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    Blood Shortage in Japan Due to a Cancelled Convention

    No, this is not an Onion article. I couldn’t make this up if I tried. You see, twice a year, hundreds of thousands of people gather at Tokyo’s Big Sight convention center for Comiket, Japan’s largest gathering of dojinshi comic creators. According to a post from SoraNews, otaku would be so eager to be first in line that the mad dash to the convention center would be an event in and of itself.

    A peek inside Comiket

    Typically the Japanese Red Cross Society has held a blood drive at Comiket for the past several years and, interestingly, the otaku community have been really generous donors. Granted, this could be because the Red Cross gives donors an exclusive anime character poster for their cooperation. But regardless it’s a good trade off; someone gets blood that they need, and an otaku gets exclusive anime merch. The response to the blood drives at Comiket has been so positive that nearly 30 mobile blood donation buses are dispatched to the event every year.

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    Japan Red Cross Mobile Unit

    But everything changed when the coronavirus attacked. 

    Due to COVID, the Comkiet event which was scheduled for May 2020 had to be cancelled. Additionally, the December Comiket had to be pushed back until May 2021. Without the otaku to provide the blood that they need, the Red Cross fell far below its target in blood donations for Tokyo and the Prefectures of Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba between April and November. 

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    To be exact, the Red Cross collected about 45,700 fewer 400-mililiter donations than it was aiming for and this caused the blood transfusion reserves to dip to 80 percent of their ideal levels.

    In short, this means that there’s a blood shortage in Japan. 

    Sample images of prize posters, Courtesy of SoraNews 24

    Needless to say, this is a bad situation. Although it would be hard to make up the deficit right now, there is a way for otaku to help out and donate blood. Between December 30 and January 31, the Red Cross will be rewarding people who donate 400-milliliters of blood at its permanent blood donation centers with a poster set featuring virtual YouTuber Kanata Amane and BanG Dream band Argonavis.

    Sources: NHK News WebJ-Cast NewsJapanese Red Cross Society, Sora News 24

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