Motaku will not be releasing a full schedule online this year, it will only be available in print at the convention. We have released a partial schedule of big events and some guest panels which can be found on the programming page here.
There are several reasons for this decision, including the large number of practical problems we have run into over the years, such as loading various formats of the schedule online and trying to get any of them to work with multiple devices and browsers, and the numerous requests after posting last year’s schedule for panels to move because people wanted to go to simultaneous events.
We had an incident last year which further leads us to not post a schedule this year, which brings up issues we feel are important and deeply rooted in who we are as a staff, and what Motaku is all about. The issues at the center of the incident were a prominent factor in the decision to found Motaku, and remains to be a feature of the convention which we feel strongly about.
Last year, shortly after posting the schedule online, our facebook page and email began to receive the same message, copy pasted, from various (though very few) senders. Given the number of messages we received, not many of our fans shared these concerns, but again, we want to take the time to publicly state our stance on this issue, so that potential attendees can decide if we are the right event for them or not. The message was:
“I am sending this message because I just received a copy of the schedule and I am discouraged to find such an abundance of hentai. My friends and I have enjoyed Motaku and it is our highlight of the year that we always look forward to, Regrettably though we cannot return to this con if this continues, we would love to support a festival around our favorite interest but we cannot support a body who publicly back up such perversion and moral degradation. Please reconsider, I don’t want this to be my last year at your great convention.”
We as a staff have several issues with receiving messages like these. Some in our staff find language like “perversion” and “moral degradation” personally insulting, given that Motaku was founded by a gay couple, and many of our staff also volunteer to run Ahn!Con, a local hentai convention focused on yaoi.
As a fan convention, the vast majority of Motaku’s programming is run by fans. Thus, if you are unhappy with any given year’s schedule, the best way to change it is to submit your own panels, and encourage others to do so as well.
We are also highly confused as to why last year was the first year we had complaints about adult programming, given that we had fewer hours of adult programming in 2013 than we did in 2012, and 25% more programming overall. Thus, there were far more alternatives to adult programming in 2013 than any other year in Motaku’s history.
Motaku has prominently featured adult programming and hentai showings since its founding in 2009, and adult programming was a key part of the decision for Motaku to exist. Many of the staff were disappointed by the complete lack of adult programming at other anime conventions. As a convention that strives to incorporate as many facets of Japanese culture as possible, we feel it would be deceitful to try and gloss over the existence of any adult experiences within that culture.
Additionally, we oppose the concept of doing so. We do not force attendees, volunteers, or staff to attend or staff adult programming, just as we do not force attendees to take part in ball jointed doll workshops, or cosplay panels, or any other specific genre of programming. If you do not like a certain fandom, you do not have to take part in it, but you do not have the right to deny that opportunity to people who are interested in it. We certainly have not received any letters calling for us to remove bronies or video gaming from our event, and definitely would not heed them if we did.
As a convention that exists for a fairly niche set of fans already, we strive to offer a place for like minded people to meet and interact without fear of judgement or hostility. As such, we are disappointed that some fans would rather pass judgment upon fellow geeks because of one specific subset of interests or let others’ interests prohibit them from enjoying the cameraderie and fellowship of any convention.
We hope you find understanding in this letter, and take it to heart. We hope you will stand beside us as a community and support us in our decision to offer adult programming. We hope you will enjoy your own specific interests, and let others be free to do the same.