Summer Comic Market 2016; Japan’s Biggest Battlefield for Otaku
The Hottest and Most Feverish Summer
The season of Comic Market (aka Comike or Comiket) has arrived again this year of 2016, too. For those who love anime and manga, this is already half like a tradition that reminds them of the season. Under the scorching sun, many people gather to Tokyo Big Sight in Ariake, Tokyo, from all over Japan including Hokkaido in the north and Okinawa in the south.
Comic Market is the biggest market to sell self-published magazines in Japan, and it is open twice a year in the middle of August and at the end of December. In plain terms, individuals that participate in the market, called “circles”, sell their self-published magazines or goods they have created themselves.
In addition to such individuals, exhibitions by businesses that are related to anime, manga or games also liven up the event. Limited edition products, exclusive to the Comic Market, may be sold at some business booths, or events may take place in other parts of the arena.
Cosplay photo sessions are held very flamboyantly, and they make the market visually very entertaining.
Why is Comic Market the Biggest in Japan?
Comic Market is not the only event of this kind. Similar events to a greater or lesser extent are held in various places of Japan, practically every week throughout the year.
The reason that Comic Market is the biggest in Japan both in name and reality can be found first in its scale. The market is held for three days both in summer and winter, the number of circles is 35,000, and the number of visitors reaches as many as 600,000 in 3 days.
The second reason is found in its long history. The first Comic Market was held in 1975, and it started as a small event. However it had gradually increased participants, and started to use the current large-scale venue in the 1990’s.
And a notable feature exists also in its independence. Surprisingly all the operating staff is basically volunteers, from traffic controllers in the building to medics. These staff members have a very wide variety of professions; they may be students, office workers, or even medical doctors.
Be Well Prepared for the Heat and Cold!
While Comic Market is open, convenience stores in the vicinity stock up their shelves with energy drinks and nutritional supplements in absurd density in order to meet the visitors’ demand. (Writer’s Photo)
The Comic Market is often characterized as a battlefield. This may refer to matters after the event has started, or point to matters before the event.
Admission lines start to form as early as 5 o’clock in the morning, and the conditions are harsh: it is under the blazing sun in summer and in the extreme cold in winter. But people persevere for several hours without giving up. Why do participants stand in line despite such difficulties? This is because each product is limited in number and may be sold out before participants get there, unless they go early. Only those who have won in this fierce battle ground may gain “the spoils of war” on that day.
However, getting in line early is not the only thing that matters. If someone starts to wait in line before the first train arrives in early morning or in the middle of the night on the day before, it may become a nuisance to the residents in the neighborhood. Such actions are considered a violation of rules and despised as anathema.
For Those Who Have Just Felt a Desire to Participate!
The Comic Market is continuing to evolve even to date. The winter market of 2016 is planned to expand the event venue further, and it is expected to be held at the largest scale ever in its history.
There are no national borders for the two-dimensional world of anime and manga, so long as you observe the basic rules; photos of cosplayers may be taken only after permission is granted by them, and shooting photos of the vendors’ booths are basically not accepted. If you are coming across the ocean to visit this three-day festival, Ariake in Tokyo will welcome you in the sea breeze.
From Rinkai Line Kokusai Tenjijo Station (International Exhibition Center Station), 7 minutes’ walk
From Yurikamome Kokusai Tenjijo Seimon (Front Gate) Station, 3 minutes’ walk
Information: Map, Official Website