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Construction and Production of Urban Otaku Cultural Spaces—The Case of Akihabara Japan

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DOI: 10.23977/jsoce.2024.060313 | Downloads: 4 | Views: 110


Fan Jichen 1


1 University of Greenwich, London, SE10 9LS, United Kingdom

Corresponding Author

Fan Jichen


This paper aims to invoke the theory of the production of space to explore the formation and development of otaku cultural spaces in the Akihabara area of Tokyo. Firstly the historical development of Akihabara and the definition of otaku are reorganised under a literature study. Secondly, Henri Lefebvre's (1991) theory of space production serves as the analytical framework that explains the logic of Akihabara's constitution as an otaku cultural space in the physical, mental and social realms. Akihabara's geographical location, architectural form and infrastructure provided the material basis for its development as a gathering place for otaku culture. Japan's unique social dynamics foster a fluid interplay between the virtual and the real, enhancing the sociality of the space. The pervasive presence of ACG (anime, comics, and games) elements fulfills the area with distinct symbols and meanings, generating a sense of spiritual belonging among otaku. These three dimensions—physical, social, and spiritual—interact in a cyclical structure, continually influencing and reinforcing one another. Finally, the approaches in which various forces of power, capital and citizen life in space reproduction reshape space are revealed through Akihabara. This research offers a new perspective on the production and reproduction of urban cultural spaces and provides valuable insights for examining other urban cultural phenomena.


Akihabara, Otaku, space production, culture space, Japan


Fan Jichen, Construction and Production of Urban Otaku Cultural Spaces—The Case of Akihabara Japan. Journal of Sociology and Ethnology (2024) Vol. 6: 82-89. DOI:


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