The organizers of Comic Market (Comiket), Japan’s largest event for selling self-published dōjinshi works, reported on Thursday that two of the event’s staff members tested positive for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Comic Market 99 ran from December 30 to 31 with restricted attendance, and those two Comic Market Committee members worked on December 30.
The two committee members took a PCR test for COVID-19 on January 4, and received the positive results the next day. The two had reported symptoms on January 2 and 3, which the committee said would indicate they were contagious with COVID-19 from December 31 onward. During that time, the two had close contact with one other staff member who worked on both December 30 and 31. That third staff member is not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, but is awaiting the results of a PCR test.
The Comic Market Committee reported that the two members who tested positive for COVID-19 and the third member who had close contact with them all stayed in the same hotel room. The committee has not confirmed any other infections or close contact linked to Comic Market 99.
Since Wednesday, the committee has been tracing the contacts of the two members who tested positive for COVID-19 and will announce their findings as soon as they can on the event’s website.
The committee emphasized that it has been following the basic policy against COVID-19 that the Japanese government’s Novel Coronavirus Response Headquarters issued on November 19, as well as other guidelines for event organizers, the metropolis of Tokyo, the Tokyo Big Sight event venue, and the DOUJIN JAPAN 2020 project. The committee also urged all Comic Market 99 participants to consult medical professionals if they have concerns or experience symptoms. It also asked any participant who learns of a possible infection to contact the committee.
The Comic Market Committee announced in August that Comic Market 99 will be an in-person event for the first time in two years. Comic Market 99 required attendees to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test.
Comic Market 99 controlled attendance by selling a limited number of general attendance tickets, each restricted to a particular area of the event. Prior to Comic Market 96 (pictured left) in August 2019, the event did not charge an entrance fee. (The event introduced an attendance fee for Comic Market 96 due to an increase in cost for running the event across four days in two different venues — a consequence of the then-upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics using the Tokyo Big Sight event space as a media headquarters.)
Comic Market 99 was originally planned for winter 2020, but was delayed to the Golden Week holidays in 2021 (which took place in April and May) due to the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation, and scheduling issues considering Tokyo Big Sight’s East Exhibition hall would remain unavailable until fall 2021 due to the Olympics. However, the Comic Market Committee postponed the event again in March due to COVID-19.
The Comic Market 98 event that was planned to take place from May 2-5, 2020 was canceled to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The event was planned for May 2020 instead of the normal August timeframe due to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics’ original schedule in July-August 2020.
The last in-person Comic Market event was Comic Market 97 in December 2019, which attracted a record 750,000 attendees across four days.