A lot of 2020 events have been called off because of the coronavirus, but the one that stung the most for otaku in Japan was the cancellation of Comiket 98. The gathering of dojinshi independent manga creators, cosplayers, and various pop subculture enthusiasts was supposed to take place in May, but the pandemic put a stop to that, and also resulted in the soft cancelation/non-announcement of a winter Comiket for 2020, which would have happened in late December in a normal year.
On Tuesday, though, Comiket’s organizers officially announced that Comiket will be returning in 2021, to be held from May 2-5 at the Tokyo Big Sight convention center. However, just because Comiket will be returning to its traditional home doesn’t mean that it’ll be business as usual.
For starters, the organizers say there’s no way the upcoming Comiket will be able to be as big as the event usually is. 2019’s summer and winter Comikets each drew between 200,000 and 300,000 people daily, but Comiket 99 will only be able to admit a fraction of those crowds. The organizers say the cap will likely be “a few man people each day,” man being a Japanese numerical unit equal to 10,000. Because of that, not only exhibitors, but cosplayers and regular guests wanting to attend will likely have to submit to a lottery system in order to secure a pass. Attendance application will open on Nov 25 and run through De 8.
As a health precaution, exhibitors and guests will be required to wear masks that cover both the mouth and nose, with those failing to comply being denied entrance to the venue. The organizers are also asking that attendants install the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s COVID-19 Contact-Confirming Application (COCOA) contact tracing app on their phones and keep it running while at the convention.
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