In this study, I analyze Comic Market (Comike) as an object of anthropological research on the basis of Foucault’s concepts, ‘event’ and ‘eventualization,’ and trace discontinuity and rupture in the over 40-year history of Comike in terms of ‘archeolo ...
In this study, I analyze Comic Market (Comike) as an object of anthropological research on the basis of Foucault’s concepts, ‘event’ and ‘eventualization,’ and trace discontinuity and rupture in the over 40-year history of Comike in terms of ‘archeology’ in a Foucaultian meaning. (1st year) Also, I illuminate the dynamics of Comike as ‘real’ event with specific temporality and speciality, through contemplating the way that various subjects participate in Comike as a field where a ‘virtual’ community comes true on the basis of my fieldwork research. Finally, I explore the reasons of discontinuity and rupture in the recent history of Comike since 2000s, in terms of the change in the relationship between the mainstream society and otaku culture in contemporary Japan and the changes in Japanese Otaku cutlure caused by its globalization.
In other words, I approach Comike itself as ‘event,’ not considering it the byproduct of hidden structure or historical necessity, but focusing on the power, temporality, and memory embedded in Comike as ‘event.’ While Comike is truly one of the representative events of Japanese Otaku culture, it is interesting that Comike has shown its own characteristics, differentiated from those of other otaku events in Japan. For example, Comike is almost the only event in Japan, 1) which has been managed and maintained by volunteer staff without pursuing profits, 2) has comprised both male-oriented and female-oriented contents, which is rare, and 3) has included various types of participants, from amateur artists to contents industry companies. From thie point of veiw, the maintenance and management of Comike itself is truly an ‘event’ in the context of Japanese otaku culture. Moreover, this kind of diversity and heterogeneity embedded in Comike has caused continuous competitions and debates on the changes in the history of Comike (the issue of ‘freedom of expression’, the change of gender ratio in its participants, and the social pressure on the problems of event venues, etc.)
2) It seems certain that there have been changes in the perspectives of Comike Committee since 2000s, on the basis of my two-year fieldwork and participant observation on Comike. There are several cases showing this tendency. For example, Comike has been focusing on the co-operation with foreign otaku events and amateur artists and their works in 2000s, through setting the booth introducing foreign otaku events in the Comike venue, and increasing their co-operation with IOEA (International Otaku Expo Association); the themes of Comike Special (a special event organized by the Comike Committee for every five year) has changed into focusing on the relationship between the mainstream society and Japanese otaku culture over recent ten years (2010/2015).
Until now, this kind of changes in Comike tends to be interpreted as the byproduct of COOL JAPAN policy by the Japanese government. From my perspective, however, it seems that these changes are more related to discontinunity and rupture embedded in Comike, following and reflecting the change in the status of otaku culture in contemporary Japan.