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Tokyo International Anime Fair canceled following earthquake

In the wake of last week’s devastating earthquake in Japan, organizers have canceled the Tokyo International Anime Fair, set for March 24-27 at the Tokyo Big Sight.

The announcement, made on the event’s official website, pointed to concerns about the safety of participants and attendees, given unstable transportation services and power shortages. Last year’s fair drew more than 130,000 attendees.

According to Anime News Network, the Tokyo Big Sight convention center, located on Odaiba island in Tokyo Bay, suffered unspecified damages during the quake.

This year’s fair, operated by the Tokyo metropolitan government, had been boycotted by a group of 10 manga publishers, including Shueisha, Shogakukan and Kodansha, following the passage of a controversial amendment further restricting the sale or rental to minors of manga and anime containing “extreme” depictions of sexual acts. As a result of the protest, the number of companies participating in the event fell dramatically, from 244 in 2010 to 161 this year.

Comics A.M. | Spiegelman wins Grand Prix, Borders delays more payments

Art Spiegelman

Awards | Art Spiegelman on Sunday won the Grand Prix at the Angoulême International Comics Festival, marking only the third time an American has received the honor (the other two were Will Eisner and Robert Crumb). “Considering my poor skills, I’m looking a little like the president Obama receiving the Nobel Peace prize,” he told the festival by telephone from the United States. Spiegelman will serve as the grand marshal for next year’s event.

Other winners at the four-day festival, which drew an estimated 200,000 visitors, include David Mazzuchelli for Asterios Polyp (Grand Jury Prize), and Naoki Urasawa and the late Osamu Tezuka for Pluto (Intergenerational Award). The full list of winners can be found here. [Agence France-Presse]

Retailing | The beleaguered Borders Group announced on Sunday that it’s delaying January payments to vendors and landlords in an effort to save cash while it tries to complete a debt restructuring. This marks the second round of delays for the bookseller, which has been pressuring large publishers and distributors to agree by Feb. 1 to convert late payments into $125 million in loans. The bookstore chain announced just last week that it secured a $550 million credit line from G.E. Capital, but only if several tough conditions were met — including an unlikely agreement from publishers. [The Wall Street Journal]

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