|Japanese Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa (center) hands over prize certificate to the 2015 J-pop Anime Sing and Dance Contest Grand Prize winner for the singing category, Ms. Maychell Hernandez. Also in photo from left to right: Mr. Tatsuo Kitagawa, Director of the Japan Information and Culture Center (JICC); Mr. Shuji Takatori, Director, The Japan Foundation, Manila (JFM); Mr. Philip Sanvictores, President, Nihongo Center Foundation; Ms. Jojo Estacio-Neri, Channel Head of HERO TV; Ms. Gwendolyn Albarracin, President of Center for Pop Philippines; and Mr. Nestor Palabrica, General Manager of Toei Philippines.
Japanese pop music, resounding applause, and cheers filled SM Mall of Asia Centerstage on Saturday, July 25, as the 2015 J-pop Anime Sing and Dance Contest Grand Finals was held. This yearly celebration has already gained quite a following over its seven-year run so far and continues to grow through the invaluable support of various organizations and the Filipino public.
This year's Grand Finalists were carefully chosen from the numerous entries received from all over the Philippines that best represented Filipino talent and creativity inspired by Japanese pop culture. In the end, ten contenders in the Singing Category and five groups in the Dancing Category competed in the finals attended by over 400 spectators.
|2015 J-pop Anime Sing and Dance Contest Singing Category winners (From left to right) Ms. Maychell Hernandez, Grand Prize Winner; Mr. Kenichi Go Uang, Second Place Winner; and
Ms. Lou Angeline Buenaventura Ulanday, Third Place Winner
There was great excitement this year over the results of the Singing Category, which offered the annual contest's biggest prize to date: an all-expense paid trip to Japan! After much anticipation, vocal powerhouse Ms. Maychell Hernandez came out on top with her soulful rendition of "Kimi ni Todoke" by May'n. Coming in second was Cebu charmer Mr. Kenichi Go Uang with his cool melodic interpretation of Hata Motoichiro's "Uroko." Meanwhile, Ms. Lou Angeline Buenaventura Ulanday, who hails from Bataan, placed third after a captivating performance of "Mizu no Akashi" by Rie Tanaka.
|First Place winner for the Dance Category, Fluffy Unicorns working their "kawaii" moves.
||Second Place winner, Seishun Kakumei shows off girl power confidence.
Fluffy Unicorns bagged first prize for the Dancing Category with their "kawaii" idol moves, while all-girl group Seishun Kakumei landed in second place.
|2014 J-pop Anime Sing and Dance Contest First Place winner for the Singing Category, Hikari*.
||Embassy of Japan's No Plan Band with Doraemon and Friends in a special number.
Capping off the event were special presentations by the Embassy of Japan's No Plan Band, Doraemon and Friends, and last year's first prize winner in the Singing Category, Hikari*. Also in attendance was His Excellency Kazuhide Ishikawa, Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines, to congratulate the winners and present the awards.
Aimed at promoting goodwill and understanding through music and Japanese culture, the 2015 J-pop Anime Sing and Dance Contest was organized by the Embassy of Japan, in cooperation with The Japan Foundation, Manila (JFM) and the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO). It was supported by All Nippon Airways, Animation International, Ajinomoto Philippines, Bandai Namco Philippines, Inc., Bobson, Canon Information Technologies, Inc., Canon Marketing Philippines, Center for Pop Music Philippines, HERO TV, Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines, Inc., Lotte Confectionery Pilipinas Corporation, Lyceum of the Philippines University, Nihongo Center Foundation, Panasonic Philippines Corporation, SM Cinema, SM Mall of Asia, Sony Philippines, Toei Animation Philippines, Inc., Yakult Philippines, and Yoshinoya.