Long before online fan fiction and image-sharing sites like DeviantArt, Japan nurtured a universe of subculture creators and collectors. Anime, manga, SFX progams (tokusatsu) and video games have spawned generations of amateur "fan" artists (dōjin) whose annual output exceeds official releases and publications.

In 1975, one of those enterprising amateurs, the late manga critic Yoshihiro Yonezawa, co-founded the Comic Market (Comiket): a mix of meet-up and bazaar for fan-artists and fans to buy, sell, share and discuss their work.

The first event squeezed roughly 700 attendees into a conference room at Tokyo's Nissho Hall. For the 95th Comiket at Tokyo Big Sight convention center last weekend, a record 570,000 showed up.