The Comic Market event (also known as Comiket) in Japan is a major convention for otaku. In 2019, 750,000 people attended during the four days it took place, which was a new record. But if people thought the next Comiket would break records again, they weren’t anticipating COVID.
Since then there have been multiple attempts to have another Comiket, but they kept getting called off because of concerns over COVID. An event with 750,000 people isn’t exactly great for social distancing, and the Japanese government has been putting out different and changing levels of rules on how best to prevent the spread of the virus.
In August, Comiket put out this statement: “While there still is a high degree of uncertainty, with infections again on the rise, we are today announcing our plans for Comic Market 99 in 2021 Winter, given the necessary time for preparations such as application by circles, looking at the effects of vaccination, and the increase in cases in recent weeks, we are trying to predict the situation a few months into the future. Therefore, we can’t deny the possibility of another postponing, in case that vaccination does not sufficiently improve the situation by the end of the year. However, if we don’t plan and start with preparations now, there will certainly be no Comic Market.”
In their latest announcement, on November 12, Comiket said they’re still on for this winter, but they are putting in specific guidelines to keep people safer. If someone wants to attend, they must bring proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test. Comiket will also not be allowing just anyone in, even if they have one of these things, because gatherings are still restricted. They will be giving out passes through a lottery as opposed to a “first come, first served” basis.
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, and its sequel, Manga Art for Intermediates, with professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.