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Nintendo events in Japan postponed, canceled due to threats

Nintendo reported threats to its employees, fans, and event staff

A Splatoon character with green hair spurts  green paint from a weapon. Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Nintendo is canceling several Japanese events due to threats, the company announced in a news release Thursday. Nintendo did not share details, except that the threats were “persistently” targeting Nintendo employees, event staff, and spectators. Nintendo Live 2024, scheduled to be held Jan. 20 to 21 at Tokyo Big Sight in Japan, has been canceled entirely, while the Splatoon Koshien 2023 finals, Splatoon 3 world championship, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe finals, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe championships have all been postponed until the company can “ensure the safety of our customers.”

Polygon has reached out to Nintendo, the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition center, and the Ota City General Gymnasium (where the upcoming Splatoon event was scheduled to be held) for more information.

Nintendo Live went international in September bringing the event to the United States for the first time. Held in Seattle, Nintendo held several tournaments and showed off Super Mario Wonder at the four-day event.

News of Nintendo Live’s cancelation comes as the trial for the devastating 2019 Kyoto Animation arson attack that killed 36 people and injured dozens more continues. It was one of the most deadly attacks in Japan in decades, and shook the country and its entertainment industry. In the aftermath of the Kyoto Animation tragedy, Japanese police have continued to respond to threats like these with “heightened seriousness,” according Japan Today. Several people who’ve threatened employees of both Sega and Square Enix have been arrested.

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