Akihabara Card Shop Puts Stinky Visitors on Notice

Akihabara Card Shop Puts Stinky Visitors on Notice

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Akihabara and Old Spice
Picture: まちゃー / PIXTA(ピクスタ)
A collectible card shop in Japan recently warned its patrons that if they can't control their smell, they'll likely be asked to leave.

One card shop chain’s location is asking visitors to mind their stench. The Akihabara location of Cardland has issued a statement via its Twitter account urging customers to bathe and apply deodorant before entering the store.

On May 19, the store’s account @cardland_akiba posted “Due to the rising temperatures, please take a bath before coming to the store.”

Cardland is located in central Akihabara and specializes in collectible card tie-in games related to anime such as One Piece, Gundam, Digimon, and many more.

The announcement stated that this request was particularly true in the case of tournaments, where a large number of people would be confined together in the store for a long period of time. The shop also stated that tournament judges have the right to remove players from the competition or ban them from competing if their smell is particularly unpleasant.

Another Tweet posted on the same day reminded tournament participants that wearing masks during in-store events was also still encouraged. [1]

Cardland’s Tweet Received Mixed Responses


Within three days, the Tweet had gained over 6000 reactions. Many commenters were sympathetic, recalling their own experiences with bad smells at card stores, gaming tournaments, and other locations both in Akihabara and elsewhere.

Others complained, citing that they could not always control the smell, especially during Tokyo’s notoriously hot summers. Some pointed out that constant showers, visits to onsen and public baths, and frequent loads of laundry were expensive, and that keeping the stink away could be financially difficult.


A third category of commenters chimed in with helpful tips for keeping bodies and clothes clean and fresh-smelling at all times. These tips encouraged people to keep their living spaces clean and utilize bleach when washing their clothes.

Other shops have begun to follow Cardland’s lead. Another Akihabara-based card store, Torayabasu, posted a similar announcement on May 25. Theirs was arguably stricter, stating the store clerks had the right to determine if any customer’s smell was unpleasant and address them or remove them from the store in response.

As with Cardland’s Tweet, this announcement was met with mixed responses, some supportive and others complaining that the new rule was unnecessarily strict. [2]

Both stores stood by their decisions, with Cardland even finding a way to begin proactively addressing the issue. Thanks to their Tweet’s popularity, the store received a large amount of free samples of Oxi-Clean. According to a Tweet made on May 27, Cardland will begin handing out these samples to tournament participants at no cost on a first-come, first-serve basis.

カードランド秋葉原店@ONE PIECEカードゲーム取り扱い! on Twitter: “【店舗からのお知らせ】なんと!!!こちらのtweetを見られた”株式会社グラフィコ”様より、オキシクリーン(@OXICLEANJP)の試供品を頂きました!大変感謝です…!!!こちら、お買い物された方や大会参加された方に先着でお配りさせて頂きますので、是非ご利用頂ければ幸いですm(_ _)m https://t.co/UflloMxfKq pic.twitter.com/lrbkmTHH82 / Twitter”

【店舗からのお知らせ】なんと!!!こちらのtweetを見られた”株式会社グラフィコ”様より、オキシクリーン(@OXICLEANJP)の試供品を頂きました!大変感謝です…!!!こちら、お買い物された方や大会参加された方に先着でお配りさせて頂きますので、是非ご利用頂ければ幸いですm(_ _)m https://t.co/UflloMxfKq pic.twitter.com/lrbkmTHH82

Smell Remains An Issue In Gaming-Focused Spaces

Akihabara, Tokyo’s “otaku Mecca,” is not the only place where less-than-pleasant body odor has become an issue. Many Western comic, anime, and gaming conventions have issued warnings against smelly visitors.

The unpleasant smells at conventions in particular have become so notable that the stink has earned the nickname “con funk” among frequent attendees. Konami, the company responsible for the hit collectible card game Yu-Gi-Oh!, even added a clause about odors to its officially published tournament rules.

カードランド秋葉原店@ONE PIECEカードゲーム取り扱い! on Twitter: “【店舗からのお願い】急に気温が上がり、温かくなってまいりました。それに伴い、不衛生な状態でご来店される方が少数ではありますが見受けられました。特に大会の場合は長時間同じ空間にいることになりますので、ご参加の際は入浴等を徹底して頂き、清潔な状態でご来店頂けるようお願いいたします / Twitter”


The issue is a delicate one. Many individuals who struggle with body odor and cleanliness have found safety in counter-cultural spaces such as the gaming or card-collecting community. However, odor becoming an issue can cause stores like Cardland to suffer financially as other people refuse to shop there or attend events due to smell-related problems.

In general, keeping clean and smelling nice is important, especially if you are going to be in a small space with several other people for hours at a time. You want to win that card or gaming tournament because you’re the best player, not because your smell drives all the other competitors away!

Meet Clara, The New Otaku Women’s Gym


[1] Cardland Akihabara Twitter account. https://twitter.com/cardland_akiba

[2] Livedoor News. 秋葉原のカードショップに「不衛生客」 店が「入浴等の徹底」呼びかけ「清潔な状態でご来店を」 https://news.livedoor.com/article/detail/24285748/

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Kay Benton

Kay is a longtime Japan enthusiast and former participant in the JET Program. Their favorite thing to do when traveling in Japan is visiting as many onsens as possible.

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