As I mentioned on Twitter earlier, in a tweet that got retweeted like nobody’s business (even William Gibson retweeted it!), it was announced today that the Tokyo International Anime Fair, or TAF has been canceled. This comes a surprise to pretty much no one–it’s hard to imagine so many people getting together for such a happy, cheerful event when there’s so much serious stuff going on in the country (though as I mentioned yesterday, it’s not nearly the widespread doom and gloom that the foreign medias seem to be portraying.)
It is a disappointment, as we’ve been attending for years and our booth for Otakon has always been a blast. It regularly turns into a little American Embassy; at any given time you can find voice actors, friends from Japanese Animation Studios, representatives from most American conventions, and even our friends from Anime News Network set up in the corner posting live from the show. (We’re listed on their rundown of Anime/Manga/Game Industry checking in after the quake, under “Japan Based” ♥)
A number of our friends are now scrambling to rearrange and even cancel their flights, which is also disappointing. It’s understandable, especially in light of the US Department of State Travel Alert but we still don’t feel any need to leave Japan or even Gunma as some people have been.
Tokyo Anime Fair 2011 was already struck with controversy and complications, and there’s no word as of yet from their rivals, the Anime Contents Expo in Chiba as to whether or not they will cancel. Anime Contents Expo was arranged in protest of the Healthy Development Ordinance, a major proponent of which is Governor Ishihara of Tokyo, who also happens to be head of the executive committee for TAF.
It’s been interesting watching the responses on Twitter. As mentioned in the above article, Ishihara said some pretty horrible things, and the Twitter hashtag of #ishihara_damare popped up. This essentially means “Ishihara, SHUT UP!” This has been an oddly popular search term bringing people to my blog recently, so if you’re wondering what it’s all about, there you go!
On a more positive note, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano has been showing up as a pillar of strength and communication. It seemed that he hadn’t slept for the entire weekend, prompting the popular retweet along the lines of “Edano has been awake for 105 hours. That’s more than 4×24. Edano is Japan’s Jack Bauer!” and the hashtag of #Edano_nero. The “o” ending is a forceful imperative, basically telling him “Go the hell to bed!” and “Get some damn sleep!” Poor guy has been looking absolutely exhausted, but seems a bit more rested today.
The tweets seem to have a distinctly positive spin though, as people seem to appreciate the dedication he has shown. Prime Minister Naoto Kan hasn’t been quite so lucky though, his hashtag of #kan_okiro is more along the lines of “Kan, Wake the Hell Up!”
So we’re disappointed but not surprised that TAF is canceled, and hope to see our friends in the near future, even without the events going on. And if you ARE still coming, don’t forget to let us know, so that we can hang out!