Panels & Workshops

2020 Panel submissions are not yet open

Panel FAQs

Why should I submit a Panel for Tekko?

Panels are an essential part of the programming for Tekko. They can be run by guests, staff, attendees, and experts. Guests may run panels on their recent works or even teach you a thing or two about how to break into the industry. Staff may give you some insight on what it is like to help run a convention and how you can volunteer yourself. Attendees help out by providing passionate panels and workshops on their favorite anime, manga, genre, hobby, etc. Experts can provide you with a deep dive into the intricacies of their areas of expertise. While just about anyone can run a panel or workshop on a wide variety of topics, we ask that the subject matter relate to Japanese Culture or international fandoms that have impacted it. If you are unsure that your idea is right for Tekko, our Programming staff is more than happy to talk it through with you. Just send us an email at:

Reimbursement Policy

How it works…

Once again we will require all panelists to pre-register for the convention, but will offer on-site reimbursement based on the number of panels or workshops approved and performed. Once again, panelist will have a choice:

(OPTION 1) If you register only a Head Panelist with no Co-panelists, the Head Panelist will be entitled to a $20 reimbursement for each approved & completed panel up to the full cost of the badge that they purchased.

(OPTION 2) However, if you submit a panel application with (one) Co-panelist, the reimbursement will work the same as last year: For every approved panel completed, both the Head Panelist and (one) Co-panelist will be entitled to a $10 reimbursement up to the full cost of the badge(s) that they purchased.

For example, if you Pre-register for a General Admissions badge ($30) and perform one approved panel without the aid of a Co-panelist, you would be eligible for a $20 reimbursement. If you and a Co-panelist who both pre-registered for $30 badges wanted to offer 5 panels that were all approved, you would each receive a $30 reimbursement.

Additionally, several of our panelists have mentioned that more than monetary reimbursement, they would prefer some added perks or benefits for panelists at the show. We are glad to continue to offer the panelist prep room, where panelist have Wifi access for last minute touch ups on their panel content and access to water. We also give out a ribbon to be worn with your badge marking you as a panelist to recognize your contribution. While we will be discussing other potentials perks, these are what we have set for 2020

Fine Print

No Show = No Reimbursement. If you have an approved panel that you fail to show up for, you will not be eligible for any reimbursement. So if you have 3 approved panels scheduled, and you complete 2 but don’t show up for the third, you will not receive partial compensation. Furthermore, you may no longer be eligible to provide content for future events. (Exceptions will be rare and at the joint discretion of the Programming Head & Convention Committee)

All of your scheduled content must be completed before you can receive your reimbursement at the show. We will inform accepted panelists closer to the time of the show where and when they will be able to receive reimbursement.

The Head Panelist and registered Co-panelist will both need to be present for the panels they are running or the missing party will not receive credit for it. Yes, we will be checking.

What about panels that are longer (or shorter) than 1 hour? Though most panels are generally 1 hour, this isn’t always the case as panelists strive to pace their information and balance quality with quantity. In some cases though, we may request panelists to adjust the length of a panel to be able to fit in our schedule. As such, we will be treating all panels equally for the purposes of reimbursement. (In the event of significant programming contributions, exceptions may be considered but will be at the joint discretion of the Programming Head & Convention Committee)

Tekko Gakkou (School Series)


Tekko is proud to host Tekko Gakkou (School Series), an education oriented programming track dedicated to exploring the nuanced culture and history of Japan, for the fourth year in a row!

Content in the Gakkou track focuses on all facets of Japanese culture including (but not limited to) food, history, beliefs, school life, fashion, subculture, identity, and world influences.

This track will also host round table discussion forums for students of Japan to present, refine, and discuss material that is important to their pursuit of Japanese culture, academic or otherwise.

Content will be selected if it falls into the following categories and is of the highest possible quality:

  • Education and scholarship
  • Illuminations of Japanese Cultural Practice
  • Ways in which anime, games, and Japanese mass media shed light on Japan and her people.

Having your panel, discussion group, or workshop accepted for this track is a prestigious distinction and you will be recognized in various ways throughout Tekko!

2018 Tekko Gakkou Panels

Understanding Autism & Anime

Join Mental Health Professionals discuss the Autism Spectrum and how it relates to Anime. A brief explanation of Autism, followed by how Anime and Manga are utilized and beneficial within treatment.

Kimono And You – Wafuku 101

Looking to cosplay a character in kimono or wear one yourself, but unsure where to start? In this panel different types of garments, materials, and potential resources for both secondhand and handmade kimono will be discussed. There will be a Q&A section at the end for attendees to get suggestions.

Korean 101: Hangeul, the Korean Alphabet

Take the first step in learning Korean with this panel focused on the basics of the Korean writing system, called Hangeul, which is well known for being incredibly logical and simple. You’ll also have a chance to get familiar with a few basic phrases! Participants are encouraged to bring a pencil and paper, and no prior knowledge is required.

The Genealogy of the Magical Girl: a Matriarchal Family Tree

Are Sailor Moon and Kill la Kill really Cutie Honey’s daughters? Is Madoka Magica even related to other magical girl series? This panel will explore the rich history of magical girls, starting in 1953 and moving through time all the way to 2018.

Can I Use a Fork?: A Crash Course in Asian Cuisine

Whether you’re looking to expand your culinary horizons… or have just seen one too many episodes of “Food Wars”, this is the panel for you! Join me for an introduction to Asian cuisine (on a budget)!

Neko Mania Cat Culture in Japan

Meow! Love cats? Of course you do! Come explore the history of the neko we love from their humble beginnings as shrine guardians to the internet famous cats we all know and love! BYODM * Bring your own dead mouse* Mew!

The Tale of Genji New Reader Introduction

The Tale of Genji is one of the most important novels in Japanese and world literature and one of the few written by a female author, but it’s not exactly reader-friendly since it is over 1,000 pages with long lists of characters that don’t even have formal names. This panel will break down the important points of the novel, explore its artistic and historical significance, and give potential readers some tips on how best to get the most out of the text. It will also look at a few anime adaptations.

The Romance of Three Kingdoms

Dynasty Warriors, Ikki-Tousen, Soten Koro, Red Cliff, the latest game in the Total War series – all based on this classical period of China. Join Richard C. Shaffer to learn more about the history and people behind this epic period!

Waka – The Subtle Art of Samurai Poetry

In Medieval Japan a samurai was not just regarded for their bravery, but also for their poetic capabilities. Join Richard C. Shaffer as we discuss the various types of Japanese poetry and how they affected the samurai world. Haiku, Tanka, Renga, and everything in between!

Only Cowards Use Shields w/Samurai Dan

The Tale of Genji is one of the most important novels in Japanese and world literature and one of the few written by a female author, but it’s not exactly reader-friendly since it is over 1,000 pages with long lists of characters that don’t even have formal names. This panel will break down the important points of the novel, explore its artistic and historical significance, and give potential readers some tips on how best to get the most out of the text. It will also look at a few anime adaptations.

The Chrysanthemum & The Cross w/Charles Dunbar

Christianity came over with the Portuguese, English, and Dutch, but has gone through banning, rebellion, persecution, and resurgence in the centuries since. This panel explores the history behind the religion’s appearance, fall, and resurgence: from incompatible philosophies to the Shogunate ban, the Shimabara Rebellion, the Hidden Christian age, and the postwar reconstruction and pop culture boom.

The Road to Becoming a Magical Girl w/Charles Dunbar

So we hear a lot about magical girls, but how does one actually define them? Joseph Campbell wrote extensively on the hero. But he left out the heroine. While her journey mimics his, it has its own markers and transformations, and her outcome is hers alone. This panel explores the different types of magical girls and how their stories are timeless.

Trauma in the “Tales Of” Series

This panel will follow the psychological journey of characters from Tales of the Abyss, Tales of Zestiria, and Tales of Berseria who have experienced trauma and confront the appropriate and inappropriate responses of the narrative to survivorship and recovery, as it relates to the needs of real-life survivors. Sponsored by CSSN.

Oh My Kami!: Risque Mythology (18+)

You thought the Greek gods like to get wild on the weekends, but the Japanese gods were also known to get their freak on! Join us for some wicked tales of creation sex, murders and punishment in hell, and other NSFW myths and legends. It’s sure to make you blush.

True Psychopaths of Anime (18+)

Join Moby White in discussing what makes a character a True Psychopath, and compare this definition to several anime characters.

History of hentai: from block prints to fakku (18+)

From The Tale of Genji is one of the most important novels in Japanese and world literature and one of the few written by a female author, but it’s not exactly reader-friendly since it is over 1,000 pages with long lists of characters that don’t even have formal names. This panel will break down the important points of the novel, explore its artistic and historical significance, and give potential readers some tips on how best to get the most out of the text. It will also look at a few anime adaptations.

Locked Up Abroad: Deadman Wonderland (18+)

“Stuck in your Wonderland” this Tekko? Come join Moby White as he delves into the correction system that is Deadman Wonderland and compares it to some of the worst prisons in history!

Chibi Tekko


General Information

Tekko presents Chibi Tekko – interactive panels and activities designed to entertain our younger attendees! Children under 12 are invited to learn about Japanese culture and anime through fun crafts, games, and much more. Check back closer to show for Tekko’s activities. Chibi Tekko activities will be held in the Manga Library the best place to sit down and read some manga, chill or just hang out with your friends. Feel free to drop by or just relax and to read old or new manga. All manga was donated to the the Tekko library. If you have manga you don’t want any more please feel free to donate to help expand our collection.

Please note that all children under 12 years old must be accompanied by an adult at all times during the convention.

While the target of Chibi content is towards children 12 and under, we can understand the appeal of going to certain panels like “Felt doll creations”. We therefore have a policy that only those 12 and under may receive materials for workshops due to limited quantity

Previous Activities

Notan Collage

Notan is the Japanese word for “light and dark”. We will use scissors and contrasting colors of paper to create a collage that plays with shapes as well as positive and negative space.

Painting The Great Wave of Kanagawa

The Great Wave is one of the most recognizable works of Japanese art. We will use crayons and watercolor paints to create our own version of this famous painting.

Crazy for Polka Dots (The Art of Yayoi Kusama)

Can you make art just out of dots? You sure can! Come make a fun polka dot project with us and also learn about how you can go visit one of Yayoi Kusama’s installation works right here in Pittsburgh.

Felt Sushi

It’s sushi that you can keep forever! Remember your most delicious sushi memories as we use felt to create sashimi and sushi rolls.

Teru Teru Bōzu Craft

If you’re trying to chase the rain clouds away, join us in making traditional Japanese teru teru bōzu dolls! These good weather charms became popular during the Edo period and are sure to brighten both your windows AND the skies. Younger children may require help with this craft.

What Life’s Like For a Child Living in Japan

Ever wonder what your life would be like if you lived in Japan? Come find out about a day in the life of a child living in Japan.

Japanese Folktale Storytime

Fortune bringing bees that come out of people’s noses? Ogres that eat baby belly buttons? These are just a few of the strange scenarios featured in Japanese folktales! Join our children’s librarian from Adams Memorial Library for this storytime including a variety of picture books that re-imagine classic Japanese legends.

Fuse that Pokémon?!

Like creating your own Pokémon? Stop by our family friendly workshop to participate in a game that invites attendees to combine two Pokémon, chosen at random, to create a new species. Small prizes will be given for our favorite drawings. Attendees of any drawing skill level are invited and encouraged.

Koinobori Craft

Something’s fishy about this traditional Japanese craft! Koinobori are carp kites or windsocks that Japanese families fly every Children’s Day on May 5th. Wild carp represent the family’s hope that their children will grow up to be strong. This craft is time consuming and younger children will require help.

Family Anime Games

Try your luck at some Japanese and anime board games, featuring your favorite characters.

Anime Headbands

Come make a headband to wear as you explore the convention.

Gotta Catch ‘Em All

Hunt down your favorite Pokemon in our live-action Pokemon Go!

Tekko 2018 Featured Panelists

Check back later for this year's Featured Panelists!

Jocie Farrell

Jocie Farrell (who also answers to “Mini”) works as an educator at Carnegie Science Center, where she dabbles in everything from astronomy and geology to robotics and video game design. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education with a focus in Earth and Space Science at California University of Pennsylvania, where she also served as Vice President of the Cal U Japanese Animation Club during her senior year. She’s been a fan of anime since before she even knew what anime truly was, having grown up watching Sailor Moon, Dragonball Z, Yu Yu Hakusho, and Digimon. Current obsessions include Yuri On Ice, Digimon Tri, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and Gakkou Gurashi. You might have seen her presenting panels in the past at Tekko, Ohayocon, Matsuricon, Blurriecon, KuroKiiro Festival, or Anime Mini. Some of her favorite panels she’s created and/or been involved with include “Pokemon VS. Digimon,” “Robotics: Not Just Science Fiction Anymore,” “How To Write A Novel in 30 Days,” “Adorable, Innocent, and All-Around Kawaii… Right?,” “Kingdom Hearts 2.999999,” and her personal favorite gameshow, “Are You Smarter Than Organization XIII?”

Moby White

‘Moby White’, works as a compliance analyst for a company in Washington County, PA. He has a Master’s in Applied Criminology, a Bachelor’s in Psychology, and a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice.  He has been attending conventions for over 10 years, and has been a panelist at conventions such as Tekko (formally known as Tekkoshocon), Sangawa Project, KuroKiiro Festival, & Setsucon. Over the last four years he has done roughly 30 panels including: Criminal Minds of Psycho-Pass, True Psychopaths of Anime, “I watched it for the Plot”, Pokemon vs. Digimon, Subs vs. Dubs, and Anime in America: The Legacy of Toonami. Over the past three years, he has also been working with PittJCS (Pittsburgh Japanese Cultural Society) in various positions such as security, marketing, and the programming department—which approves and schedules the panel content.

Cynthia Crise

Cynthia Crise, who plays a librarian in real life, discovered a love for fantasy and science fiction in her teens at a time when most fans were older and male. A mid-life brush with writing left her facing the reality that she lacked the stick-to-it-iveness necessary to produce a finished work. Eventually when Cynthia woke to the wonders of anime and manga, she would meet kindred spirits with whom she could discuss josei, classic shoujo, yaoi, and Commander Erwin Smith. A regular contributor to Pittsburgh Japanese Culture Society events, she is also Program Advisor for the Mount Pleasant Anime Club in Mount Pleasant, PA. In 2017, she started the Pittsburgh Panelists Plus Facebook group to provide a forum for speakers interested in the finer points of presentation at conventions around the country. Cynthia lives in a quirky, picturesque house out in the sticks with her sweetie girl Momo kitty.

Mako Gems Productions

Mako Gems Productions is a panel team from West Virginia that works to bring thought-provoking and entertaining contest to the video game and pop culture communities. Chellerbee, an international affairs and cultural anthropology student, and Brea, an archaeology student, have presented numerous panels over the last six years. We work together to share the educational side of things we love as well as promote expanding one’s world view.

Alexis Jabour
Alexis started running panels at the tender age of 16, over ten years ago. Her goal is to run panels that anyone would find interesting. Some of her signature panels include Yu-Gi-Oh! A to Zexal, Disney Across the Pond, and Better Than It Sounds. If you catch her in cosplay you’re most likely to find Joey Wheeler or some alternate universe version of Elsa.


Trickssi is a cosplayer, formal dance coordinator, and founder of the Cosplayer Survivor Support Network (CSSN). Her passions are creating inclusive support and protection for vulnerable populations and teaching ballroom dance within the anime convention community. She hails from Ohio and makes costumes, wigs, and props both solo and with her family at Trimeriad Cosplay/Fractali/Feytaline.

Dan Pencoske

Now a 30-something white guy who dresses like sports boys, Dan has been attending anime conventions since 2005 and presented his first panel in 2010. Since then he has run panels on a variety of topics with mecha, tokusatsu, and Japanese history being his chief interests. His Tumblr blog, newtypezaku, is occasionally funny but largely exists to consume Yahoo’s computing resources and reduce shareholder value.

Richard C. Shaffer

When Richard C. Shaffer was told the pen was mightier than the sword he said, “Why not use both?” A former Martial Arts instructor and award-winning swordsman he has settled down to his writing. His first published work came in the form of ESCORT in 2015 and since then he has been writing for games and doing instructional videos and events on Japanese history and culture.

Keeping Friendship Magic
Founder of the Keeping Friendship Magic project, Forward Progress has been blogging and presenting at conventions since 2015. A constant student of fandom, his work combines social science with the franchises we love to entertain, educate, and unite our fandoms stronger than ever. Forward is excited to return for his second Tekko with new panels exploring the worlds of video games, anime, and personal identity.

501st & Rebel

The 501st along with our sister organization The Rebel Legion is a worldwide Star Wars costuming organization comprised of and operated by Star Wars fans. While they are not sponsored by Lucasfilm Ltd., they are Lucasfilm’s preferred costuming groups.

Katy Wolfe

Hi! I’m Katy Wolfe. I’ve been a panelist for a little over five years, and you might know me from “Bento 101” or “How to Ruin Anime”. This year I’m bringing some great content to the table – magical girls, world building, and more food! I hope to see you at one of my panels!!

Brave World Anime

Brave World Anime is a recently created panelist group. We have presented panels at conventions in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Our group consists of five panelists with different backgrounds. The goal for our panels is to provide entertaining content while educating audience on new anime.

April 2 - 5 2020