What is JMoF?
Japan Meeting of Furries (JMoF) was first held in 2013 in Shiga prefecture’s Hikone City, as Japan’s first kemono convention. After that, the venue moved to Aichi prefecture’s Toyohashi City. In 2020, it welcomed 1,372 attendees and has grown to a scale that has people from inside and outside Japan gathering to it.
However, due to the spread of the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), events worldwide were forced to be postponed or canceled, and JMoF 2021 was no exception as what would have been the first 4-day convention for JMoF was canceled. With the effect of the extended event restraints, the JMoF Executive Committee’s goals and future plans of action were again put into question.
We find commonality and empathy through communication and self-expression involving kemono. Through that empathy, the kemono culture had diversified and developed. This empathy isn’t just inside Japan, but also influenced by the deeply-related culture known as the furry fandom, where it has become a chance to learn about the overseas culture as well. Through conventions, understanding about kemono and bonds with the local community has provided us with peace of mind and a place of our own, where there was no such support before.
From 2020 to 2021, we were looking for new activities and expanded their operations to include VR JMoF, an online convention, and a media outlet called JMoF Channel. Because of this, it was found that JMoF’s goal of kemono culture development, communication between inside and outside Japan, and contributions to the local communities could also be fulfilled online.
But at the same time, it was also understood that communications online and meeting face-to-face were completely different things. The comfort of having friends gathered, the spot where various memories were held, and the chances to see creations that make one’s heart dance, these things and more were things that one could only experience at the convention space, and were lost without realizing it.
Due to the prevalence of COVID-19, we’ve entered a period that has so many limitations the time before seems like a lie. From the worries about infection and dissatisfaction with the self-restraints, one can feel not only the resignation regarding the future, but also the division between those who are tired of the restraints, and those who are not.
Pandemics like COVID-19 are not going to end after this one time. Conventions from now on will routinely need to face infection risk, think of a proper convention format, and execute the right plans through trial and error.
Is it not about time for us to once again move to action to reclaim something important to us? In order to get all of these things back, challenging to hold the convention at its usual venue once more is necessary.
If the JMoF convention could be regarded as a way to start looking forward to the future, we would be happy. And we hope to create a world where what lies ahead is a road filled with light that we could proudly walk alongside with a kemono.
As a final note, there are three highly-valued ideas at JMoF called “To Make Laugh”, “To Cultivate”, and “To Establish”, that have been around since its foundation. Through smiles and laughter we nurture the present, we recount the past of kemono culture, and we work towards a future that’s overflowing with possibility: this is our philosophy.
Anyone is welcome at JMoF, as long as they have an interest in Kemono. We’re looking forward to seeing you all here at JMoF.
Satomi, JMoF Executive Committee Chairperson
JMoF Executive Committee is currently engaged in the following activities in order to realize our 3 missions: developing the kemono (furry) culture, providing a platform for communication between Japan and overseas, and creating a link between the kemono culture and the outside of the fandom.
Japan Meeting of Furries (JMoF)
JMoF is a kemono-focused fan convention (an event where various kinds of projects are held at the same time for several days). It is a place where people in Japan and all over the world who are interested in or enthusiastic about kemono can meet and interact with each other. The first convention was held in Hikone, Shiga prefecture, and the second and subsequent conventions have been held in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture.
We expect that various cultures will mix and blend through all kinds of activities, such as art, fursuits, music, dramas, performance, and literature, and then those new encounters and joy will spread around. We also contribute to the local communities through charities and tie-ups with local companies, as well as providing opportunities to interact with the locals.
JMoF 2022 - The Seven Samurai: January 8th (Sat.) - January 9th (Sun.), 2022 Loisir Hotel Toyohashi (Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture)
VR JMoF is an online convention held in a place known as VR (Virtual Reality). Since it was held as an event in JMoF 2020 for the first time, it has been going on VRChat. On a new platform for creation and communication, it aims to contribute to the development of 3DCG/ICT and related fields by providing opportunities for cultural interaction through kemono.
VR JMoF 2022: January 8th (Sat.) - January 9th (Sun.), 2022 VRChat (Online)
JMoF Channel is a “laid-back media” where we JMoF staff put things on our blog and YouTube channel. We’re going to publish columns to our blog that tell you kemono things, to run a bit of events on social media, and so on (None of them contain essential info to attend JMoF conventions!). Hope you enjoy this slightly serious, but mostly unserious content.