Home Podcasts Japan Station Japan Station 30: Understanding “Otaku” and Akihabara w. Dr. Patrick W. Galbraith

Japan Station 30: Understanding “Otaku” and Akihabara w. Dr. Patrick W. Galbraith

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On This Episode of Japan Station

On this episode of the Japan Station podcast, we’re talking about “otaku,” the history of the anime “holy land” of Akihabara, and a whole lot more.

About Dr. Patrick W. Galbraith

Dr. Patrick W. Galbraith is a lecturer at Senshu University in Tokyo. He is one of the world’s leading expert on the topic of Akihabara and the related subcultures that are often associated with this famous district of Tokyo. Galbraith is the author of man y books and articles, including Tokyo Realtime (2010), The Otaku Encyclopedia: An Insider’s Guide to the Subculture of Cool Japan (2014), The Moe Manifesto: An Insider’s Look at the Worlds of Manga, Anime, and Gaming (2017), and others. His most recent book, published by Duke University Press Books in 2019, is Otaku and the Struggle for Imagination in Japan.

Topics Discussed

  • Dr. Galbraith’s first visit to Akihabara
  • Hayao Miyazaki’s complicated relationship with fandom during the early part of his career
  • The character Clarisse de Cagliostro from the 1979 film Lupin Third: The Castle of Calgiostro
  • The different waves of anime fandom in Japan
  • The lolicon/rorikon Boom of the first half of the 1980s
  • The word lolicon/rorikon and its various meanings
  • The connection of the character Lum Invader from Urusei Yatsura and her connection to the cocept of lolicon/rorikon
  • How computers and adult computer games (eroge or erogē) helped transform Akihabara into what it is today
  • The ongoing struggle between the “otaku” of Akihabara and the Japanese government
  • What the future holds for Akihabara
  • What the current status of maid cafes in Akihabara is
  • The tendency of trying to link anime and manga back to ukiyo-e woodblock prints from the Edo period
  • The problematic idea that tentacles are a uniquely “Japanese” thing
  • And much more!

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Links, Videos, Etc.

You can purchase Otaku and the Struggle for Imagination in Japan now. It is available in hardcover, paperback, and ebook. Use the affiliate links below to buy your copy via Amazon.

Amazon (Affiliate link)

To keep up to date with Dr. Galbraith’s projects, you can follow him on Facebook.

Patrick W. Galbraith on Facebook

The famous woodblock print that is discussed in this episode is called The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife (蛸と海女, Tako to ama, Octopus(es) and shell diver). Designed by the famous woodblock print artist Hokusai, this print appeared in Kinoe no Komatsu, a three-volume book of shunga erotica first published in 1814. It is a print that many are quick to bring up when discussing the origins of the tentacle trope seen in hentai titles such as La Blue Girl and Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend due to the fact that it depicts two octopuses engaging in sexual acts with a woman. Dr. Galbraith makes it clear that linking the tentacle trope to this print is not justifiable. Listen to the episode to find out why. If youw ant to see the print, though, check it out via the link below. Yes, for most people, this would qualify as NSFW.

The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife (Wikipedia)

And just in case you haven’t listened to the trailer for Ichimon Japan, check it out via the button below.

​Ichimon Japan Trailer


Special Thanks

Opening/Closing song: Oedo Controller (大江戸コントローラー) by Yunomi featuring Toriena (Used with permission from Yunomi)
To listen to more of Yunomi’s music, check out his Soundcloud page or YouTube channel.

Japan Station cover art: Provided by Erik R.

Images: Courtesy of Patrick W. Galbraith

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