By Kono, Shion; Azuma, Hiroki; Abel, Jonathan E
Hiroki Azuma’s Otaku deals a severe, philosophical, and old inquiry into the features and effects of this client way of life. For Azuma, considered one of Japan’s major public intellectuals, otaku tradition mirrors the ameliorations of postwar eastern society and the character of human habit within the postmodern period. He lines otaku’s ascendancy to the distorted stipulations created in Japan by way of the country’s exceptional postwar modernization, its lack of ability to return to phrases with its defeat within the moment international struggle, and America’s next cultural invasion. extra generally, Azuma argues that the intake habit of otaku is consultant of the postmodern intake of tradition mostly, which sacrifices the quest for larger value to just about animalistic rapid gratification. during this context, tradition turns into easily a database of plots and characters and its shoppers mere “database animals.”
an important non-Western intervention in postmodern tradition and conception, Otaku is additionally an beautiful and perceptive account of jap renowned culture.
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Extra resources for Otaku : Japan's database animals
12 From the Tree-model World to the Database-model World ¯ tsuka uses the phrase “small narrative” to mean a particular Here O narrative within a particular work. 13 ¯ tsuka, each work in otaku culture merely funcSo according to O tions as an entrance to this grand narrative. What consumers truly value and buy are the settings and the worldview. Yet in reality, it is difﬁcult to sell settings and worldviews themselves as works. Therefore, a dual strategy is effected: although the actual commodities are grand narratives, it happens to be small narratives, which are fragments ¯ tsuka labels of grand narratives, that are sold as surrogate products.
Regardless of whether we consider the still-picture aesthetics, the ﬂood of fan works highlighted by O¯tsuka or the folklore-like world of Urusei Yatsura, the “Japanese” aspects of otaku culture are not connected to premodern Japan in any simple sense. Rather, those aspects should be perceived as emanating from a postwar Americanism (the logic of consumer society), which severed such historical continuities connecting the present with an ancient past. The insatiable appetite for parody manga at the Comiket or Comic Market24 in the 1970s is closer to the urge that fueled pop art in the United States ten years earlier than to the Edo-period style.
In addition, memories of the period from Meiji to the 1945 defeat have been subject to political repression in the postwar period. If the narcissistic Japan of the 1980s was to forget defeat and remain oblivious to the impact of Americanization, it was easiest to return to the image of the Edo period. This kind of collective psychology lies behind frequent arguments that the Edo period was in fact already postmodern, including those otaku theories put forth by O¯tsuka and Okada. Therefore, the “Edo” envisaged within such claims is, again, often not based on reality but rather comprises a form of ﬁction constructed in an effort to escape the impact of Americanization.