New anime fair launches

Tokyo event deserters create content fest

Eight companies that have pulled out of next year’s Tokyo Anime Fair (TAF) have set up a competing event, called Anime Contents Expo.

The new tradeshow is set to unspool March 26-27 at the Makuhari Messe event space, while TAF is skedded for March 24-27 at Tokyo Big Sight.

The companies organizing the new event include Aniplex, Animate, Kadokawa Publishing, King Records, Geneon Universal Entertainment Japan, Frontier Works, Marvelous Entertainment and Media Factory. In announcing Anime Contents Expo, the organizers said that while they recognize the “history and significance” of TAF, they oppose the push by the Tokyo metro government, a TAF sponsor, to pass a bill that would tighten restrictions on so-called excessive sexual depictions in toons and comics. Strongly supported by Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara, the bill threatens freedom of expression, opponents claim.

Anime Contents Expo organizers will reveal the details of the new event in January.

Earlier this month, 10 comicbook publishers, including industry powerhouses Kodansha, Shueisha, Shogakukan and Kadokawa, collectively announced their withdrawal from TAF, the biggest event of its kind in the toon biz, to protest the bill.

The publishers have since formed a group to both kill the bill and expand the boycott of TAF.

Held annually since 2002, TAF last year recorded 132,492 visitors and 244 exhibitors, including 59 foreign companies.

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