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Asagaya Anime Street to Close After Failing to Draw Crowds

posted on by Kim Morrissy

Asagaya Anime Street, a government-funded anime-themed shopping district, will close at the end of February 2019. The official website posted an announcement that the district is closing down due to the end of its five-year lease.

Asagaya Anime Street first opened in 2014 as an attempt to bring anime consumers closer to Tokyo's anime production studios, many of which are located within proximity of Asagaya. When ANN visited Asagaya Anime Street in 2017, only anime studio Satelite's collaboration cafe Shirobaco appeared to be doing business. The rest of the stores had already closed down or were unoccupied.

Asagaya Anime Street in 2017

The Shirobaco cafe will close on January 20. The cafe is holding a final event on January 12 about the history of the establishment, which will feature numerous voice actors who have attended events at the cafe in the past.

Online newspaper Nikkei Cyzo published an article on Thursday with an explanation for Asagaya Anime Street's failure. Unnamed people who were involved in the development of Asagaya Anime Street admitted that, unlike popular anime hubs like Akihabara, they were forbidden from showing any erotic material in the shopping strip. The rent was high, and there were restrictions on the store designs placed on them by Japan Railway, which sponsored the project. Multiple stores indicated that they were not getting enough customers. By the time JR responded to their concerns, it was too late, and many stores were forced to close down preemptively.

Source: Asagaya Anime Street official website, Shirobaco cafe official website (link 2), Nikkei Cyzo (Takashi Hiruma)

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