fact. Having worked as a public librarian for eight years before making the jump to rapping full time, he is acutely aware that he is on something of a non-traditional path to rap stardom. But it's exactly this nonchalance when it comes to fitting into the hip hop mainstream that allows Tribe One to be the engaging performer that he is. Able to switch from lightning fast speed raps to heartstring tugging storytelling at the drop of a hat, Tribe One has devastated audiences all over the country on tours with mc chris, MC Lars, Ceschi, Louis Logic, Adam WarRock and Mega Ran among others. He is also 50% of the rap group The Remnant, 50% of the band Malibu Shark Attack and 100% himself.


PEELANDER-Z, the Japanese Action Comic Punk Band based in NYC, was originally formed in 1998 by Peelander-Yellow, Peelander-Red, and Peelander-Blue, after meeting in New York City (although they'll tell you they're all from the Z area on the planet Peelander). Peelander-Green was welcomed in July 2008 after Blue left the band.

Peelander–Z has appeared at major music festivals including Bonnaroo and the Vans Warped Tour and has also been featured on TV programs such as VH1's "Best Week Ever" and Comedy Central's "Upright Citizens Brigade" among others. The band has also been covered by SPIN, Rolling Stone, Village Voice, NPR and The Onion among many others.

At its live shows, Peelander–Z guarantees intense audience participation and a chance to exercise. You'll see the band in colorful costumes reminiscent of Japanese anime, though they describe their outfits as their skin. You'll also see The Red Squid, human bowling and all around insanity. A Peelander–Z performance is a rare occasion for the entire family to rock out and have a great time.

Featured Food Vendors

Information on food vendors at the Matsuri will be posted as arrangements are finalized.

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