It looks like EVO Japan this year will be held in Fukuoka. I hope they don’t mind having fewer entrants than my locals.
Not too long ago, Markman tweeted out asking if people would still be interested in attending EVO Japan if it were held in a location other than Tokyo. Needless to say, there were very mixed opinions on the matter. However, as far as the poll responses go, a strong 70% of respondents answered yes, they would attend if the event were held outside of Tokyo.
Presumably this anecdotal evidence was taken as gospel, as we’ve recently been informed that EVO Japan will be held in the beautiful city of Fukuoka. Quite a bold decision, and one I feel a number of factors should have been considered in more depth before arriving at.
🤔 Would you attend an Evo Japan event even if it was held outside of Tokyo?— Mark Julio (マークマン) (@MarkMan23) 2018年6月8日
First of all, what would have prompted the decision to host this international event in a city other than the largest, the most accessible and the capital? The reason I’ve spotted the most is “Japan is more than just Tokyo“. This is definitely true and I wholeheartedly agree, but I don’t think it has anything to do with the topic at hand. The true reason is logistics.
The first EVO Japan in January 2018 was a spectacular event, but it wasn’t without its faults. Due to the unexpected number of entrants, the venue had to be changed last-minute, and spectating the final day live required purchasing very limited and pricey tickets. Furthermore, the organisation suffered a significant financial loss since they could not charge an entry fee. I don’t think it’s very fair to blame the organisers for this – there was simply no precedent to use as reference – but the problems were there and they were not trivial.
Hosting the event in Fukuoka solves these problems to an extent. There will be a lot more space, and booking out a large venue will cost much less than it would in Tokyo. However, doing so begets more problems than it solves. I’d also hazard to say it even defeats the purpose of EVO Japan.
One of the main reasons for having an EVO Japan was to give accessibility to a world-scale tournament for undeniably strong players in Asia who don’t have the means to travel to the US. As such, denying this accessibility seems to completely contradict the entire philosophy. Yes, Fukuoka is easier to reach than Vegas, but the argument that it’s more accessible than Tokyo for more players simply doesn’t exist. It’s not exactly a stone’s throw from many of the players’ residences.
With the majority of players located in Tokyo, even locals will need to travel quite a ways to reach the venue. I understand that this is true for EVO America, but the accessibility of both the location and the accommodation is orders of magnitude different, which leads me to my next point. Fukuoka isn’t somewhere you can just rock up to after breakfast from Tokyo and make it home before your favourite sitcom airs. Even locals will need to find a place to stay in Fukuoka since it’s not going to be a one-day event.
Finding good accommodation is Tokyo is already difficult for foreigners. Rakuten Japan has so many more offers than any English booking services, and even its own English counterpart. Unfortunately, a permanent Japanese address and phone number is required to make bookings through it, not to mention the entire site is in Japanese. And if you’re aware of the AirBNB situation in Tokyo, you can sure bet that it’s even worse in Fukuoka. Tokyoites are already looking into and booking out accommodation, and I’m sure I don’t need to explain that there are a lot of people in Tokyo.
In the first place, I feel like the decision was a little misguided. Despite its questionable meaningfulness, 70% is quite a solid sounding statistic. However, it pales in comparison to the 100% of people that would have attended if the event were held in Tokyo. Moreover, this isn’t even the main issue here. If you read the responses to the poll, you’ll see what I mean.
It was never a question of Tokyo vs Not Tokyo, it was always between Tokyo and Osaka. There’s a very strong indication that many of the yes votes were for Osaka, and that these people weren’t even considering the possibility of the event being held somewhere else. This seriously brings this “data” into question. The poll itself was simply a tool for falsely validating a decision that had already been made. If the question were “Would you want EVO Japan to be held in Tokyo, Osaka or Fukuoka?”, I can assure you the results would not be 70% in favour of Fukuoka.
I feel like I’m focusing a bit too much on the poll, though. It doesn’t really matter. The main point is that no one goes to Japan to go to Fukuoka. I’m sure a handful of vocal readers might be lighting their torches right about now, but I don’t intend to be demeaning, it’s simply a fact. It’s a popular tourist attraction for sure, but a day or two is all you need to see all of the sights.
If EVO Japan were held in Tokyo, internationals could come to compete in the tournament, then enjoy a holiday for two weeks. Now, people that want to do this, and even locals will need to pay for extra travel and accommodation to go somewhere they never wanted to. It almost seems like the players are being forced to indirectly cover the costs of the event since it can’t be charged to them directly. If it weren’t evident from my tone, I don’t think this is the best solution.
That being said, the decision has already been made and I don’t expect them to go back on that because some nobody on the internet complained about it. While on one hand I want the event to succeed because I think it’s great, on the other hand I want it to fail so that people realize that this was not a good decision.
In any case, I definitely won’t be attending this year, and I know I’m not alone. If you do intend to go, good luck and have fun. Otherwise, I’ll see you next year at EVO Japan in Tokyo.