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Goin’ Japanesque!

Comic Market Is in Danger of Cancellation Due to 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo

I bet everyone knows the Summer Olympics in 2020 will be held again in Tokyo, Japan.

It’s been the first time since 1964, and multiple issues and problems abound for its opening such as funding and places to hold games.

Amid this whirlwind, annual event of Comic Market, our festival of anime and manga may be cancelled and it has become even likely. Title photo by flickr


What Is Comic Market?

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Comic Market, often known as “Comike”, has the official name of Dojinshi Sokubaikai, meaning an exhibition and sales event of coterie magazines. It is not a commercially produced event but an event organized and managed by volunteers in order to sell coterie magazines.

Coterie magazines are self-published by volunteers, and these volunteers include not only amateurs but also manga writers who are currently active on commercial publications but their participation does not involve commercial publishers. 

In recent years such volunteers include entertainers such as singers you see on TV.

A large part of the exhibition consists of manga and novels that feature established characters or settings of popular anime, a type of works called “fan art” in Japan, art by fans.

In addition to this the market offers original works of manga and novels, or even research papers on personal interest.


The market was first held in 1975, and the event has grown today in 2017 to mobilize 550,000 visitors twice annually in summer and winter.

It is perhaps one of the largest events held for interested members of the community in Japan, organized for non-commercial purposes.

These days even TV stations and publishers have started to participate.


In 2020 We Cannot Use The Place Because of Olympics!?

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Every year Comike has been held at Tokyo Big Sight, an exhibition center.

But the center is scheduled to be used as a media facility during the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.

Several alternative ideas are entertained for Comike including Makuhari Messe in the vicinity of Tokyo or possibly holding it in Osaka, however the venue is still undecided for the year of 2020.


Coterie Magazine Events Other than Comike

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Many events other than Comike that sell coterie magazines or feature anime and manga are held in other regions and other times of the year.

  • Nikoniko Super Conference: A subculture festival organized by DWANGO Co., Ltd. It doesn’t offer a coterie magazine marketplace, but the festival focuses on elements of Japanese culture such as anime, manga, even kabuki or sumo wrestling.
  • Comic City: This is the largest coterie magazine event in Osaka region.
  • COMIC1: It is held in spring and scale of the event is next to that of Comike.

Countless events are held other than what I listed here if we include small ones, but Comike tops them all by its scale.

Services at Comike, however leave a room for improvement, for example foreign language information is not available for foreign visitors. This is because the event is organized by volunteers for the people with similar interests.

But on the other hand visitors can enjoy excitement of the event and real communication with attending people as much as they like.


Comike Nourishes Manga Artists of Next Generation

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Comike is an event for people who create, publish and sell their own works and it has produced multiple professional manga artists who refined their talents here.

Comike serves as a place to exchange information for such people who aim to become professional and it is also an important place for them to receive feedback directly from readers of their works.

The following shows examples of manga artists who made debuts in commercial magazines after being active at Comike.

1. Masamune Shirow

He is a manga artist who created “Ghost in the Shell”, which was adopted for a live-action movie in Hollywood in 2017.

He is a leading manga artist in the genre of cyberpunk.

2. Masami Yuki

I have introduced him more in detail in another article. Masami Yuki has participated in Comike at an early stage of its evolution.

His work “Patlabor” was brought forth into manga and anime with the help of friends and associated members when he had been working with coterie magazines.

3. Kazushi Hagiwara

I have also introduced him in an earlier article (“BASTARD!!”), and he was a part of driving force that made western-style fantasy popular in Japan.

He is a little bit unusual and he has been publishing and selling coterie magazines based on his own work published in commercial magazines.

Related Articles:
“BASTARD!! – Destroyer of Darkness”: A Pioneer of Fantasy Manga

4. Clamp

Clamp is a group of female manga artists.

The group created “Cardcaptor Sakura”, famous as a leading work among moe manga featuring cute girls in Japan.

They have also started as a group sharing a common interest and progressed to commercial publication.


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People who love cosplaying gather at Comike to enjoy becoming characters of anime or manga completely.

A person may come to present and sell his self-published analysis and research on trains.

Another may offer a travel book based on his personal tour of various restaurants serving meat dishes.

Comic Market is an important festival for various elements of subculture other than anime and manga.


Tokyo Olympics will be held only once in 2020, but Comike is held twice every year.

Thus it probably won’t pose a serious problem if Comike is cancelled during the Olympics in 2020.

But as a fan of Comike, I cannot help but feel sad to tell the truth.

If it is possible I would like to see the event held during the Tokyo Olympics and have foreign visitors coming from abroad also experience and enjoy Comike.

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Berial the Demon

About the author

It has been over 40 years of reading manga in the deep world of manga. Japan’s manga has an endlessly wide variety of genres. I will be recommending special manga for you to read from such infinite amount of works.

View all articles by Berial the Demon