The organizers of Comic Market (Comiket), Japan’s largest event for selling self-published dōjinshi works, reported on Friday that four more people linked to the event tested positive for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The four individuals had been contacts with two Comiket staffers who were diagnosed with COVID-19 on January 4. Comic Market 99 ran from December 30 to 31 with restricted attendance, and those two Comic Market Committee members worked on December 30.
On the evening of December 29, six people, including the two staff members with COVID-19 and one additional staffer who tested negative, ate and drank together. Then, on December 31, the same three staff members and eight other individuals ate and drank together. Of these eight people, four tested positive for COIVD-19 – three regular attendees for Comiket and one person who did not even attend Comiket. Additionally, of the eight non-staff members at the gathering, two had also been present at the December 29 gathering, but only one of them tested positive while the other tested negative.
Three of the four individuals with COVID-19 had a fever on January 3 and tested positive on January 4-5. The remaining person was asymptomatic and tested positive on January 10.
Staff had been asked to refrain from social gatherings on the days surrounding the event. The organizers believe there is a high possibility of infection due to the behavior of those who were diagnosed with COVID-19. They have not received any further reports, but they are continuing to investigate and cooperate with authorities and plan to reveal findings in a timely manner.
The organizers of Comket announced on January 6 that two of the event’s staff members tested positive for the COVID-19.
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.
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 January 5, the committee has been tracing the contacts of the two members who tested positive for COVID-19 and are announcing 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.
Source: Comic Market