Not content with a devastating boycott of the Tokyo International Anime Fair, the anime industry has announced it will be holding a new event, the “Anime Contents Expo,” on the very same day as TAF and in neighbouring Chiba’s Makuhari Messe.
The Kadokawa-led alliance of publishers and mangaka who initiated the boycott of TAF in disgust at the Tokyo government’s mistreatment of their industry seem to have sealed the fate of TAF for good:
As a result of our opposition to the new restrictions, our group was most regrettably forced to withdraw our participation from the Tokyo International Anime Fair, the committee chairman of which happens to be Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara.
However, we are most grateful to for the esteemed services of the Association of Japanese Animations in organising the event to date, as it has been exceedingly well received.
On the other hand, we must consider the needs of fans anticipating the fair, and the necessity of a place in which to unveil all the new titles of spring and summer.
As a result, we have settled upon a new event and a venue which should be spacious and convenient enough for all fans to attend – this event will be known as the “Anime Contents Expo.”
The event is to be held at Chiba’s massive Makuhari Messe convention centre, on the 26th and 27th of March.
By some extraordinary coincidence, these dates happen to be the same as those of the Tokyo Anime Fair.
The TAF organisers have so far expressed doubts over the future of the event, but have not cancelled it just yet – with no major anime or manga producers participating and another event mysteriously being held on the same dates, it seems rather unlikely they will get the 140,000 visitors they brag about.
The Makuhari Messe itself is Japan’s second largest convention centre, with Tokyo Big Sight (best known as the venue for Comiket) being less than 10% larger, so it seems both events will be similar in maximum attendance.
Chiba itself is not necessarily politically safe ground for the industry, but the options in the Kanto region around Tokyo are quite limited for events of any great size – Yokohama is run by an admiring disciple of Ishihara and has a centre only 20% of the size of of Big Sight, and nearby Saitama is very pro-anime but has no large convention centre either.
Further afield, Osaka has a centre on par with Big Sight, but is also stuck with a governor who has already copied and passed Tokyo’s ban. Nagoya has a cosplaying mayor and a convention centre almost half the size of Big Sight, which may yet prove useful if Chiba decides to bite the hand that feeds it.
Thus it would seem the Ishihara-induced anime exodus out of Tokyo has begun – it seems unlikely they will be able to return until Ishihara is out of office, which may be some time in coming considering that the people of Tokyo have in their great wisdom elected him to the office three times already.