The organizers of Osaka’s Nippombashi Street Festa, which they promote as “Japan’s biggest cosplay event,” announced on Wednesday that they are canceling this year’s event due to concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. The 16th annual parade would have run in Nippombashi’s Den Den Town area (Osaka’s shopping district known for anime, game, and manga goods, similar to Tokyo’s Akihabara) on March 15. Over 200,000 people attend the outdoor event every year.
The event’s website will announce what people can do if they already bought cosplayer wristbands or photographer ID straps for this year’s event. Part of the “K Festa 2020 in Osaka” campaign at the neighboring Animate Osaka Nippombashi store chain branch is being revised, but it will still go on as planned. A talk show with voice actress Yuki Nakashima for Nankai Electric Railway will also still go on, but it has stopped accepting attendee applications, and regular attendees will not be allowed on that day. The Nipombashi Street Festa’s website will announce what will happen to the K: Seven Stories special collaboration goods that were to be offered at the neighboring Taito Station Osaka Nippombashi branch and Inouetake Shōten shop.
This year is the second cancellation in the event’s history; the parade was cancelled after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. An unexploded World War II-era bomb was excavated at a construction site next to the parade route in 2015, just five days before that year’s Nippombashi Street Festa, but the parade went on as scheduled that year.