Trends in Japan > Pop Culture > Comic Cornucopia
World's Largest Comic Convention Opens Its Doors
(October 4, 2007)


Outside the Exhibition Center ©Comic Market Preparation Committee

The largest comic convention in the world, the Comic Market is a landmark event that showcases world-renowned Japanese anime, manga, and “cosplay” (costume play). Comic Market 72 took place at Tokyo Big Sight from August 17 to 19. Once again reeling in a multitude of participants and visitors, this summer’s event was especially notable for the number and variety of cosplayers in attendance.

Comic Market 72 Ends with a Bang
Known as “Comiket” to fans, the Comic Market is held twice a year in the summer and winter, drawing crowds of more than half a million visitors. A wide variety of people come together at Tokyo Big Sight during the convention, ranging from the diehard anime and manga fans known as otaku to cosplayers dressed up as their favorite characters and kamera kozo (camera boys), who enjoy taking pictures of cosplayers. Given the diversity of attendees, you might say that Comiket doubles as an expo for Japanese subculture.


Inside the Exhibition Center ©Comic Market Preparation Committee

Although increasing popularity has turned Comiket more mainstream in recent years, this summer’s event is in fact the seventy-second Comic Market, meaning the event has a surprisingly long history. Of all the things Comiket is known for, it is the colorful cosplay that tends to garner the most attention. As shown by events such as the 2007 World Cosplay Summit held in Nagoya on August 4 and 5, cosplay is now making waves the world over, which may account for the large number of people from foreign countries attending this summer’s convention.

The Comic Market originally focused on the sale of self-published manga known as dojinshi - independent, individually made works unavailable in stores. More than just indie comics, dojinshi are typically parodies of existing works, wherein self-published authors use characters from a popular manga or anime franchise or novel to write an original story or append the series with their own idea of a sequel. The most popular genre of dojinshi used to be yaoi, an acronym formed by combining the first syllable of each word in the Japanese phrase “Yamanashi, ochinashi, iminashi” (No climax, no punchline, no meaning). Yaoi was most popular for its depiction of established anime characters with alternative sexualities, especially male characters in a subgenre known as “boys’ love.”


Over 550,000 people attended the three-day Comic Market 72. ©Comic Market Preparation Committee

An Event Fueled by Love
With cosplay gaining popularity over recent years, the Comic Market has become a much more brightly colored place. But just why has donning the costume of your favorite anime character in public become such a common hobby? Perhaps the reason is that cosplay, much like yaoi, enables fans to experience what it would be like to be their favorite character. In other words, cosplay is a manifestation of affection for one’s favorite character. In that sense, the Comic Market may be considered a platform for expressing love.

The next convention, Comic Market 73, will be held at Tokyo Big Sight on December 29 to 31, 2007, and it is a sure thing that a new slew of cosplayers will use the winter expo to broadcast their love of manga and anime across the world.

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