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Akihabara—Tokyo's hobby heaven

Cultural Quintessence

Japan In-depth

Kateigaho International Edition

Kateigaho International Edition

KIE Index
photography by Chika Okazumi (BRAVO BRAVA), Masahiko Goda, Miyabi Tanaka, Keiichi Suto
text by Junko Kojima, Seiji Yamagiwa, Kei Kawamura

Index

From its post-war life as the place to buy electric goods, Akihabara (often abbreviated to its pet name, Akiba) has constantly moved with the times. It became Tokyo's commercial center for consumer electronics in the '80s, and through the following decade it morphed into an area specializing in computers and software. From the late '90s to the present day, it has become the world capital of otaku culture—the realm of obsessive fans immersed in some aspect of Japanese pop culture.
Last year brought more significant change. The opening of the Tsukuba Express("TX") rail line connected Akihabara with the city of Tsukuba, a major research hub and a fast-developing bedroom community. Business complexes with striking contemporary architecture have sprung up around the station. As these towers cast long shadows over the otaku town of small shops stacked in old multi-tenant buildings, one cannot help sensing the beckoning of a new era.
Anime, comics, games, "maids," and more...this is a place without peer around the world. It is the world of the otaku actualized. We invite you to visit the Capital of Hobbies.

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