Despite the anti-Japanese sentiments that has caused many Japanese companies to scale down their presence in China, the International Comic and Animation Convention (ICAC) recently held in Beijing was a huge success, with a turnout of more than 80,000 people.
The anime and manga event was held from December 1 to 9 at the Xiedao International Exhibition Center and was sponsored by the Ministry of Culture of China, the People’s Government of Beijing, and the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. Due to the ICAC’s determination and hard stance against pirated copies, the convention attracted 500 companies from 50 countries, including major Japanese anime and manga companies. Participants were treated to exhibits featuring the works of manga icons Osamu Tezuka and Takao Saito. Detective Conan anime director Kobun Shizuno was available for a panel discussion and autograph signing. Screenings of the anime series Evangelion and the feature film Summer Wars were also made available to those attending the event.
The convention was a success despite some setbacks, such as being delayed from its original November schedule and scaling down of of programs probably due to the current tension between China and Japan. But while some Japanese companies have turned their attention to southeast Asia, China remains a big and growing market for anime and manga. Tohan Corp., a Japanese publisher working through its Chinese subsidiary, China Publishing Tohan Co., said that the Chinese were very appreciative of the efforts that made the event successful. Tohan is already making preparation for the second ICAC scheduled for October next year.