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Takeharu Sato

MA work

Fashion Victims and Otakus: Obsessive Youth in Tokyo since the 1990

What values and interests are reflected in the consumption of high fashion items by young people in Japan since the early 1990s?

The answer to this question is partly provided by Kyoichi Tsuzuki’s photographs which appeared in his book Tokyo Style (1993) and in a sequence entitled Happy Victims which appeared in Ryuko Tsushin magazine between 1999 and 2006. My analysis of these images is combined with personal interviews with Tsuzuki’s subjects in Tokyo. In this thesis I explore the relations between these people and Otaku (Geek) culture that became visible in the late 1980s in Japan. Otaku culture flourished with the development of Japanese animation, cartoons and personal computers.

Tsuzuki’s happy victims and otaku are obsessive, collecting their favourite consumer products. They constitute fan communities in both the social spaces of the city and in their homes. Their activities transcend the conventional boundaries of 'public' and 'private' space. As my thesis sets out to show, their consumption patterns have been deeply influenced by bubble economy, which became apparent from December 1989. In this study, I explore psychoanalytical and behavioural aspects of the consumption activities of these obsessive young people in Japan.

Info

  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Humanities

    Programme

    MA History of Design, 2007

  • Fashion Victims and Otakus: Obsessive Youth in Tokyo since the 1990

    What values and interests are reflected in the consumption of high fashion items by young people in Japan since the early 1990s?

    The answer to this question is partly provided by Kyoichi Tsuzuki’s photographs which appeared in his book Tokyo Style (1993) and in a sequence entitled Happy Victims which appeared in Ryuko Tsushin magazine between 1999 and 2006. My analysis of these images is combined with personal interviews with Tsuzuki’s subjects in Tokyo. In this thesis I explore the relations between these people and Otaku (Geek) culture that became visible in the late 1980s in Japan. Otaku culture flourished with the development of Japanese animation, cartoons and personal computers.

    Tsuzuki’s happy victims and otaku are obsessive, collecting their favourite consumer products. They constitute fan communities in both the social spaces of the city and in their homes. Their activities transcend the conventional boundaries of 'public' and 'private' space. As my thesis sets out to show, their consumption patterns have been deeply influenced by bubble economy, which became apparent from December 1989. In this study, I explore psychoanalytical and behavioural aspects of the consumption activities of these obsessive young people in Japan.