by Patrick W. Galbraith
photographs by Androniki Christodoulou
$20.00 US/$21.99 CAN
Otaku — nerd, über-fan, obsessive collector. Since the 1980s, the term has been used to refer to fans of Japanese anime, manga, and video games. The word appeared with no translation on the cover of the premier issue of Wired magazine in 1993.
Patrick W. Galbraith has produced a groundbreaking work of reportage that takes us beyond the stereotypes of "weird Japan" and into the private rooms of self-described otaku. Interviews and more than fifty color photos reveal a seldom seen side of these reclusive Japanese collectors. They talk frankly about their collections of blow-up dolls, comic books, military paraphernalia, anime videos, and more. Photographer Androniki Christodoulou brings the interviewees to life, intimately capturing their collections and living spaces in full-color images.
Galbraith follows the collectors to their favorite shops and shows how public space in Japan is starting to mimic the look and feel of the otaku's private room. He also interviews Japan's top cultural critics, helping to place otaku culture in wider sociological and economic contexts. Galbraith broadens his interview focus even further to include otaku from the United States and the United Kingdom, forcing those of us who live in any hyper-consumerist culture to admit that we can and do have otaku tendencies.