Otaku Encyclopaedia

This month saw the release of the Otaku Encyclopaedia, written by Japan’s foremost gaijin geek Patrick W. Galbraith, of whom any interested net citizen will have seen photos, dressed as Dragonball-Z’s Goku on the streets of Akihabara.

Probably to the annoyance of overseas readers I am not much into the stereotypical aspects of Japanese subculture, like manga or anime, as seems to be the standard with a lot of Western immigrants here. Sure, I own Akira on DVD and really enjoyed Ghost in the Shell, but I almost never visit Akihabara nor go to Mandarake and never watch anime on television. At first it might have been the language barrier, but these days it is simply disinterest. Hell, I’ve met average game otaku who knew more about stuff I’ve worked on than I do. It is a little scary and daunting sometimes. I’m not against any of that, mind, I’m just not that into it.

In preparation for the launch Mr. Galbraith attended this month’s PauseTalk as well as, post-launch, this week’s CGM Night to do some serious PR pimping. I have been informed he’ll be making a presentation at this month’s PechaKucha Night as well. At only 2,000Yen and with the author there to autograph my copy I had little excuse but to pick one up.

The book is, as the title suggest, encyclopedic, in layout if maybe not content. That isn’t to say it isn’t extensive, at 247 pages and each listing taking up a page at most, though often only a few paragraphs, it does seem to cover a lot of ground, and is interspersed with interviews with otaku notables, like Anno Haruna, the retro-game otaku, and figurine maker Bome. Though it does cover subjects I would not have thought “otaku”, such as bosozoku (bike gangs) and yakuza, I do guess these are part of Japan’s subculture and probably feature heavily in manga.

Even if you do consider yourself a hard-core otaku I’m sure this book will surprise you, as the scene here is very wide and encompasses many kinks and quirks. It was certainly an eye opener for me, and I’ll keep it at hand when browsing the darker, pinker, stickier corners of the internet. It helps to be informed about these things.

You can get it from Amazon here, or if you’re in Japan, here.

18 comments:

  1. I checked it out at my local bookstore, and it contains quite a good amount of info about anime n stuff. I'm pretty big into anime so I didnt't feel like I needed to buy it though :]

    Saw the guy dressed up as Gokuh in Akiba about 2 weeks with some friends(?) of his at a gei-sen (game center). I was going to say Hi, but the GF was with me

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  2. Hi! Is this blog abandoned? What happened to the author? Death by exhaustion of unpaid extra hours? We need a closure!!!

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  3. Take the blue pill!

    (Happy new year btw)

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  4. Hey JC where you at? Happy new year and get back to posting!

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  6. I wondered why this had died. I found out that he's blogging elsewhere from a recent article

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  7. Thanks for sharing this. I will definitely buy a copy of this book.

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