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The Reason Otaku Respect Akihabara : Sacred Place as Simulation

仮想現実としての聖地・秋葉原
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The Reason Otaku Respect Akihabara : Sacred Place as Simulation

Photo credit:clry2 / Visual hunt / CC BY-SA

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The reality of Akihabara and otaku

Akihabara, the internationally famous attraction for otaku from all over the world, is packed with visitors looking for things from the latest in electronics and games to rare figurines and “moe”. Most travel guides for Japan have sections devoted to Akihabara and it is introduced as a place just as brilliant as Kyoto. It is filled with shops devoted to anime, games, and idol goods, which earn it a reputation of being a sacred place for otaku. This article looks at some reasons that Akihabara is praised as a mecca, referring to the relationship between maid cafes and otaku. However, for the sake of convenience, let us limit our definition of otaku here as Japanese who visit Akihabara on a daily basis.

Although the social status of otaku has been raised to a certain degree thanks to the breakthrough popularity of groups like AKB48 and the success of Densha Otoko since the mid-2000s, popular opinion still remains that otaku are gross. This depends not only on their facial appearance and manner of dress, but also their obsessive behavior. Sadly, these assumptions are often true. Otaku tend to experience difficulties at school or workplace because of their differences and are generally looked down upon as belonging to a lower class in Japanese society.

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Asuka Kuramochi (ex-AKB) from AKB Theater in Akihabara

The relationship between maids and otaku

Human beings often get distressed by their daily lives. There are countless times in life that it can lead to one feeling that they want to die. With more than 25,000 people committing suicide in Japan every year, this is a disturbing situation. This trend is understandably also applied to otaku. Akihabara and maid cafés are one of the few places that otaku can find solace from the stresses of modern life.

Otaku are always welcomed with the customary maid greeting “Welcome home, my master!” This magic phrase lets oppressed otaku become another version which differs from their real life self. The moment otaku enter the shop, they die as otaku but are reborn as “my master”. This is one way that they escape and are refreshed.

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@home cafe is one of the most famous maid cafes in Japan

blog.livedoor.jp

The same can be applied to maids in maid café. Working in maid café, they can also gain another self which differs from their real self. The reasons for working at a maid café may vary depending on the person, such as respect or admiration of maids or a search for admiration and acceptance. They are also ones who use it as a means to escape from reality and reinvent themselves. Regardless of the reasons, each one has to create a brand-new self as a maid.

“My master” one day will not come home. Some maids regard his disappearance with relief because it may mean to them that “my master” no longer needs to live in this simulation. That is, “my master” could find a place for himself in the real world. They call it rehabilitation and maids also are looking for a chance for rehabilitation.

Akihabara as simulation

As maids choose the word “rehabilitation” by means of returning to society, inhabitants of Akihabara do not regard Akihabara as a real society. Society is the reality and Akihabara plays the role as simulation far part from reality. Things such as one’s real name and age do not apply. Everything is geared to throw away the miserable figure in their real life and build up the imaginary self.

The simulation named Akihabara gets nearer and nearer to reality. It is questionable that Akihabara still accomplishes the important role as simulation with the various changes that caused it to rapidly increase its popularity as a famous tourist destination. Inhabitants of Akihabara need to find somewhere that they can be their imagined selves.

Related Links:
@home cafe Official:http://www.cafe-athome.com

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Author
ykmk
ykmk

Growing up in Akihabara culture, ykmk became an otaku covering idol, anime, and pop music.

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