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  • Writer's pictureEdmund Hoff

Mechademia Kyoto 2023

With the pandemic in the rear view mirror, it was great to hold a Mechademia conference in person in Kyoto since the last one 5 years previous. This time around there were about 90 presenters over 3 days in 2 different locations. Jaqueline Berndt was the keynote speaker and it was good to have her back in this role considering all that she has done for Manga studies.

On Saturday May 27th registration and presentations got rolling at Kyoto Seika University. The academic institution has been a strong support for Mechademia and Jaqueline Berndt was a professor there for a number of years. This time around, we had about 15 students from Kyoto Seika helping as volunteers. It was good to have their support with logistics and it seemed to be an eye opening experience for them to see academics from around the world discussing topics of interest to them.

For Sunday and Monday, we moved activities to the acclaimed Kyoto Manga Museum. The 2018 iteration of the conference was held at the same location and it brought back memories to return to the familiar surroundings. The Museum is actually a refurbished elementary school so there are nostalgic elements abound. From creaky floors to wooden banisters, the venue is always a memorable experience.

Being able to meet together with colleagues in person after a few years of online or hybrid gatherings was invigorating. Having professor Berndt speak brought everything together nicely and it was a pleasure to have Kyoto Seika University students involved as well. Personally I felt that after the long hiatus, there is something essentially human about meeting and discussing matters of value in person.

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