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Japan's Biggest Cosplay Event Canceled Due to COVID-19 Coronavirus

posted on by Egan Loo
Nippombashi Street Festa would have drawn over 200,000 to Osaka pop culture district

The organizers of Osaka's Nippombashi Street Festa, which they promote as "Japan's biggest cosplay event," announced on Wednesday that they are canceling this year's event due to concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. The 16th annual parade would have run in Nippombashi's Den Den Town area (Osaka's shopping district known for anime, game, and manga goods, similar to Tokyo's Akihabara) on March 15. Over 200,000 people attend the outdoor event every year.

The event's website will announce what people can do if they already bought cosplayer wristbands or photographer ID straps for this year's event. Part of the "K Festa 2020 in Osaka" campaign at the neighboring Animate Osaka Nippombashi store chain branch is being revised, but it will still go on as planned. A talk show with voice actress Yuki Nakashima for Nankai Electric Railway will also still go on, but it has stopped accepting attendee applications, and regular attendees will not be allowed on that day. The Nippombashi Street Festa's website will announce what will happen to the K: Seven Stories special collaboration goods that were to be offered at the neighboring Taito Station Osaka Nippombashi branch and Inouetake Shōten shop.

ANN covered the event in 2016, 2017, and 2018. This year is the second cancellation in the event's history; the parade was cancelled after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. An unexploded World War II-era bomb was excavated at a construction site next to the parade route in 2015, just five days before that year's Nippombashi Street Festa, but the parade went on as scheduled that year.

The Taipei Game Show organizers postponed the video game convention, originally planned from February 6 to 9, to this summer due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Nintendo confirmed that the outbreak is delaying Nintendo Switch units and accessories destined for Japan, and Bloomberg reported that the disease is "likely" to affect similar shipments destined for the United States and Europe in April.

Singer and voice actress Miku Itō postponed the three-city February 11 event for the Plunderer opening theme song due to COVID-19, although the single stil debuted a day later. Voice actress and singer Yui Ogura's "Valentine Day Party" event on February 15 required attendees to use masks, disinfectant, and special food-handling procedures. The Petit Asobi event on February 15-16 asked attendees to take countermeasures such as wearing masks and washing hands.

Bushiroad is canceling or delaying its sponsored events until March 19 due to the developing situation with the COVID-19 coronavirus disease. The Animax Musix organizers also announced that they are canceling the February 22 Animax Musix Nextage event due to COVID-19.

The A3! Season Spring & Summer anime's production committee cited COVID-19 on February 13 as exacerbating its existing scheduling issues that led to the remaining episodes being delayed to April or later. A Certain Scientific Railgun T anime staff has delayed episode 7 from February 21 to a later date due to the outbreak. The Infinite Dendrogram anime staff delayed episode 7 from February 20 due to the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak as well as production issues.

The Asteroid in Love anime delayed episode 7's February 14 airing to February 21 and replaced it with a recap "episode 6.5." Asteroid in Love manga creator Quro had posted, "I hate the virus..." on Twitter on February 7, but the anime's production committee did not directly cite the COVID-19 coronavirus as the reason for episode 7's delay.

Source: Nippombashi Steet Festa's Twitter account via Hachima Kikō

Update: The first reported cases of the COVD-19 coronavirus occurred in Wuhan, China in December, and then began to spread in varying rates and intensities across many parts of the globe through incubation in human hosts. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a world health emergency on January 30. As of Wednesday, the WHO reported that there are 75,204 infected individuals worldwide, with 74,280 in them in China and 73 official cases in Japan proper. (The Diamond Princess, a cruise ship docked in Yokohama, has an additional 542 infected individuals, but they are under quarantine aboard the ship.) 2,006 individuals have died from the disease in China. The WHO had reported only one death in Japan on Wednesday, but as of Thursday morning, two individuals who were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship have died in Japanese hospitals, bringing the total to three.

Update 2: Wuhan's spelling correct. Thanks, megazero.

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