Cosplay revelers and anime devotees took over downtown DC en masse this past weekend as they enjoyed the official gathering of the Otaku community, OTAKON 2022.
More than 40,000 people attended OTAKON 2022—a record-breaking number for the conference celebrating Japanese pop culture, making it one of the largest events held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. This figure was about 53% higher than last year’s attendance when the event returned from a COVID-19 pause. It also was 6,000 more people than OTAKON's prior largest conference in 2013.
“The health and safety of the Convention Center’s guests is our priority” said Samuel Thomas, interim president and chief executive officer of Events DC. “That is why over the past two years, Events DC invested in systems and protocols that promote well-being. We prepared for large events like OTAKON 2022 that bring thousands of enthusiastic participants and drive revenue to the District because we want to ensure our guests have a safe, enjoyable experience.”
The Walter E. Washington Convention Center is the first in the world to achieve the WELL Health-Safety Rating designation. The WELL Health-Safety Rating is an evidence-based, third-party verified rating for all new and existing building and space types focusing on operational policies, maintenance protocols, stakeholder engagement and emergency plans to address a post-COVID-19 environment now and into the future.
The Entertainment & Sports Arena and DC Armory also achieved this important recognition, confirming Events DC’s commitment to health and safety will extend beyond the pandemic.
OTAKON 2022 required masks and either proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or a negative PCR test.