This time around, I’d like to introduce an event from Japan’s geographically-closest neighbor, Korea.
Korea still doesn’t have many furry/kemono events, but we’ll be introducing “Furry JoA”, an event held at the beginning of 2020 that everyone was talking about. As far as large-scale events go, “Furry JoA” is one-of-its-kind in Korea, and I had the chance to interview the organizer, Funzinnu.
Dokko: Could you give us a simple introduction?
FANU: Hi there!
I’m one of the organizers for Korea’s“Furry JoA”, Funzinnu.
My fursona’s name is FANU, and feel free to call me by that name!
Dokko: Please briefly explain what “Furry JoA” is.
FANU: “Furry JoA” is an event that’s held in Incheon, Korea.
The first event was successfully held in February 2020 which had about 500 people show up, and now we’re regularly planning for hosting international events!
Dokko: Tell us about the origin story behind organizing “Furry JoA”.
FANU: I’ve participated in international-scale events held in nearby countries like JMoF, Infurnity, Super Furry Fusion, Furum, etc. before, but I started to think about how it’d be great if there were an event like this in Korea.
I started getting asked at these international events if there really wasn’t an event like it in Korea. Korea didn’t have a small furry population by any means, but the events held there up until that point had been unfortunately small in number and scale.
If you’re not a furry who knows the event info beforehand, buying a ticket to come to Korea could be difficult, right. So, ultimately, there were extremely few chances for meeting and interacting with new furries.
It was for these reasons that I thought “if there isn’t one, let’s make it ourselves!”, and organized “Furry JoA” with like-minded people.
Dokko: Could you share with us the reasons behind choosing Furry JoA’s venue to be Incheon’s Songdo?
Please also mention any nearby establishments or related attractions if there’re any.
FANU: We had several spots as candidates for the venue, but we decided immediately for it to be Songdo because it was a place that satisfied us for the following reasons.
- Capital area (It fit the need for preparations beforehand: the organizers lived in the capital area)
- Nearby an international airport (As an international event, it was for our international participants’ access)
- Agreeable venue rental pricing (Since it was our first event, it was hard to plan for the budget)
For Songdo, it’s not so much about complexity and attractions filled with energy, but more so about being a new business city with a quiet, relaxed, and fresh atmosphere.
Because of that, the entire city is wide and beautiful.
It’s a city with extremely wide roads, tall buildings, and a huge park as its features, and if you’re the type that likes having pictures as memories, I recommend “Central Park”, right in the heart of Songdo.
For those wanting energetic vibes, there’s “Canal Walk” and “TRIPLE STREET”.
For those visiting Korea for the first time who have some free time, I recommend going to check out Seoul. Korea’s transport system is cheap and easy to use!
Dokko: When planning the first “Furry JoA”, tell us about some of the fun or difficult moments.
FANU: When planning an event to the scale of hundreds of users for the first time, the most difficult part was, of course, it being the first time.
Trying to gauge the budget based on how many people were expected to come was done completely from scratch, so that was probably the most challenging.
We had anticipated maybe about 250 to 300 participants and planned accordingly, but in the end, close to 500 people had come.
The COVID-19 virus that’s such a problem now had reached Korea right before the start of “Furry JoA”, so a brand new unprecedented variable had appeared and I was nervous.
But luckily, until the days of “Furry JoA”, it was the onset of the virus in Korea as only 20+ people were infected; the basic preventative measures we planned for were no problem, and the event was held.
To everyone on the “Furry JoA” staff who helped ease the workload far more than I had anticipated, and to all of the participants who were enjoying the event despite the crowdedness, I’m very grateful to you.
Dokko: Please let us know when the next planned event is.
FANU: Just like other events, “Furry JoA” was planned to be held in 1-year intervals, with the next scheduled for February 2nd, 2021.
However, with COVID-19’s extended presence, this has been postponed.
We are planning to have the second time at the same location, Songdo Convensia.
We’re planning for this event’s scale to be 160% the size of the first, and though the location will be the same Songdo Convensia Convention Center, the internal location will change.
We plan to use the Grand Ballroom the next time around.
Dokko: Some final words to our readers!
FANU: The most fulfilling points from hosting “Furry JoA” were that we built a new place for furries to interact with each other and that foreign furries came to visit Korea.
We want to continue building more chances like this in the future, and we plan to do so.
COVID-19 has stuck around, and this troublesome period continues.
We’ll get through these tough times, and be waiting for everyone while preparing more chances to meet.
Thank you very much!
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