Doujinshi Retailer “Tora no Ana” Shuts Down Stores

A pillar of the Japanese doujin community closes many physical stores.

【Aug 31st, 2022 Update Added】

On July 5th, Tora no Ana (TORANOANA Inc.) stated that it will be shutting down 6 of its company-owned retail stores. Stores in Akihabara, Shinjuku, Chiba, Namba, Umeda, and Nagoya will close on August 31, 2022. Only one store in Ikebukuro will survive the chop. The Ikebukuro store will continue its business, focusing on products that are oriented toward female audiences.

Tora no Ana closing sign
Sign explaining which stores are shutting down for good.

Why does Tora no Ana have to close down?

TORANOANA Inc. reported that its retail store business has been severely affected by the effect of COVID-19 since 2020. They further elaborate that they do not see any signs of the circumstances improving for them. But on the other hand, the company saw a drastic increase in sales from their online businesses. Both their online orders and their Fantia subscription platform saw massive increases in users.

Thus, the company has made the decision to focus on going digital.

Why did Tora no Ana decide to leave the Ikebukuro store in operation?

In an interview, Shinjiro Ayukawa (TORANOANA Inc. director) noted that the Ikebukuro store was the only retail store that was making a profit for the company. 

It’s interesting to note that the Ikebukuro store mainly features products that are meant for female audiences. Ayukawa stated, “Currently, about 80% of our of sales are from women“. He added that the regional uniqueness of Ikebukuro* has contributed to the Ikebukuro store’s consistent profitable records.

Otome Road
Otome Road is as busy as ever with strong support from women.

(*On’s Note: Ikebukuro has an area called “Otome Road”, which is a long stretch of road that has many stores that cater to BL (Boy’s Love) and things like 2.5D theatres.)

What are the effects of the store closure on artists?

Dan Kanemitsu (notable translator with 30+ years of experience in the industry, and a doujin creator himself) tweeted the following thread detailing the concerns about Tora no Ana shutting down stores:

 

Having less outlets for their works will inevitably decrease the exposure to potential customers and fans.

Given that Japan has been going through its seventh wave of COVID-19 recently and has recorded the most daily COVID cases in the world on July 27, other doujin businesses and events may be subject to further changes in the future as the pandemic continues.

Aug 31st, 2022 Update:

Hundreds of otaku gather to bid farewell as Tora no Ana Akihabara store closes its doors for the last time.

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