What is Akihabara?
Over the past 10-20 years, a rather profound change has occurred both in reputation and on-the-ground reality of our namesake, the iconic Tokyo neighborhood known as Akihabara. In many ways, it’s is exactly what you might expect, but that varies considerably depending on one’s generational point of view.
AkihabaraNews.com, for example, was pumping out tech news long before the AKB48ification of the neighborhood (we started publishing over 14 years ago, which is like…83 in internet years). As such, many of our older readers feel that Akihabara = Special, Cool, Rare Japanese Tech, which is fair and reasonable and truly the soul of our site. However, Akiba’s changed A LOT since this URL came online, and these days it’s also fair and reasonable to believe that Akihabara = Cosplay, Maid Cafes, Fetishization of Barely Post-Pubescent Girls, and Generalized Otaku-ness. Whatever your preference, the reality is that Akihabara is just a standard Tokyo neighborhood with a few special leans; if there aren’t any shows or promotional events taking place, when night falls people commute and/or hang out just as they do in any other neighborhood or ward. Akihabara is cool, to be sure, but it ain’t Blade Runner.
Editor’s Note Again:
If you really want to get at the heart of what Akihabara truly is and has been, get thee to Japan This! for the “What does Akihabara Mean?” entry. Great writing and great reading.
VIDEO: Akihabara at Night…the Calmer, Real-Life Version
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