The Yomiuri Online today reports that the Metropolitan Boueki Kaikan Taitou building in Asakusa, the site of several dozen small doujin events each year, has closed its doors to adult doujinshi – perhaps for good. The Yomiuri article cites investigation of the content sold at Abnormal Carnival as the reason prompting the closure (declaring it “judged as an unfit use of public space”), but apparently it’s not just ABC that is affected: Queen’s Coliseum II has been contacted, and we can assume that other near-term events have as well. This development has the potential to put a serious dampener on the niche doujin scene that had depended on the facility for space, and while other privately owned locations are no doubt available for rent it is unclear in what form such events will survive. I’ve sold there as a circle myself on two occasions and been there as an attendee many more, and I’m going to miss the place… we’ll be keeping a very close eye on this situation as it develops. Update: further details below:
Further investigation reveals that on October 16th, the Touhou-only Touhou Fuhai Komachi event staff were informed by the Boueki Kaikan facility that doujin with adult content would not be allowed to be sold on the premises. Why other events were not also notified at that time is unclear, but on that same day doujin news blog At-Mark Increment compiled a list of future doujin events currently scheduled to take place there and that would also ostensibly be affected by the ban; as can be seen, the list is rather extensive (though only perhaps a third will be substantially affected by the loss of adult content).
Pulling back from the alarmist / conspiracy theory tone a bit, it’s likely that this action is not connected to other recent censorship activity and is merely the result of some long overdue bureaucratic oversight of the use of public facilities. The Taitou building is owned by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and I don’t know many taxpayers who would be happy to have futanari doujin sold on the floor above a flower arranging seminar; that said, I hope an alternate private location can be found soon so us deviants can congregate without fear of eviction.