A world of fear for Japan's  shut-ins

Sep 13, 2014

A world of fear for Japan's shut-ins

by Tim Hornyak

Several years ago, a vogue of interest in shut-ins, or hikikomori, saw researchers from France touring Japan and meeting reclusive youths. Such was the prevalence of the disorder, said psychologist Nicolas Tajan, that “if you ask people in Japan about hikikomori, almost everyone will ...

Comiket grows stronger each year

Aug 22, 2014

Comiket grows stronger each year

by Ben Brady

Held twice a year and famous among otaku (fanboys and fangirls) the world over, Comiket, short for Comic Market, held its 86th event Aug. 15-17 at Tokyo Big Sight in Odaiba. With more than 550,000 people reportedly attending the event over the three days, ...

'Gacha gacha' machines not just for kids anymore

Aug 14, 2014

'Gacha gacha' machines not just for kids anymore

by Asako Takaguchi

Among the wide array of vending machines peddling items from the everyday to the obscure, one staple in Japan is the toy-dispensing “gacha gacha,” which is named after the handle-turning noise that precedes the release of the plastic capsule. While the majority of gacha ...

Comiket, where <I>otaku</I> come to share the love

Dec 19, 2013

Comiket, where otaku come to share the love

by Jun Hongo

The Tokyo International Exhibition Center, better known as Tokyo Big Sight, boasts an area of more than 80,000 sq. meters of exhibition space. It’s the country’s largest convention center and will host wrestling, fencing and taekwondo during the 2020 Olympics. Not many events can ...

Otaku culture gets under the skin

Dec 9, 2013

Otaku culture gets under the skin

by Samuel Thomas

Tattoos in Japan have long moved on from the kind often romanticized by the West — that imagery of flamboyant yakuza that so many seem reluctant to relinquish. But a brief glance at the policies of Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto reveals a nation still ...