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Azuma s theoretical analysis of Japanese Otaku culture provides some useful insights into Japanese intellectual life, applied post modernism and a phenomenon which, like rap from the other side of the world, has spread with globalisation The footnotes are as valuable as the text.It is perhaps a sign of that spread that my daughter English was able to point out quite quickly that two illustrations of images of girls from Urusei Yatsura and Sailor Moon had been transposed It seems that t Azuma s theoretical analysis of Japanese Otaku culture provides some useful insights into Japanese intellectual life, applied post modernism and a phenomenon which, like rap from the other side of the world, has spread with globalisation The footnotes are as valuable as the text.It is perhaps a sign of that spread that my daughter English was able to point out quite quickly that two illustrations of images of girls from Urusei Yatsura and Sailor Moon had been transposed It seems that the kids are sharper than the academics on matters of actual content.Unfortunately, like so many works about the post modern, the book is marred by Theory Azuma has some important things to say about the end of the modernist project and of grand narratives but he over relies on Kojeve and he seems desperate to assert his own authorial presence over the data.Kojeve and the Neo Hegelians represent a particular bug bear of mine their desperate attempt to impose authorial rights on history strikes me as the last fling of a redundant academy but equally awkward is Azuma s own instinct to over analyse and model.The section on multiple personality as analogue for Otaku modes of thinking is mildly embarrassing though this is a rare lapse What Azuma fails to understand are the power relations implicit in the internet revolution insofar as it allows us choices about value.He is excellent on identifying the role of desire rather than need in post modern internet culture but he under estimates the positive role of Japanese popular culture in opening up the space for personal psychotherapeutic solutions to living under conditions of excessive socialisation.He strikes me as still ambiguous in his attempt to remain objective about phenomena that are best understood subjectively What we have to ask is not why Otaku works in Japan but what it means insofar as it has been adapted again, like rap amongst entire generations overseas.His analyses are sound and informative but he seems to find it difficult to see that Otaku thinking can co exist with a muchgrounded relationship with the real world than modernist ideologies have ever permitted their adherents to do.The point of the modernist ideologue is that he cannot but confuse imagination and reality we see it in the Great Religions , in Marxism Leninism and in Neo Hegelianism Today, we see the desperate attempts of politicians to save the Euro as their attempt to force reality into an imaginative strait jacket This confusion of imagination and reality is at the root of the great blood lettings of the recent past This derives from an obsession with unification as if the individual mind working within one Heraclitean system can be brought into alignment by force with a Heraclitean world working to different rules.Modern history is the paradoxical attempt to will Cartesian realities be over ridden so that individuation is not a matter of personal discovery unto death in an unknowable monist materialist world the way of existentialism but a social practice built around Humanity.The post modern revolution provided a theoretical framework for a very profound change in human relations but this revolution continues to use the praxis of modernity because intellectuals, by their very nature, belong to the old world even as they seek to understand the new.Practical, as opposed to theoretical, post modernism can be characterised by an individual and immediate understanding that the world of socialisation and the worlds of individual imaginations based on immediate desires where Lacan does have insights are different but equal in worth.A person is thrust into a world so much was elucidated by Heidegger which is constructed by others Alienation is the recognition that this social world since the material world is merely the satisfier or denier of needs does not accord with the inner desiring self.Socialisation for many and often sound reasons blocks desire and under modernism and earlier systems went so far as try to police desire by socialising the inner mind of persons Even today, liberal ideologues do this as various forms of political correctness and the constant process of engineering consent The corporate system lives in the half world between systems, simultaneously trying to manufacture desires and respond to desires that are not manufactured The market has moved on from the satisfactions of needs, through the creation of desires and needs to the satisfaction of desires not of its own making The power has shifted to the person desiring and this confuses a whole class of intermediaries who made choices for others.The market by recognising the value of desire and then the internet in enabling the desirer access to massive numbers of constantly adaptable and recursive objects of desire has allowed the young who will be old one day the ability to choose destinies and identities.The modern liberal mind is suspicious of the market and increasingly of the internet except as a directed tool but it actively loathes the idea of persons floating between and around multiple identities and destinies instead of locking themselves into some socially definable category.Think of the difference between the Generation of 68 s determination to class people as gays or blacks or jews and the floating identities of people who play with many sexualities, cultural allegiances and spiritual paths in shifting tribes The discomfort of the former becomes clearer.The modern Liberal wants the liberation of a rational person who is equal and objectified within a total humanity The post modern acts as if he is already liberated as a person operating beyond reason, equal in praxis and with no sense of being anything other than one of many thinking animals.Liberals understand that the post moderns are highly creative and radical in thought but deeply conservative about social relations and change in the real world The post moderns choose to accept reality as it is and construct complex and creative private lives in floating communities or tribes.Azuma grasps much of this The book is worth reading for his descriptions of how one version of post modern culture operates, perfectly harmlessly, within a major new paradigm for productive relations which the moderns are now busy trying to put back in a box marked controlled zone.Whether they will succeed or not is not known but it will be sad if elites re capture the high ground they have abandoned and try to impose grand narratives that turn the new humans closer to their animal desires and so stronger back into objects again and so weaker.A surprisingly readable book for a translation of a text in post modern theory, it is not quite the masterpiece that it could have been because the author allows himself to get lost in the intellectual struggles of his own country but it is well worth reading Rhizome You re no longer my friend Database animal is now my friend. As a result, instead of narratives creating characters, it became a general strategy to create character settings first, followed by works and projects, including the stories I m a lapsed anime fan I spent 2002 2006 wondering why all the series out were so terrible As Azuma puts it from the beginning the sense of realism in otaku genres has been weak in many cases, even original works create worlds through citation and imitation of previous works I could not agree According t As a result, instead of narratives creating characters, it became a general strategy to create character settings first, followed by works and projects, including the stories I m a lapsed anime fan I spent 2002 2006 wondering why all the series out were so terrible As Azuma puts it from the beginning the sense of realism in otaku genres has been weak in many cases, even original works create worlds through citation and imitation of previous works I could not agree According to Azuma s theory, an anime or game setting exists as a kind of imaginary database , which you can t own But by capturing all 500 Pokemon or watching every episode, you can collect cross sectional fragments of a grand narrative.This framework is useful for understanding questions that always bugged me about Gundam SEED and its sequel such as the seemingly random existence of Newtypes Rey, Rau, Mwu , etc Like the Zaku and even certain elements of the plot begin in space, etc , the Newtype flash was part of the database of Gundam information which is tapped by successive series, even when they bear no relation to the original continuity 85 86, money quote Although I can only analyze otaku culture in this book, I think thatbroadly this disassociative coexistence of the desire for a small narrative at the level of simulacra and the desire for a grand nonnarrative at the level of database is a structure that generally characterizes subjectivity in postmodern society Come to think of it, this perfectly characterizes the behavior of gamers who for instance study all possible Rage abilities in FF6 and use the knowledge to build strategies for a game played under a self imposed constraint under 13 hours, complete the game with only 4 characters, level limit, etc.This book is a must read for anyone who used to be into anime but wondered what happened Other than growing up I will say that the jargon flies thick and fast sometimes And there is this laughable line however, since his distinction is too intricate for our purposes, I rephrased them with the technical terminology of Lacanian psychoanalysis Gimme a break Still, a great read This book needs some serious editing, structuring and explaining of presumptions it utilises e.g not everyone is familiar with works of mentioned philosophers It presented some concepts that I honestly did not grasp at all but this does not necessarily make them less plausible the author just generally lacks in the field of coherent, argumented discourse.I do not recommend this book to readers who are completely unfamiliar with Japan and anime subculture I got through it solely on my deep This book needs some serious editing, structuring and explaining of presumptions it utilises e.g not everyone is familiar with works of mentioned philosophers It presented some concepts that I honestly did not grasp at all but this does not necessarily make them less plausible the author just generally lacks in the field of coherent, argumented discourse.I do not recommend this book to readers who are completely unfamiliar with Japan and anime subculture I got through it solely on my deep interest in the subject, however I did not feel particularly enlightened afterwards A clear summary and overview of base ideas of this book as it does have moments of brilliant insight would bevaluable than the original, which is ironic since the author postulates a natural creation of simulacra in the postmodern era [ DOWNLOAD ] ♫ Otaku: Japan's Database Animals ⚖ In Japan, obsessive adult fans and collectors of manga and anime are known as otaku Hiroki Azuma s Otaku offers a critical, philosophical, and historical inquiry into the characteristics and consequences of this consumer subculture I mentioned to someone how I was reading this book about how Japanese pop culture fans like to remix what they re reading into parodies and spinoffs.My friend said to me, Oh, you mean like how the Tale of Genji was read in the Edo period I wish I could remember which of my friends said this, but they cut right through Azuma s BS for me Indeed, a well researched book was just published on the Genji subject The Tale of Genji Translation, Canonization, and World Literature Otaku is a pretty I mentioned to someone how I was reading this book about how Japanese pop culture fans like to remix what they re reading into parodies and spinoffs.My friend said to me, Oh, you mean like how the Tale of Genji was read in the Edo period I wish I could remember which of my friends said this, but they cut right through Azuma s BS for me Indeed, a well researched book was just published on the Genji subject The Tale of Genji Translation, Canonization, and World Literature Otaku is a pretty interesting book for understanding and interpreting writers like Derrida and Koj ve, but it is not the best book in that category, and Azuma s ideas of what make otaku unique are fairly dubious It s an entertaining read, but take it with a heap of salt A fascinating read, though I d recommend a base familiarity with postmodernism going in, as it will make the theory a bitaccessible Would recommend for any blooming fans of contemporary media studies it s amazing to see just how accurate Azuma s predictions of modern culture are, given that the book was written just under two decades ago A wonderful and compact book I gave it to stars because frankly, I quite loved the insight and history on otaku culture but I m not going to be nice here I really did not enjoy this book at all and it s entirely for ideological reasons, and also because the translators should ve probably stuck with the simple present rather than the present continuous for a lot of sentences Creators are analyzing and recombining vs creators analyze and recombine.first of all I ll start off by saying that I don t buy into post moderni I gave it to stars because frankly, I quite loved the insight and history on otaku culture but I m not going to be nice here I really did not enjoy this book at all and it s entirely for ideological reasons, and also because the translators should ve probably stuck with the simple present rather than the present continuous for a lot of sentences Creators are analyzing and recombining vs creators analyze and recombine.first of all I ll start off by saying that I don t buy into post modernism and generally see it as an overly complex way of analyzing the world I especially despise that the very title of the book and its central premise comes from an author, Kojeve, who believes the US is a post Marxist paradise where one may work to their heart s content, and made several sweeping statements about Japanese culture based on his limited knowledge and brief stay in Japan to me, using this man s scholarship at all is irresponsible basing your ENTIRE CENTRAL THESIS ON HIS WORK inexcusable Azuma cites this complete crackpot and then brings up Zizek which made me want to stop reading right then and there.while I can appreciate that Azuma is coming from a Japanese perspective, he s got a really unreasonable approach to how the Entire World works like, living in the so called third world, I m not sure how you can post modern yourself into declaring that first world modernity exists here when just over 50% of Brazilians have regular internet access and most of those internet users believe Facebook is the entire internet it s an entire farce, one that assumes the world is the first world and the rest of us are irrelevant or non existent, which I can assure you we very much are not even if we aren t nearly as well read or bilingual like I am, thank you very much.the database part of the title is interesting and it s a cool theory actually but referring to people as animals because we are okay with nature broadly speaking is.hm remembering that Hegel and his contemporaries did not have a favorable view of nature and those who existed peacefully with it, it takes on a pretty derogatory term plus I ll go so far as to say that peaceful coexistence with nature, in the hegelian sense or the literal sense, is not something we should necessarily fear or fight, and that any thinking human would work with their environment, not against it tl dr we no longer live in the 19th century, can we let it go already, thanks.despite all this negativity I enjoyed a lot of aspects of Database Animals Azuma did an excellent job writing in an accessible, clear manner this was deliberate, something he discussed in the intro, and I greatly appreciate authors who write for large audiences without simplifying their work too much there s plenty of very difficult concepts in the book, so believe me, Azuma did not make this an easy read by any means.it s also oddly compelling I outright hated all of his sources but Azuma himself has such an interesting voice that I didn t mind rereading parts I didn t understand or reading the parts I hated if I spoke any Japanese at all I d love to talk to him personally, he really comes across as enthusiastic about his work, something I can appreciate.the translation except for a few annoying verb tense choices I touched on earlier is quite coherent if you don t read the translators notes at the beginning you re missing out on a lot of context and history surrounding the production of the book, which is frankly fascinating and engaging as a translator myself I also love reading the process behind each project and this one has quite a lot of context you d be remiss to pass up on.and finally, nothing gets me hype like reading about Evangelion, especially Azuma s comparisons between Eva and Gundam it was thought provoking and fun, and I wish the whole book was like that instead of telling me how I m an animal because Hegel said so if you can t tell, I hate Hegel.I wouldn t recommend this book to anyone because it s just too specific it was an incredibly fast read though so if you ve got time to kill I guess you can try picking it up but I genuinely think it isn t necessary I wanted it to be about otaku culture and it ended up being about philosophy and post modernism, the two things I hate the most, so just keep that in mind before reading In the Western media, otaku tend to be men with an unhealthy interest in female characters in anime, manga and video games In standard Japanese, otaku means another person s house or family, and can be used metaphorically as a formal you pronoun One explanation for how the word came to refer to fans of comics and animation is that they supposedly persisted in this formal address among themselves, even when close friends, suggesting social awkwardness This book offers another explanation In the Western media, otaku tend to be men with an unhealthy interest in female characters in anime, manga and video games In standard Japanese, otaku means another person s house or family, and can be used metaphorically as a formal you pronoun One explanation for how the word came to refer to fans of comics and animation is that they supposedly persisted in this formal address among themselves, even when close friends, suggesting social awkwardness This book offers another explanation which isn t mutually exclusive in the post modern vacuum of accepted authority, the otaku construct their own group belonging Otaku shut themselves into the hobby community not because they deny sociality but rather because, as social values and standards are already dysfunctional, they feel a pressing need to construct alternative values and needs The book first describes the development of manga and anime, and concludes that defeat in WWII forced Japanese authors to look back to the Edo shogunate period for an acceptable historical backdrop Paradoxically, the available media comics and movies were from the USA Hence the creation of a pseudo Japan manufactured from U.S made material One example is the depiction of heroines dressed as Shinto shrine maidens which, incidentally, suggests how much cultural depth Western readers and viewers, such as myself, are likely to miss.The author proposes a postmodern database model of the world, contrasting with what he calls the tree model of the old grand narratives The idea is that the elements in the database model aren t structured in accordance with any higher meaning or purpose but only make sense in and between themselves This model is likened to Deleuze and Guattari s rhizome The author illustrates his model by reference to search websites that can classify, or search for, fictional characters according to elements moe of appearance, dress, personality and so on I suppose the author is describing on the dominance of this way of thinking, not claiming that it is absolutely novel Back in the 1970s, at primary school, I was interested in the characteristics of motorbikes as described in Top Trump cards, without any narrative ideas of racing or other uses for the bikes The animals in the title come from a prediction by Alexandre Koj ve, in his book on Hegel, that people would perform musical concerts after the fashion of frogs and cicadas, would play like young animals, and would indulge in love like adult beasts This is a short book which, as the author says, is a work of postmodern criticism rather than sociology It was first published in 2001, so the examples and figures are somewhat dated, but the logic is still convincing The database model of character traits resonates with my experiences watching anime and observing anime fans I ve noticed that anime tends to produce really out there and interesting characters, which I often find inspiration in when creating NPC s in tabletop RPG s I am DM ing So this explains where that comes from How the moe elements build on each other and evolve reminds me of W Brian Arthur s argument about technology evolution, which supposedly piggybacks off of Kuhn s The Structure The database model of character traits resonates with my experiences watching anime and observing anime fans I ve noticed that anime tends to produce really out there and interesting characters, which I often find inspiration in when creating NPC s in tabletop RPG s I am DM ing So this explains where that comes from How the moe elements build on each other and evolve reminds me of W Brian Arthur s argument about technology evolution, which supposedly piggybacks off of Kuhn s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions I find thinking about the world in this way to be helpful, it helps me picture how individual things came to be the way they are It also helps by demystifying the idea of genius, and instead shows how acclaimed ideas are usually just one chain of evolution formed by a combination of previous ideas, which just so happen to produce something universally recognized and praised It makes creating things much less intimidating I appreciated how he described postmodern ideas in accessible ways, which often isn t the case with thinkers like Baudrillard and Derrida Unfortunately, when trying to defend Otaku, he says homosexuality is a perversion, and lists it as such next to pedophilia If the book was written pre 1970s I may just roll my eyes and continue reading, but this was published in 2001, and then again in 2009 Really