Friday, December 25, 2020

Otaku and the Struggle for Imagination in Japan

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Galbraith, Patrick W.

Otaku and the Struggle for Imagination in Japan

Durham: Duke University Press, 2019

If you have any interest in Japanese fan culture this work is a must read. Galbraith has incorporated years of research experience into this study of otaku culture. The volume focuses on a particular type of otaku, the male otaku from the anime fandom and dōjinshi culture that stated in the 1970s, through the development of Akihabara into an otaku holy land, the development of maid cafes and related businesses. What I found especially informative is that he covers what this meant to otaku themselves. The struggle part of the titles involves the often negative reaction to otaku in mass media, the police crackdowns on public performance in Akihabara, and attempts to turn the phenomenon into tourism and product promotion while shutting out the "weird otaku" from the process.