Visiting Comiket 101 – the Experience
A post-pandemic return to the biggest otaku event in Japan.
This will probably be a controversial start, but it feels hard to be a manga, anime or doujin (fan-made content) enthusiast aka otaku without having visited Comiket in Tokyo, Japan. Comic Market, also fondly known as Comiket, is the oldest and biggest manga, anime & doujin event in Asia, having had 101 iterations since 1975.
Comiket 101, held at the Tokyo Big Sight (with its highly recognizable shape) from December 30th to 31st 2022, was pretty much the first that international attendees were able to attend following the relaxation of Covid-19 regulations in Japan.
Comiket is usually broken up into 3 specific areas which comprises of
- Commercial Booths – Large sized booths by commercial entities to showcase official content
- Doujin Area – 3 to 4 halls where artists booths are separated by type and genre
- Cosplay Area – Halls and spaces where cosplayers can pose for photos
Courtesy of the Comiket Management Committee, here’s a break down of the 2-day event by the numbers:
- Number of Visitors: 180,000
- Number of Doujin Circles: 20,000
- Number of Cosplay Registrants: 1,459 male, 3,864 female
Based on Wikipedia’s records, the numbers have not yet been reinstated to pre-pandemic levels where the event was extended to a 4 day run and saw a huge turnout of 750,000 attendees in total (approximately 187,500 people per day!). Comiket 102 which is slated for August 12th and 13th 2023 is expected to increase attendee capacity to 126,000 per day, which is the upper limit for the Tokyo Big Sight itself.
If you’re looking to experience the excitement, hype and organized chaos (actually very little chaos as everything tends to be extremely ordered and most attendees will adhere to the event rules) of a large-scale and structured convention – then Comiket is definitely one that you should not miss out on.
Do however be prepared with your wallet as well as your shopping list as the event only runs for about five hours each day which means you’d be severely pressed for time if you hope to browse through all the different areas and the massive number of artist booths – some popular booths can take upwards of an hour to queue for if you’re not in the line early.
If you’re just hoping to just people watch and catch some great cosplays, Comiket also offers that in droves against the beautiful Tokyo skyline as a backdrop and features cosplayers from Japan as well as international participants. Do note that if you plan to cosplay at Comiket, you can only costume up at the event itself and will need a special entry ticket to get access to the assigned changing rooms.
As for photographers, be prepared to spend some time queuing in an orderly line if you plan to capture some shots of popular cosplayers. Alternatively there are many other cosplayers about that you can ask to take photos of, just remember to ask before snapping.
Some of the cosplayers we saw at Comiket 101 – click on the captions to view their Instagram and follow them!
We’re definitely excited to head back this year for Comiket 102, especially to see if there’ll be more international visitors now that international travel has resumed at a breakneck pace. Do note that there is a ballot for entry tickets to Comiket for all days and international visitors buying from overseas will have a special platform in order to buy their tickets. Unfortunately this will omit you from getting the early entry or cosplay tickets so it’ll help if you have a friend who is living in Japan to help you to apply for those tickets.
If you want a more visual look at Comiket 101, do check out our video highlight of the event here.