Comic Market (Comiket) is the largest comic event in the world. With more than 30 thousand circles and half a million attendants participating, it’s not a miracle that the event is executed so well every time it’s held.
KAORI Nusantara senior editor Kevin Wilyan spoke with Comiket representative Kouichi Ichikawa about the nature of Comiket and the preparation it takes. The conversation that follows has been edited for length and clarity.
KAORI Nusantara (K): Thank you for your time with KAORI Nusantara. Nowadays Comiket is being visited by overseas participants. What is your opinion?
Comiket (C): There are two kinds of participants. First, the casual visitors, of course, that are increasing lately. Then, the circles, usually from East Asia, but recently we also received participants from Europe, Russia, and Brazil. We are grateful for that.
When it comes to casual visitors, I think it is already obvious, but the interesting part is the circles from overseas. Their books are written in Japanese; they put their best efforts to translate them. It is very interesting. Furthermore, when they come to Japan, they create a new kind of friendship, and they even stroll around together with others.
What’s required from overseas circles to participate in Comiket?
They have some requirements to fulfill. Of course, they first must understand the rules of Comiket. Then the circles must have an interesting point that made them unique. Another problem is the deadline of the form submission. Because the deadline is very tight, if they were late, it would cause a problem to us.
Another issue is communication. Almost all of our materials are written in Japanese. It’s challenging to communicate with us, but in the end, we can have a mutual understanding. Also, when they come to Japan, they must know what’s allowed and prohibited in Comiket.
What problems usually occur in sending the forms?
The registration mechanism for Comiket is a bit different than other events. You must have the hard copy of the form, fill it, and send it as soon as possible. There have been cases where the forms that have been sent didn’t reach us.
Outside of Japan, recently there are a lot of events like Comiket. What’s your take on the trend?
The events are growing too overseas, and I think the spirit is not very different than Japan. For example, the comic market in Brazil has grown from a very small event to comprised of about 500 circles today.
Have you heard of similar events in Indonesia?
Yes, I have heard about Comifuro (Comic Frontier). But I have never gone there. Of course, there are a lot of this kind of event overseas. Why are there so many participants at these events? It’s possible because they have read Japanese manga or watched anime, then they create their own comic, then share it on the internet. They do it again when a new season of anime started.
A lot of adult people still read comics today, and then they thought of something like, “Ah, I want to draw a One Piece-themed story, I want others to read it”. If people were to have similar feelings, of wanting to enjoy fun things together, the world would be at peace, wouldn’t it?
Overseas events have had their share of troubles. What is the secret that makes Comiket can run smoothly?
I think the measure is very simple. See if people are enjoying your event. What’s the merit of creating an event that people couldn’t enjoy?
Continued on the next page: the planning of Comiket