A walk through Akihabara
The Intlnational network visited Akihabara, to interview how this flourishing city takes part in the Japanese nation’s culture industry. Akihabara is a city in Tokyo, with its name meaning “autumn leaf field”. Akihabara is widely known as an electric town since the end of WWⅡ and is now also familiar with anime and idol culture. We started the interview from the JR Akihabra station which is the entrance to the world of modern Japanese culture.
First we visited the electric stores to interview their business. The electric shop, Tsukumo, is a local shop in Akihabara where a variety of electronic related goods are sold. Mr.Yamaski, the salesman, introduced us around the shop. The most popular floor had products relating to robots and 3D printers. The robot related products were wide in variety; they include small robot parts to build for robot tournaments, mostly bought by high school and college science groups. They also sold completed robots which can be adopted by the user after computer programming the brain of the robots. Mr.Yamaski explained that in the last 3 years, these products also have gained increasing attention from foreign tourists.
We were also able to look at the new 3D printers. Through development, 3D printers were able to be produced cheeper than the original price which increased the number of consumers. Many consumers who are interested in making figures and models purchase the printers as it is able to create plastic models easily in a few hours.
After visiting the electric shops and game centres, we asked the voices of foreigners in Akihabara. There were many tourists visiting with families and friends from many countries. One mother stated “The Japanese culture is very interesting and I enjoy visiting cities and sites.” She described Akihabara as a unique town with many shops especially targeting people with obsessive interests to anime or manga. Their family visited Akihabara to find photography related products for their hobbies back in their hometown. Akihabara is a place where they promote the Japanese culture of anime, manga and the electric products that connect people together beyond language and cultural barriers.
(Reported by Kate Shimizu)