Gataket

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Doujinshi Convention
Name: Gataket (ガタケット)
Dates: January, March, May, July, August, November
Frequency: 6 times per year
Location: Niigata Sangyou Shinkou Center, Niigata City, Japan
Number of Booths:
Focus:
Other Activities:
Organization:
Founded By: Fumihiko Sakata
Founding Date: January 8, 1983
URL: Gataket.com
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Gataket (gataketto, ガタケット) is a doujinshi convention that takes place six times per year in the city of Niigata, Niigata prefecture, Japan. The name is a contraction of "Niigata Comic Market".[1]

The convention is open to all fandoms. Like most doujinshi conventions (with the notable exception of Comiket, which has entirely free entry), Gataket requires that visitors show a catalog purchased in bookstores or at the convention site before they can enter. Circles pay a participation fee to get a space. These days most editions of Gataket are preceded by an edition of Cosplay Gataket, a cosplay-only event.

Like Comiket with Comiket Service, Gataket also operates a physical doujin store called Gataket Shop (ガタケットSHOP) that handles consignment sales for doujin circles and printing services. The shop also has an online component (Japanese only).

Prominence of Gataket

Gataket is seen as an important convention both locally and for Japanese doujin fandom in general. It is one of the most prominent of Japan's so-called "rural conventions" (chihou sokubaikai, 地方即売会), doujinshi conventions that take place outside very large population centers like Tokyo and Osaka.

Participation numbers issues

In the past few years, Gataket's falling circle participation numbers have cast a spotlight on possible troubled times for "rural conventions". While Gataket once welcomed over 2000 circles, participation is currently at less than a thousand circles per edition.

Fumihiko Sakata traced the troubles back to 2007 and 2008, when two successive editions of Gataket had a significantly lower attendance than usual. A 2007 earthquake in Niigata and the worsening of the prefecture's economic situation after the Lehman shock may have lain at the root of these editions' problems.[2] Still according to Sakata, personal financial difficulties allegedly caused numerous circles who would otherwise have participated to skip Gataket.[3] Sakata also speculated that Pixiv and other online hubs for fans may be influencing Gataket's declining participation numbers, and that circles' increasing focus on sales through doujin shops may be a factor as well.[4] The convention took another financial hit when Gataket 114, scheduled to take place in March 2011, had to be cancelled because of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.[5]

Before Gataket 121, Sakata made a candid blog post in which he explained the convention's financial troubles and asked circles to support Gataket by participating in the next edition. After his appeal, the number of participating circles jumped from around 500-550 to 860 (plus 183 circles who participated via consignment sale).[6] Although a far cry from the convention's record participation numbers, the edition was hailed as a success. Still, the future of Gataket remains uncertain.

References

  1. Gataket (ガタケット). Wikipedia. Last visited 14-8-2012.
  2. Hiruma, Takashi. Manga Ronsoh 7, p.28
  3. Hiruma, Takashi. Manga Ronsoh 7, p.31
  4. Hiruma, Takashi. Manga Ronsoh 7, p.32
  5. Hiruma, Takashi. Manga Ronsoh 7, p.28. Although Niigata and most other doujinshi convention locations in Japan sustained no damage from either the earthquake or the tsunami, numerous conventions scheduled for March 2011 were still canceled or postponed because of concerns over possible damage to venues, uncertainty about the developing situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, or to show respect for disaster victims.
  6. Hiruma, Takashi. Manga Ronsoh 7, p.28-29