Nico Nico Douga becomes reality for two days

by Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writer

Dwango Co. kicked off a two-day event Saturday that aims to turn the online world of video-sharing site Nico Nico Douga into physical reality.

The first day of the annual Nico Nico Chokaigi event hosted by the video-sharing giant drew a variety of people to Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba, ranging from Internet geeks and cartoonists to Japanese and U.S. military personnel, and even Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Many of the booths and stages at the event were aimed at turning the site’s popular online activities into real-world events. For instance, since singing and dancing videos are often shared on the site, booths were provided to let people participate in an actual song and dance competition.

Abe made his entrance in the afternoon, greeting the packed crowd with words of thanks for the support he’s getting online. “From the upcoming Upper House election, we can use the Internet for the campaign, which means we can fight together,” Abe said.

Abe said he started using Facebook last year and feels that the great online support allowed him to return as LDP leader.

Nico Nico Douga, which had 29.46 million registered users as of last September, also provides live streaming and movies on demand services. Since it has millions of young users, companies, political parties as well as the Self-Defense Forces are participating in the event to appeal to youngsters.

Dwango started the two-day Nico Nico Chokaigi event last year and drew about 92,000 visitors and 3.52 million viewers.