Japan Word of the Day #9 – Kabe Sakuru/Wall Circle (Doujinshi Term)


Comic Market is the biggest doujinshi convention in Japan. If you are planning to go to one, this would be a good word to know.

Today’s Word is: Kabe Sākuru (壁サークル)

In doujinshi term, each single booth that sells doujinshi or doujin merchandises at an event is called a sākuru (サークル), based on English word “circle.”

At the venue, circles are allocated in such a way so to give the smoothest access to visitors. Comic Market gets more than 500,000 visitors each time, so the arrangement of proper circles at appropriate locations is crucial to creating smooth traffic. Naturally, the most popular circles get locations where visitors can form long lines without blocking the flow of traffic. Where are those locations exactly?

Well, the answer is right up against the wall of the convention hall.
During the event, the roller shutter gates around the building are opened up so visitors can form lines outside the building, not blocking any of the traffic inside the building. Thus, circles that get wall locations are usually the most popular circles of all, and therefore calledkabe sākuru (wall circle)”. It’s a pretty good indication of a circle’s high status when you get this location.


Above picture is a line waiting to buy doujinshi from a single wall circle.

Also, some wall circles are located against the walls but not along the roller shutter gates. These circles get visitors to form lines of fans inside the building, but they still get more space than circles that get island locations, which are clusters of circles that are arranged in the middle of the hall with limited space. These circles are called “shima circle (島サークル).” Generally, circles that get island locations are not as popular as wall circles (exceptions exist of course).


This is a section of the floor map from one of the previous Comic Markets. Red line shows wall circles, and the blue line shows island circles.

As you can imagine, it is a gigantic event, so make sure to plan a route before you go to Comic Market! The next Comic Market will be held on December 29-31, 2013.


Image sources: Otakunikki, Shimasakuru, Comic Market

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