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Akihabara
Akihabara
(Japanese: 秋葉原) is a common name for the area around Akihabara Station
Akihabara Station
in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo, Japan. Administratively, the area called Akihabara
Akihabara
mainly belongs to the Sotokanda district (外神田), and the far-western part of Kanda-Sakumachō. The name Akihabara
Akihabara
is a shortening of Akibagahara (秋葉が原, "autumn leaf field"), which ultimately comes from Akiba (秋葉), named after a fire-controlling deity of a firefighting shrine built after the area was destroyed by a fire in 1869.[1] Akihabara
Akihabara
gained the nickname Akihabara
Akihabara
Electric Town (秋葉原電気街, Akihabara
Akihabara
Denki Gai) shortly after World War II for being a major shopping center for household electronic goods and the post-war black market.[2][3] Nowadays, Akihabara
Akihabara
is considered by many to be an otaku cultural center and a shopping district for video games, anime, manga, and computer goods. Icons from popular anime and manga are displayed prominently on the shops in the area, and numerous maid cafés are found throughout the district.

Contents

1 Geography 2 History

2.1 Akihabara
Akihabara
massacre

3 Otaku
Otaku
culture 4 See also 5 References 6 External links

Geography[edit] The main area of Akihabara
Akihabara
is located on a street just west of Akihabara
Akihabara
Station, where most of the major shops are situated. Most of the electronics shops are just west of the station, and the anime and manga shops and the cosplay cafés are north of them.[2] As mentioned above, the area called Akihabara
Akihabara
now ranges over some districts in Chiyoda ward: Sotokanda (外神田, the west of the station including electric town), Kanda-Hanaokachō (神田花岡町, the east exit of the station), and Kanda-Sakumachō (神田佐久間町, the south and southeast of the station). There exists an administrative district called Akihabara
Akihabara
in Taitō
Taitō
ward, but it is not the place when people refer to Akihabara. It borders on Sotokanda at the middle of Akihabara
Akihabara
and Okachimachi stations, but its half is occupied by JR tracks. History[edit] The area that is now Akihabara
Akihabara
was once near a city gate of Edo
Edo
and served as a passage between the city and northwestern Japan. This made the region a home to many craftsmen and tradesmen, as well as some low class samurai. One of Tokyo's frequent fires destroyed the area in 1869, and the people decided to replace the buildings of the area with a shrine called Chinkasha (now known as Akiba Shrine (秋葉神社, Akiba Jinja)), meaning fire extinguisher shrine, in an attempt to prevent the spread of future fires. The locals nicknamed the shrine Akiba after the deity that could control fire, and the area around it became known as Akibagahara and later Akihabara.[1][2] After Akihabara Station was built in 1888, the shrine was moved to the Taitō
Taitō
ward where it still resides today.[4][5][6]

Between stores in Akihabara

Since its opening in 1890, Akihabara Station
Akihabara Station
became a major freight transit point, which allowed a vegetable and fruit market to spring up in the district. Then, in the 1920s, the station saw a large volume of passengers after opening for public transport, and after World War II, the black market thrived in the absence of a strong government. This disconnection of Akihabara
Akihabara
from government authority has allowed the district to grow as a market city and given rise to an excellent atmosphere for entrepreneurship.[3] In the 1930s, this climate turned Akihabara
Akihabara
into a future-oriented market region specializing in household electronics, such as washing machines, refrigerators, televisions, and stereos, earning Akihabara
Akihabara
the nickname "Electric Town".[2][7] As household electronics began to lose their futuristic appeal in about the 1980s, the shops of Akihabara
Akihabara
shifted their focus to home computers at a time when they were only used by specialists and hobbyists. This new specialization brought in a new type of consumer, computer nerds or otaku.[2] The market in Akihabara
Akihabara
naturally latched onto their new customer base that was focused on anime, manga, and video games. The connection between Akihabara
Akihabara
and otaku has survived and grown to the point that the region is now known worldwide as a center for otaku culture, and some otaku even consider Akihabara
Akihabara
to be a sacred place.[8] Akihabara
Akihabara
massacre[edit] Main article: Akihabara
Akihabara
massacre On Sunday 8 June 2008 at 12:33 JST, a man drove into a crowd with a truck, then stabbed at least 17 people using a dagger. Seven died and ten were injured. Tokyo
Tokyo
Metropolitan Police Department arrested Tomohiro Katō (加藤 智大, Katō Tomohiro), 25, on suspicion of attempted murder, and arrested him again weeks later on suspicion of murder. Kato was eventually sentenced to death by the Tokyo
Tokyo
District Court in 2011, and the sentence was upheld on appeal in 2012. Otaku
Otaku
culture[edit]

Maids promoting maid cafés near Akihabara
Akihabara
Station

The influence of otaku culture has shaped Akihabara's businesses and buildings to reflect the interests of otaku and gained the district worldwide fame for its distinctive imagery. Akihabara
Akihabara
tries to create an atmosphere as close as possible to the game and anime worlds of customers' interest. The streets of Akihabara
Akihabara
are covered with anime and manga icons, and cosplayers line the sidewalks handing out advertisements, especially for maid cafés. The idol group AKB48, one of Japan's highest selling contemporary musical acts, runs its own theater in Akihabara, from which the group's name is derived.

Naruto cosplayer attracting customers for a Manga
Manga
and Anime
Anime
shop

Release events, special events, and conventions in Akihabara
Akihabara
give anime and manga fans frequent opportunities to meet the creators of the works they follow so closely and strengthen the connection between the region and otaku culture. The design of many of the buildings serves to create the sort of atmosphere that draws in otaku. Architects design the stores of Akihabara
Akihabara
to be more opaque and closed to reflect the general desire of many otaku to live in their anime worlds rather than display their interests to the world at large.[2][9] Akihabara's role as a free market has also allowed a large amount of amateur work to find a passionate audience in the otaku who frequent the area. Doujinshi, amateur manga (or fanmade manga based on an anime/manga/game) has been growing in Akihabara
Akihabara
since the 1970s when publishers began to drop manga that were not ready for large markets.[2] See also[edit]

Tokyo
Tokyo
portal

Akiba-kei Tourism in Japan Nipponbashi, in Osaka Ōsu, in Nagoya Kanda Shrine Kōenji Akihabara
Akihabara
Trilogy

References[edit]

^ a b Cybriwsky, Roman. Historical dictionary of Tokyo. Scarecrow Press, 2011. ^ a b c d e f g Nobuoka, Jakob. "User innovation and creative consumption in Japanese culture industries: The case of Akihabara, Tokyo." Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography 92.3 (2010): 205–218. ^ a b Yamada, Kazuhito. Entrepreneurship in Akihabara. ^ " Tokyo
Tokyo
Akihabara
Akihabara
"Must See" Top Five".  ^ "秋葉神社(台東区松が谷)".  ^ "秋葉神社の概要".  ^ "Akihabara: Electric Town For Tech, Games, Anime!".  ^ IMAI, Nobuharu. "The Momentary and Placeless Community: Constructing a New Community with regards to Otaku
Otaku
Culture." Inter Faculty 1 (2010). ^ Morikawa, Kaichiro. "Learning from Akihabara: The birth of a personapolis." Gentosha, Tokyo
Tokyo
(2003).

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Akihabara.

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Akihabara.

Akihabara
Akihabara
Area Tourism Organization Akihabara
Akihabara
Electrical Town Organization website Go Tokyo
Tokyo
Akihabara
Akihabara
Guide

Coordinates: 35°41′54″N 139°46′23″E / 35.69836°N 139.77313°E / 35.69836; 139.77313

v t e

Neighborhoods of Tokyo

Akasaka Akihabara Aobadai Aomi Aoyama Ariake Asagaya Asakusa Asakusabashi Azabu Awajichō Daikanyama Den-en-chōfu Ebisu Ebisuminami Futako Tamagawa Ginza Gotanda Hamamatsuchō Harajuku Hibiya Higashi Higashi-Kanda Hongō Ichigaya Iidabashi Ikebukuro Iwamotochō Jiyūgaoka Jinbōchō Jūjō Kabukichō Kagurazaka Kajichō Kamata Kami-ikebukuro Kanda Kasumigaseki Kichijōji Komaba Koishikawa Kugayama Kudankita Kyōbashi Kōenji Kōjimachi Marunouchi Mejiro Mita Meguro-Mita Muromachi Nagatachō Nakameguro Nishigotanda Nishiogikubo Nihonbashi Nishioizumi Nishioizumimachi Nishi-Shinjuku Nishikichō Ochanomizu Odaiba Ogawamachi Ogikubo Ōizumigakuenchō Ōmori Omotesandō Osaki Ōtemachi Roppongi Ryōgoku San'ya Sendagaya Shiba Shibaura Shibuya Shimokitazawa Shinbashi Shinjuku Shinjuku ni-chōme Shinonome Shiodome Shirokane Shirokanedai Shoto Sudachō Sugamo Surugadai Takadanobaba Takanawa Tamachi Tateishi Tatsumi Toyosu Tsukiji Tsukishima Uchi-Kanda Uchisaiwaichō Ueno Wakasu Yaesu Yanaka Yayoi Yōga Yotsuya Yoyogi Yūrakuchō Zōshigaya

v t e

Shopping districts and streets in Japan

Tokyo

Akihabara Ameya-Yokochō Ginza Harajuku Ikebukuro
Ikebukuro
(Otome Road) Omotesandō Shibuya

Osaka

Amerikamura Dōtonbori Midōsuji Namba Nipponbashi Shinsaibashi Umeda Rinku Town

Others

Harborland Isezakichō Motomachi (Kobe) Motomachi (Yokohama) Nankin-machi Sakae Sannomiya Shijō Street
Shijō Street
(Shijō Kawaramachi)

.