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EVO JAPAN 2019 to take place in Fukuoka

Posted Jul 7 2018 at 11:45 (Sat)

The EVO championship fighting game tournament made its huge debut in Japan this winter, and while things may change a bit for its next season, the series will continue on to 2019.

Today, the EVO Japan comittee announced through its official Twitter that EVO JAPAN 2019 will take place in February 15-17. The event location will change from Tokyo to Fukuoka prefecture, located at the west end of Japan.

Announcements made today were only about the location and date; additional details will be released during EVO on August 3-5.

Today's announcement comes only a few months after Hearts United Group--the company begind EVO Japan-- disclosed in its annual report that the event made a loss of 124 million yen (approx. $1.13 million USD).
Location of Fukuoka prefecture

Fukuoka prefecture has a population of 5.1 million and ranks 9th in Japan, making it one of the larger metropolis in the country. However it pales in comparison to Tokyo's 13.8 million and its greater metropolitan area(*1) of 36 million, which accounts for a quarter of the country's total population.

Today's announcement brings to light the uncertainly of EVO's future in Japan and the question of how much of a budget cut it received for its 2019 tournament. The change in venue location will undoubtedly have an impact on attendance figures--particularly for walk-ins and spectators, which then can come as reason for manufacturers and publishers to opt out from having merchandise booths.

EVO Japan is still a new investment for the Hearts United group, which seems to be testing the waters and searching for an optimal method of running the event. At the current time, the event collects no entry fee from contestants to circumvent possible collisions with gambling laws that can be interpreted differently by various local authorities, although seats were sold for the finals on day 3. A lower-cost tournament that relies mostly on VOD and advertisement sponsorship for income, which could be their next direction, could potentially come as their answer.
EVO Japan 2017 - Photo by Cuedot Blog

Fukuoka is known for a number of things, most notably for their signature seasoned cod roe (fish eggs) known as Mentaiko, and their specialty Tonkotsu ramen featuring pig-bone soup.

In the fighting game circuit, top Street Fighter specialist Daigo Umehara is known for being a huge fan of Jangara Ramen, a Fukuoka-style ramen chain in Tokyo that offers Mentaiko over Tonkotsu ramen.

The 2018 anime "Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens" takes place in the region and both dishes appear frequently as favorites for the story's protagonist. The anime depicts 3% of the city population as professional assasins, which is highly fictional but stems from the region being famous as Yakuza territory. Fukuoka is also known as being about the only place in Japan where the police actually issues warnings on how to deal with grenades, which fortunately is covered by local insurance.
Poster image by Fukuoka Police Department official site
Mentaiko - Seasond cod roe (fish eggs), one of Fukuoka's specialties.

*1 Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama pref.

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