A Japanese Red Cross blood donation bus Photo: Wikipedia/BetacommandBot

Lack of blood from cancelled Comiket contributing to donation shortage in Japan

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Twice a year, massive crowds gather at Tokyo’s Big Sight convention center for Comiket, Japan’s largest gathering of dojinshi comic creators. Otaku are so eager to be first in line to drop wads of cash on their favorite artists’ newest works that their mad dash from the station gates to the doors of Big Sight has become an event in itself.

At least, that’s what happens in a normal year. The coronavirus pandemic caused the planned May 2020 Comiket to be cancelled outright, and the customary December iteration to be pushed back until May of 2021. That means there was no Comiket flow of otaku cash this year, and also no flow of Comiket otaku blood.

For the past several years, the Japanese Red Cross Society has held a blood drive at Comiket, and the otaku community has been remarkably generous with its hemoglobin. The Red Cross usually sweetens the deal by giving donors an exclusive anime character poster for their cooperation, and the response has been so positive that about 1,500 otaku make a standard-size 400-mililiter donation each Comiket, with organizers dispatching some 30 mobile blood donation buses to Big Sight.

But no Comiket means no Comiket blood drive, and that’s especially unfortunate since right now Japan needs blood donations. In a normal year, blood donation buses and other blood drives are actually a pretty common sight in downtown Tokyo, often with signs posted letting passersby know what blood types medical facilities are especially in need of. However, when the pandemic started picking up momentum in the spring, many people began working or attending classes online from home. At the same time, caution against large gatherings prompted the Red Cross to cancel many of its blood drives in Tokyo and its surrounding prefectures.

The combined result is that between April and November, the Red Cross fell far below its target in blood donations for the Tokyo and the prefectures of Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba, collecting roughly 45,700 fewer 400-milliliter donations than it was aiming for and causing its transfusion reserves to dip to 80 percent of their ideal levels.

While they wouldn’t have made up the deficit all on their own, 1,500 Comiket blood donors would have been a significant contribution. There’s still a special opportunity for conscientious otaku to help out this New Year’s season, though.

Photo: Japanese Red Cross Society

Until Jan 31, the Red Cross will be rewarding 400-milliliter donors at its permanent blood donation centers with a poster set featuring virtual YouTuber Kanata Amane and BanG Dream band Argonavis.

Related: Japanese Red Cross Society

Sources: NHK News Web, J-Cast News, Japanese Red Cross Society

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- “Drain me of my blood!” Otaku rush to donate for anime VTuber nurse

-- Controversial busty manga girl Red Cross poster’s artist donates blood

-- Comiket returns! Japan’s largest otaku convention announced for 2021 with new admission policies

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

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It is a big problem when a really necessary activity done by a socially responsible organization has to be cancelled in order avoid crowds, Japanese people are very generous with blood donations, but they are used to do it without having to go out of their ways, no blood drives means a lot of those easy to make donations are never made.

It would be much better if other much less necessary events were cancelled instead of the blood drives, but other organizations and business have different priorities.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It would be much better if other much less necessary events were cancelled instead of the blood drives, but other organizations and business have different priorities.

No money in blood donations for Dentsu...

9 ( +9 / -0 )

The difficulty for most foreigners is that all the extensive paperwork is in Japanese. Plus over age 67 is a no go. Why?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I’m banned from giving blood in many countries. I feel angry because I am healthy and had a blood transfusion before, so want to help others.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

All dressed up and nowhere to go.


0 ( +0 / -0 )

I donated three times last year, the maximum allowed. They always seem short of A Pos, so I’ll donate again as soon as I’m eligible.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It would be much better if other much less necessary events were cancelled instead of the blood drives, but other organizations and business have different priorities.

As made clear in the article, the blood drive was part of Comiket. They had to cancel Comiket because of the crowds. If they didn't you would be bashing them for prioritizing money over people's safety.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I wish they allow us europeans to donate, as long as no mad cow-related issues have ever been proven to exist.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Donating blood is good way to get a free COVID test if you are concerned as they test for all that. The next time I see a blood drive bus in front of my station I will stop to give as I have never had a problem them taking me. For the exception of the last time as my iron was low, and so, they refused me but that is very understandable.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I have a rare blood type, but was saved here in Japan by a special network of volunteer contributors some years ago.

Eternally grateful for that vital anonymous gift, the difference between death and life.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@sandy beech, it would be very simple to get it translated into English or other foreign languages, but will they?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Here too. I don't mind donating but my blood is considered dirty.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Offered to donate but was rejected -- anyone who travelled/lived in my country in the 80s is apparently inevitable because of mad cow.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Pukey2Jan. 2  07:43 pm JST

Here too. I don't mind donating but my blood is considered dirty.

I don't remember China as one of the list of countries that the red cross won't accept blood donations but I'm not quite sure.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Strange that if you're not Japanese your blood isn't pure. No wonder Japanese society is so inbred and paranoid.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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