Dreamcatcher Announces Performance At US Anime Convention But InSomnia Are Concerned

Several InSomnias are becoming wary of the convention’s controversial history.

Content Warning

This article includes descriptions of sexual assault that may disturb some readers.

On May 2, Houston, Texas based anime convention Anime Matsuri announced that Dreamcatcher would be a featured guest at the event. The seven-member group will have a special concert as well has have their own panel on July 28 and 29.

Numerous InSomnias were pleasantly surprised at this news, especially since Texas was not announced as one of the locations for the group’s upcoming “Apocalypse: Save Us” 2022 world tour.

However, not everyone is excited. A growing number of InSomnias are raising concern over Anime Matsuri’s treatment of guests in the past, particularly the lack of payment and protection towards presenters and performing artists.

In 2021, Japanese cosplayer and media personality Shibuya Kaho, who was a guest presenter at the convention, detailed her experience of labor without pay and lack of logistical support as reasons why she would never return to future Anime Matsuri events.

Shibuya Kaho using Anime Matsuri’s staff iPad to film a doll construction event | @shibukaho/Twitter

Up til 4am, Anime Matsuri had me, only JP guest there, be their iPad stand & interpreter on a 3hr zoom call to build a 1/1 figure. My team even helped. I’ve asked about compensation for our time then got ignored. Considering there were many issues besides this, we won’t return.

—Shibuya Kaho

In the convention’s second year in 2008, Japanese EDM duo, BESPA KUMAMERO, was never paid for their performance.


Their only option was to reach out online in order to get in touch with the founders and co-directors, John Leigh and Deneice Leigh.

Claim from BESPA KUMAMERO’s label about lack of pay for their 2008 Anime Matsuri performance | JapanFiles

In addition to compensation issues, Anime Matsuri co-director, John Leigh, has faced multiple sexual harassment allegations in the past from fashion model guests and attendees at the convention, sparking another wave of concern for InSomnia.

I noticed he had a nervous way of telling me. …It was odd how he was acting. He’s like, ‘I want you to act like you’re going to perform a sexual oral act on the male subject in the car’. I told him I was very uncomfortable with the idea… I kept telling him ‘No. No I don’t want to’, he tried to guilt trip me into it…

—Anime Matsuri guest’s allegation towards John Leigh, shared in an interview with the Houston Press

InSomnias, other K-Pop fandoms, and convention goers have sent emails to Dreamcatcher’s label, Dreamcatcher Company, asking for the group to back out of their appearance at the event.

Not all of the featured guest experiences at Anime Matsuri have gone sour, however. In 2019, Apink had a concert and a Q&A panel as the first K-Pop group to perform at the convention.

Apink and Anime Matsuri co-director Deneice Leigh (center) pose with audience during Q&A panel | @AnimeMatsuri/Twitter

The group appeared to have high-quality staff and translation support during their panel and performance.

Apink’s concert at the 2019 Anime Matsuri | @manabun.46/Ameba

Both Apink and the audience seemed content throughout the duration of their events.

While Dreamcatcher is still slated to perform at the 2022 Anime Matsuri, as concerns continue to grow, the convention has yet to release a statement addressing the issue.

Source: Houston Press and Comics Beat