40-day CoFesta kicks off in Tokyo

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TOKYO -- The Japan International Contents Festival, aka CoFesta, officially opened Wednesday evening at the Tokyo International Forum, kicking off more than a month of events that includes the Tokyo International Film Festival, Tokyo Game Show, CEATEC, Tokyo Asian Music Market, Japan Animation Contents Meeting and a host of other festivities.

Although not quite biblical in proportion, CoFesta will run for 40 days and 40 nights, bringing together a broad spectrum of Japanese entertainment content firms with the purpose of promoting them internationally.

Wednesday's opening ceremony featured leading lights from the worlds of Japanese films, games, anime, manga and music. Koji Yakusho, star of "Shall We Dance" and "Sayuri," was introduced as the "main character" of CoFesta, a departure from the cute anime-style characters that are the faces of most events in Japan.

"The way that things have to be designed and made isn't restricted or pre-determined, that's the essence of creativity," said Yuji Hori, designer of the "Dragon Quest" game series. Tokyo Game Show will get CoFesta 2007 rolling when it opens Thursday.

Joining Hori on stage were Tomino Yoshiyuki, animator of anime "Gundam," which has spawned hit toy and computer game spin-offs, and "Slam Dunk" manga artist Takehiko Inoue.

Last up were Tsunekazu Ishihara, a director of the Pokemon Co., and singers Puffy, whose animated "Hi, Hi Puffy Ami Yumi" became a surprise overseas hit on Cartoon Network.

CoFesta runs Sept. 20-Oct. 29 across the Tokyo metropolitan area.

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