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Comiket 2019 – the Best Comic Market and Festival in Tokyo!

Onomatopoeia

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When I watch a news program on TV, I often hear TV reporters cover the excitement of people who gather up at the site of a local festival or live concert. Their reports often start with a comment: “We are full of great excitement here. Can you feel it?”

The excitement of people who visit Comiket – one of Japan’s most large-scale biannual (in August and in December) subculture event held in Odaiba, Tokyo, is so great that you can both feel and “see” it. Look up at the ceiling of the Tokyo Big Sight convention center, where about 35,000 exhibitors called Dojinshi Circles make a sales pitch each for their self-published books, magazines or other items. You will probably be able to see a misty cloud floating over them. This cloud-like phenomenon is called “komike-gumo” or Comiket clouds.

Comiket attracts over half a million fans of manga, anime or other otaku items. The heat and sweat from such a large number of people in the building create a large amount of moisture, which moves up to the ceiling. The evaporated moisture is cooled down by the air from the high-powered air conditioning system. This is how the Comiket clouds are believed to be formed. Well, they seem a little smelly.


Image courtesy of Guilhem Vellut

What is Comiket?

Comiket was started in 1975 by some university students for the purpose of selling their self-published fanzines for manga. Since then, it has evolved to become a large-scale event that represents Japanese subculture. It deals with almost everything that tickles otaku people’s fancy, ranging from fan-fictions or fan-art works to items offered by popular celebrities or big companies.

Summer Comiket and Winter Comiket

You can join this event twice a year once in August and December respectively. Comiket held in summer, called “Natsu-Comi”. Natsu-Comi is a three days long event during the weekend before the Obon holidays (8/13-8/15) start. Comiket held in winter is called “Fuyu-Comi”. You can join it three-day, between 12/29 and 12/31.

However, since 2019 the market will last for four days, both in summer and in winter!

Image courtesy of Taichi

Comiket takes place in the two separate exhibition halls – East Hall and West Hall, at Tokyo Big Sight. If you want to go to commercial booths, the West Hall is your destination. Head to the East Hall and wait in a long queue when you look for fan-books, fan-art works or other rare goods. This is a typical phenomenon that makes you understand what a crowded event Comiket is. Anyway, you should know that there is a long queue for almost everything, so be prepared for this situation.

The East Hall Dojinshi Area in Comiket runs from 10 am to 4 pm. To get something from popular Dojinshi booths, you need to get up early enough to take the first train and have the guts to queue for some hours until the opening time. But policies established by the Comiket Steering Committee forbid participants from waiting all night to enter the event site considering a possibility of disturbing the neighborhood.

Image courtesy of Guilhem Vellut

Comiket Catalogue That Navigates the Event

Comiket issues the Comiket Catalogue that contains detailed information about each event beforehand. It is available in a booklet format or in CD ROM. If you want to buy something at the event, the Catalogue is necessary to take with you to check who is going to participate in the event as a fan group. It is also useful to make a list of commercial booths for you to buy goods from and to come up with some efficient routes that facilitate moving around the event site so that you can avoid the crowds. For this reason, I would say that you should get the Catalogue in advance.

The Catalogue has a four-page basic guide for people attending Comiket, sellers or buyers, written in English, Chinese and Korean. The Comiket participation guide can be also downloaded in the catalog section of its website, which is written only in Japanese. So you should learn Japanese to some extent to understand what the Catalogue says.

The Catalogue costs around ¥2,500 a copy. Catalogs are sold at bookstores or anime-related shops, but they are also available onsite for the benefit of “walk-in” visitors.

Image courtesy of Taichi

For Cosplay Lovers

If you want to cosplay as your favorite anime character, Comiket will welcome it. However, make sure to come to the event site in plain clothes and then register yourself as “Comiket certified” cosplayer. It is not until this registration procedure is done that you can use the changing area. The registration costs ¥1,000 each day during the four-day event. Please be a decent cosplayer. It goes without saying that you should avoid wearing what looks risqué or may cause injury to others.

If you want to take photos or film footage of cosplayers, make sure to get permission from them. Comiket provides a public square for cosplayers and photographers for the purpose of promoting interactions between them.

Image courtesy of Guilhem Vellut

Details and Access

Dates:  9th – 12th August and 28th – 31st December 2019

Place: Tokyo Big Sight

Address:  3 Chome-11-1 Ariake, Koto, Tokyo

Official website: https://www.comiket.co.jp/index_e.html

Access:

Tokyo Big Sight is seven minutes’ walk from Tokyo Big Sight Station on the Rinkai Line, which runs between Osaki Starion on the JR Yamanote Line and Shin Kiba Station on the JR Keiyo Line. New Transit Yurikamome, no-driver transit system entirely controlled by computers, is another railway available to reach the destination. Kokusai-Tenjijo-Seimon Station is the nearest to the convention center.

 Closing Remarks

To help foreign participants in Comiket, the International Desk serve as a help desk to provide them with helpful information. Feel free to ask for help if you need to. Hope you will enjoy this event and it will make you very excited!

If you would like to visit this outstanding event end explore Odaiba area with a friendly local guide, please check the banner below!

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Onomatopoeia

Have two kids. Teach English at an “eikaiwa” school more than a decade Love cake.

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