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Otaku Spaces Paperback – April 17, 2012

3.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review


"(Galbriath has) cosplayed as Super Saiyan Goku from Dragon Ball Z and led audio tours of Akihabara not just as a scholar, but as a participant. That gives him a different perspective than some of his more theoretically minded colleagues. And it goes hand-in-hand with a strong sense of responsibility toward his subjects. With Otaku Spaces, he consciously set out to counter the myth of Miyazaki, the madman alone in his room...His check is the people he talks with, often spending hours on a single interview. As his work reveals, they can speak candidly and with remarkable self-awareness about being otaku — whatever that means to them. Far from Miyazaki's empty room, they occupy spaces of life, surrounded by the things they love and eager to tell their own stories." - The Verge

"Anyone who identifies as a fan of manga or anime should have a look inside, as well as anyone who calls themselves a collector. The themes are universal" - Collectors' Quest

"A truly interesting book and a definite must have for fans of Japanese pop culture." - Forces of Geek

"An enlightening and engaging volume...easy to recommend to anyone interested in otaku specifically or in Japanese pop culture in general." - Experiments in Manga

About the Author

Patrick W. Galbraith: Patrick W. Galbraith is a Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies at the University of Tokyo. His research is focused on the impact material conditions have on fantasy, specifically how shifts in modes of capitalism and consumption impact "otaku" culture in Japan. His primary ethnographic field site is Akihabara in eastern Tokyo. He has worked as a freelance journalist specializing in Japanese popular culture since 2004, which culminated in his writing "The Otaku Encyclopedia" (Kodansha 2009)and co-founding Otaku2.com. His work has appeared in to Metropolis magazine, Otaku USA and on CNN Go.
Androniki Christodoulou: Androniki Christodoulou is a freelance photographer in Tokyo. She moved to Japan after working as a photographer for the Athens Olympic Committee during the summer Olympics of 2004. She was born in Thessaloniki, Greece.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Chin Music Press Inc. (April 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984457658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984457656
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 8.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #952,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Patrick W. Galbraith earned a PhD in Information Studies from the University of Tokyo, and is currently pursuing a second PhD in Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. He is the author of "The Otaku Encyclopedia" (Kodansha, 2009), "Tokyo Realtime: Akihabara" (White Rabbit Press, 2010), "Otaku Spaces" (Chin Music Press, 2012) and "The Moe Manifesto" (Tuttle, 2014), and the co-editor of "Idols and Celebrity in Japanese Media Culture" (Palgrave, 2012). His articles have been published in Otaku USA, Metropolis, The Japan Times, Mechademia, the Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies and Signs.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let me start off by saying that I, myself, am a big fan of anime/manga/Jrpgs/etc. I say this not to paint myself as an otaku, as I am not (though I may own a figurine or two of my favorite characters), but to help the readers understand where my review is coming from - so that those who can relate to my position might better be able to decide whether or not they are interested in this product.

So, to start, the format of the book:
It begins with a rather short, but helpful, introduction that speaks about how the book was done. It gives the reader a few useful definitions(which, if you are a fan of anime or Japanese culture, you're likely already familiar with) that help you understand some cultural vocabulary used in popular Otaku circles (moe, kawaii, etc). The author then presents their view of what "Otaku" can be, providing a decent history of the term and its evolution from "mania", its negative view due to certain public events, and eventually its more localized acceptance.

After the introduction of "Otaku" comes the aspect I will admit drew me to the product in the first place: the pictures and interviews. Here you are introduced to plethora of individuals - from those who collect tons of figurines due to their affections towards given characters, to a man who owns a ridiculous number of dating simulation games. There are males, there are females, and they all share one thing in common: They each have their own definition of what an "Otaku" is. To some it is a prideful badge to be worn, some find the term too constraining, others feel like it has too many implications for them to fully relate to it. All in all, the interviews were enjoyable as the reader gets to experience a cast of characters in all of their interesting (and at times peculiar) characteristics.
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Format: Paperback
What is an otaku? The answer to that question, Patrick Galbraith along with photographer Androniki Christodoulu attempts to show us in Otaku Spaces. They take us on journey into the world of the otaku by first giving us a brief history of both the famous and infamous events and people in the use of the word to its current meaning.

The real meat of the book is the next part of the journey. Here we meet otaku the average person to the famous (a K1 fighter, two members of the idol group Nakano Fujoshi Sisters and Danny Choo). Some view themselves as dabblers. Some believe that the term as it is currently used do not apply to them. While others embrace it fully. Here we get a peek into the private lives of these otaku and glance at their psychology and history. We also get to see what the term otaku means to them even if they do not believe themselves to be otaku.

The next section covers commercial venues where otaku gathers. This range from Akihabara (home of the idol group AKB48, stores that cater to otaku and maid cafe) to Nippombashi in Otaku. We cover their history and development as meeting places for otaku.

The book finally ends with interviews with several experts on what made otaku an economic and global phenomenon. All in all a quite interesting read. I would highly recommend it to anyone from people who are interested in their fellow fans to the person who is trying to understand why a loved one is into what they are into.
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Format: Paperback
I find otaku culture fascinating, in no small part to it's combination of collecting with hoarding.

This book is filled with some truly fantastic photographs alongside brief interviews and commentary. The oatku within are all fairly interesting and surprisingly interesting people; their obsessions are a part of who they are, but don't define them.

A truly interesting book and a definite must have for fans of Japanese pop culture.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has a special place on my shelf for its innovative design and balanced view of otaku culture in Japan. Unlike the states, the term "otaku" has an extremely negative connotation in Japan, and it's refreshing to see both stories of success (like the boxer and the race queen) and despair (enter the closet-dwelling collector) in one book. Kudos to the author for showing a range of experiences.
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