Comic Market Considers Hours With No Charge If It Adds Entrance Fees for 2019, 2020

posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Staff wants to keep attendance accessible while addressing venue concerns

The organizers of Comic Market (Comiket), Japan's largest event for selling self-published dōjinshi works, revealed that they are considering having hours with free admission if the event changes to charging admission fees. The organizers announced in November that they are considering an entrance fee for their summer 2019 (Comiket 96) and winter 2019 (Comiket 97) events, due to the temporary change in venue.

Comiket preparation committee representative Kōichi Ichikawa said, "So that people who want to participate in Comiket no matter what can attend, we also want to make some hours that can be free to attend." Ichikawa hopes the policy changes can allow the event to be just in the black financially. He said that he does not want attendance to decrease with the new entrance fee, but concerns about the venue's capacity led staff to consider the fee.

Comiket ordinarily has no entry fee for general attendees, though attendees can purchase a catalog as a guide to the event. If the new system is implemented, general attendees who do not purchase a catalog will be required to purchase a wristband for entry. The existing pass for exhibitors and dōjinshi circles will also be converted into a wristband to allow for easy access between the two separate venues for the event.

The staff previously explained that these measures are being considered due to the increase in the cost of running the event for four days across two venues, and also due to the smaller floor space available, which the organizers predict will lead to fewer dōjinshi circles, fewer commercial booths, and less advertising. The staff also explained that the charge would be a safety measure to prevent congestion in the smaller area. The document noted that the staff is only considering the measures so far, and that it will officially announce any changes at a later date.

Due to renovations for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the event will have less space at its normal venue of Tokyo Big Sight in 2019. Comiket will still place the regular dōjinshi circles in Tokyo Big Sight's existing West Exhibition Hall and two areas in the South Exhibition Hall (now under construction), but the booths for commercial companies will be about 1.5 kilometers (about one mile) away, in the Aomi Exhibition Hall (now under construction) near the Rinkai train line's Tokyo Teleport Station.

Comiket 96 will expand to a record four days, from August 9 to August 12, 2019, and Comiket 97 will run from December 28 to December 31, 2019. Comiket 98 will run during the Golden Week holidays in April and May of 2020, instead of during the summer of 2020.

Comiket 94, held on August 10 to 12, drew about 530,000 attendees across all three days. Comiket 95 ran from December 29 to December 31 and set a new winter record with 570,000 across all three days.

Source: The Mainichi Shimbun's Mantan Web

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