Audio interview with renowned anime academic on Akihabara and otaku

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Posted 3 days ago , edited 2 days ago
Listened to a really interesting podcast this evening, which I wanted to share with the community:

https://www.japankyo.com/2020/01/japan-station-podcast-about-akihabara-history-otaku/

The podcast series is Japan Station. It's a general interest podcast which focuses on various aspects of Japanese culture. This week they interviewed Dr. Patrick W. Galbraith: a western academic who lectures at Senshu University in Tokyo. He's released several books based on his studies of otaku culture.

As part of (what I assume was) a promotional drive to accompany his latest book, Otaku and the Struggle for Imagination in Japan, he spent over an hour on the show talking largely about the history of Akihabara and how its relationship with otaku culture has caused the area to change over the years. The conversation with the host touched on a variety of anime and manga-adjacent topics which I think many people here may find interesting. From the episode summary published on Japankyo.com:


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 concept 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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Posted 3 days ago , edited 2 days ago
Ayyy, Galbraith is pretty dope. I've read a couple of his papers in the past and heard him talk about the history of lolicon before. Ah I really need to read his books. I'll definitely give this a listen to.
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Posted 2 days ago , edited 2 days ago
Thanks I'll give it a listen. That dude is trying way too hard in that pic lol.
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Posted 2 days ago , edited 2 days ago

Potaku wrote:

...That dude is trying way too hard in that pic lol.



I know, right? Made me chuckle! The photo kind of made me think of what might happen if a 1990s Greg Proops became an anime otaku, then found a rift in the space-time continuum in his waifu shrine and ended up as part of a band of wannabe misfit greasers in the 1950s. I guess if you become an anime academic, a mild dash of eccentricity is sort of a requirement?

Whatever you think of the photo though, he really is a compelling listen. I actually decided to make the leap and bought the book he was promoting today from Amazon. Hopefully it'll be as interesting as his appearance on the podcast was.
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Posted 2 days ago , edited 2 days ago

The photo kind of made me think of what might happen if a 1990s Greg Proops became an anime otaku, then found a rift in the space-time continuum in his waifu shrine and ended up as part of a band of wannabe misfit greasers in the 1950s.


Reading that back to myself, I think I may have just hit upon an idea for the next great Isekai adventure.
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Posted one day ago , edited one day ago

nijella wrote:


The photo kind of made me think of what might happen if a 1990s Greg Proops became an anime otaku, then found a rift in the space-time continuum in his waifu shrine and ended up as part of a band of wannabe misfit greasers in the 1950s.


Reading that back to myself, I think I may have just hit upon an idea for the next great Isekai adventure.


Lol, sure its been done somehow.

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Posted 23 hours ago , edited 15 hours ago
I listened to some of it. And I do not think he is wrong as such, but there is clearly a Western interpretive bias in it. That is it is pretty clear he is looking for a result and justifying it based on research. Perhaps the book goes into more detail, but the interview really felt lacking in terms of context. At least from a Japanese perspective. Most of it was how a Westerner would interpret the data.
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