Akihabara (Japanese: 秋葉原) is a common name for the area around
Akihabara Station in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo, Japan.
Administratively, the area called
Akihabara mainly belongs to the
Sotokanda district (外神田), and the far-western part of
Kanda-Sakumachō. The name
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.
Akihabara gained the nickname
Akihabara Electric Town
Akihabara Denki Gai) shortly after World War II
for being a major shopping center for household electronic goods and
the post-war black market. Nowadays,
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.
4 See also
6 External links
The main area of
Akihabara is located on a street just west of
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.
As mentioned above, the area called
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
Taitō ward, but
it is not the place when people refer to Akihabara. It borders on
Sotokanda at the middle of
Akihabara and Okachimachi stations, but its
half is occupied by JR tracks.
The area that is now
Akihabara was once near a city gate of
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. After Akihabara
Station was built in 1888, the shrine was moved to the
where it still resides today.
Between stores in Akihabara
Since its opening in 1890,
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
Akihabara from government authority has allowed the
district to grow as a market city and given rise to an excellent
atmosphere for entrepreneurship. In the 1930s, this climate turned
Akihabara into a future-oriented market region specializing in
household electronics, such as washing machines, refrigerators,
televisions, and stereos, earning
Akihabara the nickname "Electric
As household electronics began to lose their futuristic appeal in
about the 1980s, the shops of
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. The market in
Akihabara naturally latched
onto their new customer base that was focused on anime, manga, and
video games. The connection between
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 to be
a sacred place.
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 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
Court in 2011, and the sentence was upheld on appeal in 2012.
Maids promoting maid cafés near
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 tries to create
an atmosphere as close as possible to the game and anime worlds of
customers' interest. The streets of
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
Release events, special events, and conventions in
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 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
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 since the 1970s when
publishers began to drop manga that were not ready for large
Tourism in Japan
Nipponbashi, in Osaka
Ōsu, in Nagoya
^ a b Cybriwsky, Roman. Historical dictionary of Tokyo. Scarecrow
^ 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):
^ a b Yamada, Kazuhito. Entrepreneurship in Akihabara.
Akihabara "Must See" Top Five".
^ "Akihabara: Electric Town For Tech, Games, Anime!".
^ IMAI, Nobuharu. "The Momentary and Placeless Community: Constructing
a New Community with regards to
Otaku Culture." Inter Faculty 1
^ Morikawa, Kaichiro. "Learning from Akihabara: The birth of a
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Akihabara.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Akihabara.
Akihabara Area Tourism Organization
Akihabara Electrical Town Organization website
Coordinates: 35°41′54″N 139°46′23″E / 35.69836°N
139.77313°E / 35.69836; 139.77313
Neighborhoods of Tokyo
Shopping districts and streets in Japan
Ikebukuro (Otome Road)
Shijō Street (Shijō Kawaramachi)