The newest issue of Keizaikai (Economic World) magazine carries the interesting headline “The Secrets of How Akihabara, The Neighborhood Prime Minster Aso Loves, Can Teach Us to Beat the Recession,” with photographs of Rozen Aso himself adorning the cover, along with images of the otaku Holy Land scattered throughout.

The feature article of the magazine is centered around interviews with various financial leaders of Akiba-related businesses, including the CEOs of  Onoden (an electronics store chain), Takarada Duty Free Shops, and the chief of otaku mega-store Tora no Ana, among several others.

The business tycoons appear to be giving their own personal interpretations of why their businesses are suceeding, although the general themes seem to be of Akiba “following the pulse of the public” and of providing its customers with what they desire most.



The magazine’s index, with the majority of the pictured interviewees being part of the feature topic.

The fourth person from the right happens to be Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, president of Production IG, creators of such TV shows as Ghost in the Shell and the currently airing Eden of the East.


The tagline on this page roughly translates as:

“The ‘Otaku Holy Land’ whose battle strategy for the future is giving itself the economic branding as the launchpad of Anime.”


Kazushi Ono, director of Onoden, has this to say:

“I would like to seek the the revival of the “Main Street” of Pop-Culture.”

(The reference to a “Main Street” above is only an approximation, the original term refers to a street or crossroads that is restricted to vehicular traffic at a certain point in the week and opened to pedestrians. The gist of his statement is along the lines of Akiba serving as the packed market square of pop-culture.)

The small text box on the left page quotes:

“A crossroad that doesn’t let you wander outside its main roads is meaningless.”


Hirotaka Fukuda, President of Tora no Ana, offers this:

“Ignoring the rise of the ‘Light User’ is a fatal mistake!”

The first of the two smaller quotation blurbs help put into context just what he means by “Light User”:

“You cannot treat your ‘Heavy User’ partners/customers lightly!”

In other words, a hardcore customer base requires special attention, something that the head of Tora no Ana must be quite familiar with.

“Video Delivery sites (online streaming) are not our enemy, but rather allies.”

This is fairly self-explanatory, if possibly improbable.


The financial magazine is also making a rare appearance at the Tora no Ana’s flagship store, due in no small part to the feature story, and perhaps the presence of the company’s head officer inside.

Despite recent reports of the anime production industry hitting a downturn, it does not strictly follow that the rest of the anime and manga-related industries are similarly afflicted, especially as something less than 20% of revenues produced by anime historically come from sales of the animation itself, with the remainder made up of the merchandising trinkets otaku are always so keen to purchase.

In any case,  statements from the Prime Minister himself proclaiming “Otaku Tourism Will Save Japan!“, do lend some credence to the notion that Akiba might just be on to something worth a closer look.

Via Akiba Blog.

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    Avatar of Krisantes
    Comment by Krisantes
    23:56 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    They are going to destroy our Gensokyo!!!

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:20 09/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Little did they know that, soon, increasingly strict bans on fetish cartoon porn and eroge would wind up destroying the otaku economy and plunging Japan into an irrecoverable depression.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:01 09/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    otaku tourism? i can say it is pretty true for my case, been to Japan for holiday every year since 2005.

    Comment by Waterfall Towers
    21:21 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    The Holy Land shalt show us the light!

    "Japan is a very capitalistic, very competitive country. They’re not like the fascists & socialists in the US, where they say garbage like, “We’ll only succeed if we work together [and stop competing with each other]!” and all of that."

    Drieick, you've got it the other way around.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:20 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)


    Avatar of Ragefat
    Comment by Ragefat
    23:28 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Poor boy, a sad childhood do this with people.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:19 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)


    Comment by Waterfall Towers
    00:43 09/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Maybe he's fapping the wrong way. Use your hands, trying to reach it with your mouth is pointless unless you remove your belly fat.

    Avatar of metatron
    Comment by metatron
    00:53 09/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    words from akiba business icon are inspiring~

    Comment by Soft
    23:10 09/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'd buy a lot if I went there.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:31 03/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'm hoping manga sales will get better after the recession is over. Things are not looking good for books in America nor in Japan. Somethings got to happen to fix this problem.

    Avatar of KamiOkurimono
    Comment by KamiOkurimono
    01:56 09/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    "Otaku Holy Land"...

    I came up with a new requirement for this religion:

    It is an obligation of every able-bodied Otaku who can afford it, to at least once in their lifetime make a pilgrimage to Akihabara, the Otaku Holy Land.

    Comment by Onizuki
    02:44 09/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Only when I get the readies together...*cries*

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:21 09/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    or what about Ikebukuro for girls? XD

    Comment by grapefields
    06:10 09/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Come on. Let Otaku and Hipsters come and clash of epic proportions in Akiba. Who will be the ones to rule?

    Avatar of Fuhrer
    Comment by Anonon
    17:11 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I want to know what the book in the bottom picture on the top shelf second from the right is. Picture on the front looks fucking hot.

    Comment by Hyo
    17:27 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I've been wondering about that as well. Source, anyone?

    Comment by Anonymous
    Comment by Passingass
    21:17 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is where Eden of the East image search would come in handy...

    Comment by Firo
    18:59 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Looked at his site, blog, amazon, googled his works from wiki - couldn't find it.

    Then it must be something new, I guess... O_o

    Avatar of Quen
    Comment by Quen
    18:41 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    No, it's not the Despera manga we posted about earlier, that's still to come in an upcoming Animage.

    I tried finding a link for that book, but failed. Perhaps someone else can find it?

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:50 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    It sure looks like it. Maybe another Abe work?

    Comment by Firo
    18:15 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Haha, definitely Abe's work. :D But which one? (Texhnolyze? O_o)

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:24 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Could be a compilation or anthology, not just Abe's work in it.

    Avatar of Fuhrer
    Comment by Anonon
    19:49 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Ha, I thought it looked a lot like the artwork from Lain. Interesting to see that its probably the same guy. Hopefully someone can dig up the source here.

    Comment by M I N N
    17:43 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    that's cool and all but thats solving japans problem - the main problem would be solving America economic crises. we all know when america fails pretty much the rest of the world does too. or else most of the world wouldn't be in this problem. guess iam still understanding but how come when america hits rock bottom the rest of the world does too?

    Comment by R
    20:48 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    That's because the "rest of the world" loves to invest in the USA. If the investments don't revenue, everybody falls together :(

    In my country the laws prohibit financial investments in other markets, so we're not bankrupt. But all new business are in a "stop", waiting to see how things will came.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:29 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Its more like the fact that major economies (besides the US) are dependent on exports and the bulk of their exports goes to the US. So when the US hits rock bottom, these export-driven economies followed along with other economies that had trading ties with them. Do not also ignore the contagion effect of credit insolvency and its contagion effect on the world's financial markets.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:05 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    America has Obama, Bill Gates, and all those rich people, let them solve their problems.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:04 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    So if "Light User"=casual customers, and "Heavy User"=fans, the gist of this is that they're pushing otaku culture to the mainstream.

    This will not end well.

    Still, I look forward to this impending trainwreck.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:54 10/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    otakus are heavy users because most of them are obese mutants


    Avatar of lerrymaru
    Comment by maru
    17:08 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    They took this long to notice? Otaku industry has so much potential..

    *looks at wallet and cries*

    Avatar of Myballz
    Comment by Lazydabear
    07:58 09/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    It does in a way but the problem is Animation is a big risky buisness even the cost of making Animation sometimes cheap or big budget chances of animes suceeding are are kind of random how people enjoy it or not.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:00 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    interesting enough, the publicity that otakuism and other subculture has garnered worries me. if such things become majorly mainstream, it will most likely become a 'fad' and adopted as such by larger sections of the general public. it also could lead to further regulation as it garners more spotlight attention . feels like the uphill popularity trend will end with a dramatic drop as is such is the nature of 'fads'.

    Avatar of N.R.
    Comment by N.R.
    21:59 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    News flash: anime and manga are mainstream in the US, since the late 90's. Manga and anime are also sold around the world. In my country (where I lived before coming to Japan that is) they don't sell comics, only manga. But this is all small talk. Dear Anonymous, please abandon the misbelieve that if something becomes mainstream and popular it will lose it's essence in the processes. It's just not true with anime and manga.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:23 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    No, it's not the "losing its essence" that worries Anonymous, it is the fact that becoming mainstream, anime (and by extension manga) fandom will no longer become an exclusive club for the l33t experts. Not like Anonymous is old enough to experience, much less remember the anime boom in the 70s and 80s.

    Comment by R
    22:55 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    TV Tropes has a good page about this:

    Comment by cloner4000
    04:39 09/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    There are segments which are probably already quite mainstream: Pokemon, One Piece, Naruto..etc..

    but then the sub-segments like stuff center around Moe and stuff probably have ways to go before it gets to mainstream..

    Comment by R
    20:41 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    It's already happening. Worldwide. There are mangas being produced in Brazil, France, Germany, Korea (manhwas, I know but...), even China too.

    It is gathering the people that really likes this (the extreme cases being otakus), and after this, the people that "likes to be on".

    After some time, there will be other "hype" things to do/buy/use, and our beloved subculture will return to the people that really identifies with it. It happens with all type of products, from fashion to behaviors.

    Comment by Anonymous
    Avatar of ichimokuren
    Comment by Ren ichimoku
    21:45 09/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    What hahahaha....

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:34 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I was wondering when something like this was going to come out. Certainly 2ch has been getting a big head (from what I've gathered) about otaku recovering the economy.

    At least we're not treated like 2nd class citizens anymore. At least, not as much...

    Comment by King of Hentai Gods
    16:57 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    stay at home, hav sex, eat noodle, watch tv =P

    Avatar of ichimokuren
    Comment by Ren ichimoku
    21:47 09/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    i agree to ice-nee-san

    Avatar of Exia
    Comment by Exia
    18:11 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    don't you mean

    stay at home, FAP,eat noodle, then watch tv.

    Avatar of Icy-nee-san
    Comment by Icy-nee-san
    22:06 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Dont you mean, stay at home, fap, eat noodles, then watch anime?

    Avatar of Narcissist
    Comment by Narcissist
    18:53 09/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Stay at home, masturbate, drink wine, watch anime.

    Avatar of ronerydude
    Comment by “MASA-SAAAAAN”!!(Sissy Kenshiro)
    21:09 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Left or right hand. (legs are highly possible)

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:50 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Don't knock fapping.

    Masturbation is sex with the one you love.

    Avatar of blazefreak
    Comment by blazefreak
    16:41 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    This reminds me that theres this cosplay international thing that tours akiba every year... Japan is sure financing themselves for the future D=

    Comment by ???
    16:58 08/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    good call President of Tora no Ana...get some baby, get some

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