Three Japanese women were pulled out to safety after finding themselves in a dangerous situation.

Twice a year, crowds of otaku and cosplayers rub shoulders at Comiket, the country’s largest indie manga, anime, game, and cosplay convention. 

Last weekend, the winter iteration of the event was held at Tokyo’s Big Sight convention centre, and while most people were well-behaved, respecting the space of participating cosplayers, one unfortunate incident came to light which had people around the world shaking their heads in disgust.

The incident, which occurred on the third day of the four-day event, involved three female cosplayers who were initially surrounded by a large group of male photographers with a safe distance between them. However, the decision was made to allow the photographers to get a little closer to the women, which turned out to be a terrible mistake, as the circle of men took it as a cue to swallow up the space between them, almost crushing the cosplayers.

In the crush to get near them, close-range upskirt photography ensued, prompting one of the cosplayers involved, Twitter user @chonachonawill2, to share a video of what happened, with the comment:

“Please take a look at the darkness of Comiket.”

As the above video shows, it’s not always smiles and respectful courtesy for cosplayers at Comiket. While things started off as usual in the beginning, with photographers keeping their distance from the women in cosplay…

In seconds the situation turned ugly, as the men around them took advantage of the chance to get closer to the women, overstepping boundaries with unwelcome advances.

While the women can be seen laughing in the video, they certainly weren’t happy with what happened, and @chonachonawill2 took a moment to add some context to the clip with this follow-up tweet:

“Q: Why was there laughter?
A: Because there was nothing to do but laugh.”

According to @chonachonawill2, the laughter seen onscreen was a nervous reaction to what happened, and she was actually fearing for her safety and thankful for staff nearby, who acted quickly, pulling the three of them out of the throng. 

“The ring around us was too large so there was an attempt to make it smaller but too many people had gathered so it was a mistake. It was frightening, but staff were quick to pull the three of us out of there. Thanks to them there were no injuries and we weren’t touched. We were safe. Next time there’ll be more staff.”

Twitter users were quick to agree that more staff should be employed to protect cosplayers at Comiket, condemning the men’s actions with comments like:

“This looks genuinely terrifying.”
“It’s shocking how all the men immediately point their lenses at the women’s lower bodies.”
“I’m appalled by how quickly people lose their manners at Comiket.”
“These men aren’t otaku geeks – they’re criminals.”
“They definitely need more security guards for cosplayers – safety ought to be paramount at these events.”

The video shared online proves that safety is indeed a concern that needs to be addressed for cosplayers at the event, and it’s not the first time for a cosplayer to be hounded by aggressive upskirt photographers either.

In August last year, one female cosplayer was left in tears after event staff had to step in and rescue her from a group of men who refused to comply with her requests to move further away.

With Summer Comiket now six months away, hopefully event staff will be examining the issue and employing extra security staff to ensure the safety of cosplay participants at future conventions.

After all, if the huge ring of photographers can be maintained around Japan’s number-one cosplayer, Enako, at Comiket every year, there’s no reason why other cosplayers can’t be protected with a safe distance from photographers as well.

Source: Jin
Featured image: Twitter/@66TBattery
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