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I wrote this shortly after the news broke and was planning on saving this for the next AWO, but we haven't even decided when to record that. Have about 600 words which I may or may not crosspost all over the place:

As an ardent hater of moe and the entire culture it has spawned, it requires some restraint on my part to not take this entire development and say "I told you so" to all the people who said I was merely spouting off invective. Part of me wants to just say "Akihabara can burn for all I care." But I can't do that since too many media outlets, whether it's the mainstream media or the Japan/anime blogs, are sort of missing the point in various degrees.

The traditional media will have their stories full of those leading "questions" like "did these VIDEOGAMES and COMICBOOKS make Kato into A KILLER?" These aren't actually questions at all so much as inserted editorializing, since the current state of the news media is "if you put a question mark in front of your biased statement, then you're now just asking a question and nobody can fault you for that! That's what news is about!"

But the new media (blogs, podcasts) is often slightly off the mark too. They're good at debunking the loaded questions, but that's partially out of self preservation and the only ones reading such sites are people who already know the drill. But in trying to answer the question "how did this happen?", they too fall victim to the "he was always a psychopath" or the "he just snapped" rationalization (see: the Anime News Network forum discussion at http://tinyurl.com/6lpr32 ). Can't blame them, really. It mentally distances oneself from the criminal. "Oh, that could never happen to me or anyone here. That guy was just plain CRAZY."

To that I say bullshit. I say Kato wasn't crazy; at least, not the way people think. The way he was crazy is that he was a typical otaku.

Otaku are a tragic lot, faced with two choices: accept reality or deny it. The otaku's reality is that they will live and die alone, as they have dedicated their life to the pursuit of their hobby.* The human psyche generally cannot accept this fate as valid, and so many otaku instead opt to deny reality and live in the 2D fantasy world that moe enables and provides, a world where women of their dreams will love them unconditionally. It's of course all fake, but at least within the confines of this mental construct the Evangelion movie title "you are not alone" holds true for a change.

But the biological imperatives hard-coded into our DNA are too strong, and eventually the brain stops accepting the illusion. Faced with no remaining escape, if the otaku is unable to alter the harshness of their reality (and they generally aren't), they frequently take their own lives. Once upon a time I said "the average life expectancy of an otaku is about thirty years." This is why.

Tomohiro Kato is 25 and per his own words was tired of life. That sounds about par for the course. What makes him stand out from the other otaku is that he opted to not only kill himself, but the portal linking the real world to the 2D one: Akihabara. He didn't quite succeed in offing himself due to being apprehended by the police. Whether he succeeded in killing (or perhaps permanently scarring) Akihabara is yet unknown.

* Anyone wishing to post "well, I have a huge collection of stuff and know all about the subject, and I have a wife/girlfriend so you're presenting a false dilemma!" stop. You're not an otaku, you're a fan. A superfan, even. Because if you're an "otaku," then what word do we use for the people I speak of?

I still think it's too early to cash in the chips on the whole "was he an otaku or not" debate. And even then, having like seven crummy items in your collection hardly makes you the Moe Killer that we've all been dreading, or in your case, waiting for. (To be fair, it doesn't sound like he could afford much more than that, but if someone broke into my apt for something unspeakable, would it all be blamed on piles of Godzilla toys and dozens of copies of Koakuma Ageha magazine?)

But yeah, the next time otaku culture goes on trial, it will probably be for the troublesome sexual content in lolicon and moe anime and manga, so I think there's a real chance of this flaring up in that direction, but only that direction. This would be the next logical step in making Akihabara (still center stage for otaku culture) a "safer" place for the whole goddamn family - enter Yokoso Japan - which is where my own personal save point is in this battlefield without honor and humanity.

A few days after the act itself, we're at the stage where everyone wants to mold the crime to suit their own ends and interests...You'd like to see this plunge a wooden stake into the heart of moe, while some fans are indulging their usual neurotic death wish by asking "IS THIS THE END OF OTAKU CULTURE AS WE KNOW IT?" And so on, and so on. It's not a pretty sight, but what aftermath of a crime scene ever is?

Maybe this is a long shot, and maybe I'm being way too optimistic here, but I'm hoping there's a chance that while we wring our hands on message boards and blogs in the virtual cyberspace land of the tomorrow, some ideas that need discussion might get some airtime where they are needed the most.

Not like the media over in Japan is any kind of haven for intelligent debate, but so far, the men in the high castle are leaning towards pegging Kato as a part of a larger wave of "loner on a rampage" crimes while only touching on the otaku angle (so far). A few pundits are looking at the downsizing of the Japanese economy for creating a vast lower class with no opportunities for the future - this subject that no one wants to talk about, but is way more pressing and relevant to the current situation than anime, manga, and TV games ever could be as it underpins so much of what is going on in Japan these days, from the loan industry to hostess clubs.

It just sucks that it took seven dead people to make us reach this point. But sometimes, that's what it takes.

Patrick, I follow your blog on a regular basis, and of course checked in to see your thoughts on the recent events. I also hope that some intelligent debate comes out of all this, and my own early thoughts on the matter can be found here: http://www.cjas.org/~leng/lainspotting/2008/06/moving-forward-from-sad-days-in.html

I think my discussion is relevant to Daryl's comment above, especially with regards to the issue of who we call 'otaku', and whether or not we should reserve that word for only the most troubled youth out there. For many reasons, I don't think we should. Yes, Tomohiro Kato was a troubled individual, and it's naive to say that he was 'simply crazy', but to use the otaku label to explain his behavior is also loaded with problems.

It's not so bad now, but anime fandom has long been pushed to the fringes by mainstream society. Now that we've gotten a taste of mainstream acceptance, is it necessary for us to turn around and push our own fellow fans to the fringes? Must we alienate those anime/manga fans who are enthusiastic of genres we find distasteful?

One thought I forgot to include:

It's too early to know for sure, but was Kato's fatal flaw that he was too much of an otaku? Maybe we'll discover that he wasn't otaku enough...

It reminds me of Takashi Murakami's discussion of Tsutomu Miyazaki not being otaku enough, and even himself lacking the ability to be a true otaku: "I am one of the losers who failed to become an otaku king." But Murakami ultimately found a place to express himself productively; Tsutomu Miyazaki did not.
http://www.jca-online.com/murakami.html

Takashi Murakami talks out of his ass, same place his (f)art comes from.

It would be awful damn nice if the world could educate itself about statistics and probability. We'd spend a lot less time (and way less money and energy) obsessing on things that are extremely unlikely.

It would be even nicer if people could stop to remember that fantasy media do not drive people to insane acts any more than anything else they choose to absorb. What is the percentage of murderers on death row who had any contact with fantasy media? Gotta be a low, low number. What was their economic/educational/religious/relationship status? Seems like those areas all have a bigger impact than fantasy media.

We have this inborn survival imperative that blinds us when it comes to the actual numbers. Over and above the 7 very, very unlucky people who were killed by this lunatic, how many were within the red zone and walked away untouched? Probably many more than 7. Over and above this one lunatic, how many "maladjusted" young men were within a half-mile radius who did NOT express their discontent with a weapon? Probably many more than 1.

It's a good thing to be aware of wider trends and have rational discussions about them. It is not a good thing to turn one example into a policy that needlessly impacts the lives of millions. My wish? That this guy not be turned into the next Shoe Bomber. That would mean giving him power and reach rather than educating ourselves.

Otaku culture is the antidote to otaku alienation from mainstream society. The big joke is that almost everyone (including otaku and "normals") is still using it as a wall.

Matt Alt over at META no TAME:

"As Shin-Ichi Karasawa and Toshio Okada remark in the book Otaku-Ron, “these days, if you define ‘otaku’ as ’someone who watches anime,’ you’re describing half of the people on the planet.”

I believe we're pretty much in agreement that what lead to Kato's violent outburst has to do with social and economic issues plaguing japan, or better yet all post-modern societies. Either way, he made the choice. While many of us with fragile psyche, who use anime, figurines, comics and other otaku-ish hobbies to either runaway from our real-life problems or just because its plain fun dont' do a single violent act on our fellowman.

Daryl anti-moe stance is fine, he has the right to express his own opinion, but at this current time Otaku, just doesn't mean crazy guy who uses the 2D world to runaway from their problems. My opinion is that Otaku's are those who are very close to their hobbies (makes them seem slight crazy), which may lead to a certain amount social isolation. It doesn't mean they don't have wives, friends, or children, it just means their social circle is much smaller and more restrictive.

Is it healthy to be a well-rounded individual,sure it is, but every human being has quirks; little things that make them stand out.

Whether Kato was an Otaku or not isn't the issue. The issue is whether he had major problems in his life which may account for his outburst. It seems very much that he did. Dead end job, in debt, self-imposed social isolation, many of these things definitely effect a person mental capacity.

I know some people would like to say that this could happen to anyone, but thats not true. Many people with worst problems have been able to pick themselves up and have wonderful lives. To say this could happen anyone is to assume everyone has the same form of psyche/personality as Kato.

In the end Kato is solely responsible of his actions. We are so quick to justify his actions or at least explain them, but that shouldn't be so. Whether you blame Japan's economic situation or the Moe Culture doesn't change the fact that Kato is an Individual, who made choices he knew were incorrect. Sure we should face our social and economic problems head on, and its unfortunate that it took this atrocity to come to grips with those issues, but in the end that man made the choice to do the unspeakable, being an Otaku or economic downtrodden or not.

Dude was crazy.

Just to clarify my comment above, I don't mean to say that Kato is a loser (in the pejorative sense) for not being otaku enough (if that's even the case). I'm using "loser" in the literal sense of someone who is not successful at a competitive endeavor, and we all know that fan culture can be quite competitive.

What I'm wondering is whether Kato would have committed the crime if he was well-integrated into otaku culture and productive amongst his otaku peers (online or otherwise), even if he found the rest of his life uninspiring.

--

Hi byrc, I agree with many of your points, but want to discuss one thing: Maybe it can't and won't 'happen to anyone', but the numbers of Japanese youth facing mental problems are not small (depending on which stats you believe regarding hikikomori, for example). Sure, most of them won't be violent, but murders aren't the only societal problems we have to worry about (but I think we _should_ worry about mass murder, even if it's an uncommon occurence).

We can talk about people's choices, personalities, and psyches, but we also need to consider the social conditions that influence choices and cause people to develop certain personalities.

Luster:
Thank you for your enlightening commentary.

I blame the MOE.

I blame the fact that this poor man, lost in his own helplessness, didn't have a steady diet of truely manly anime to bloster his self esteem. The lack of Mazinger Z, Getta Robo, Space Battleship Yamato and Space Pirate Captain Harlock (to name just a few), along with no Sonny Chiba movies, lead to a mis-developed sense of worth and his own empowerment.

Seriously. What's the message of MOE, of the Harem Show? "If you're a hapless, hopeless, clueless man with a good heart, a pretty girl with glasses and antenna bangs will love you, and her friends too" and it didn't happen for him, the promise unfulfilled. So, not knowing what else to do, he went to the soul of MOE, hoping that at the last moment a goddess would appear and turn him from his deadly mission. But reality isn't anime, and he stabbed and stabbed, wishing for suicide by cop because he didn't have the guts to do it himself.

He didn't know what it meant to be a Man. A Man suffers. A Man endures. A Man sets his shoulders and keeps going. Those classic values in the old anime aren't being taught anymore.

I read that earlier post with the text messaging and that's just like all the emo crap you here around here in the US. "whah wah I'm so sad why doesn't anyone love me boo hoo don't say bad things I'll kill myself"


You might think I'm mocking, I'm not. I'm serious about this. I'm just not good enough a wordsmith to use more high tone sounding language to get this across.

I expect copycat acts. It would not shock me at all if someone here in the US did something similar, citing this act as a 'call to arms' or some shit. But the copycats will be doing JUST for the attention. Which is even worse.

Tim worries this could be a 'shoe bomber' point, where I guess Akiba would be all blocked off and checkpoints set up or something. that's not going to happen. Japan is strict enough as it is.

I agree, but that's not quite the point I'm trying to make. The policies that rippled outward from the shoe bomber case were just stopgap measures to catch copycat behavior. So far these measures have only achieved great expense and inconvenience. Meanwhile, no action has been taken to change the conditions that created the shoe bomber in the first place. So the shoe bomber wins.

Make it so people don't feel the need to become shoe bombers or Akiba stabbers and we all win. But that's apparently too complicated.

So instead of moe maid cafes, how about manly sergeant cafes?

http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=4783

Kidding aside, much as it would be great to see a revival of "classical-style manliness" in the anime/manga industry, I just don't see it happening. Those kinds of stories were popular because they resonated with the audiences back then: Japan was rocketing out of postwar poverty and into a major player on the global scene. There was a very real zeitgeist of unbridled optimism and greatness that let the audience relate to stories of manly self-actualization.

While things now certainly aren't awful, they certainly aren't rah-rah-great either. The present is uneasy and numbing, with the future vague and questionable. In such a situation, it is only natural that stories of cynicism and escapism, not passionate optimism, are the order of the day. These days, without the qualifier of parody, stories of classical-style manliness do not resonate but instead ring hollow.

But see, that's why there's a NEED for a return of the Men's anime. Could it not be said that it's now just a variation of post-war, only without the bombed out buildings and ashen fields? Now is shit, the future looks like more shit, so buckle down, grit your teeth, hide your tears and WORK for a better future!

But can a generation who has been taught to be meek and pussified on top of the traditional 'nail that sticks up gets pounded down' mindset rise to that challenge?

Tim, I get it about the shoe bomber. the answer of course is not to make everyone take off their shoes so nobody is offended, but focus on probability and behaviour. (and yes, I know you mean 'fix it so people don't hate America' which is utterly impractical, but that's a different argument from this).

But what would have caught this guy? Where's his sempai? Where's his 'circle' among his co-workers? Or has the wussification of manhood dissolved that part of the culture too?

Steve, when buckling down and gritting your teeth in the past ended up building the shit society of the present, there's little reason to believe that it holds the key to a better future.

Besides, Japan is already saturated with the idea of "stop whining and work hard". Guts and spirit can only go so far.

Well, I'm bi-polar I guess. As crappy as my life currently is, I don't have any urge to grab a knife and go out stabbing people.

I believe in Guts and Spirit. It took us to the MOON, dammitall. Tim got his book published after years of being shit upon. Patrick went from some doofus to editor in chief of a national magazine, writer of several books and all around neat guy. Carl- shy kid hanging around those guys watching Japanese cartoons to respected editor.

Guts and Spirit count. Someday, if I just keep hanging on, keep grinding away, my chance will come as well. I believe it. It's what gets me thru the dark, dark days.

I feel, and have nothing to back it up, that it wasn't Guts and Spirit that built the 'shit society' of the present, I believe it was turning the collective back on Guts and Spirit that devolved what was built. And that goes for America as well as Japan.

Geeze, I bet right now Patrick and a few others figure I'm gonna whip out the sound truck and start spouting stuff from Mishima.... :)

Not that bad. but that's what I believe.

Look, I agree that Guts and Spirit count. Everyone already knows that. Society practically demands it from us everyday. Salarymen and students wouldn't be literally dying from overwork if they didn't believe in that sort of thing.

But as time passes it becomes increasingly undeniable that Guts and Spirit isn't some panacea. Just blindly applying more and more won't improve our increasingly decrepit social institutions, nor improve our quality of life beyond more fancy gadgets to buy.

This feeling is quite widespread, which partly explains the general sense of malaise and unease that permeates so much of modern culture. The modern boogeymen of cynicism and escapism, so often dismissed as "devolution" and "pussification", etc etc, are our stumbling collective attempts to to figure out "what now?", because all the tried and true ideas that built our modern society are getting us less and less return. Those ideas are now merely letting us stay in place, as opposed to forge ahead.

Guts and spirit gets us far, but as I said before, it only goes so far. We've gotten to the moon, but it's been decades since then. We need to find out what else is necessary to actually take us to the stars.

How long are you going to sit on your ass though to find out what is necessary?

Why don't you actually try and change something NOW?

I'm sorry to interject within the current conversation but their is one aspect in this argument that I am curious to bring forth.

Yes an otaku by all sense is someone who is extremely dedicated to their belief in anime and all areas related, but in essence to blame the lack or over indulgence in otakusim is almost lacking in substance to the argument.

For example many people are almost perversely interested in some aspect of life be it sports. cars, bikes, health etc etc, but even then we would not use that as the main point but a possible factor to define that specific element of their motive as the key triggering event to their violent action.

Also as a counter argument to the manly anime versus moe. Normally main characters in most moe comics/animes hold great respect towards the others around him earning the love of the harem itself. All though I digress in admitting that I live in the states and do not fully understand the Japanese culture.

The only way a person can change society is through their own actions. Yes, come up with a personal plan on how you would like to impact the world, but take action on it!

Giving up on society is never a way to change it.

Cue: Ending theme from Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Thank you for your posts, DannyHibiki, which clearly illustrate my point that there is no lack of unceasing societal demands to follow the path of Guts and Spirit (which, ironically, can also be just another form of "sitting on your ass"). Even online within otaku culture, there is no escape. Even Love Hina, one of the greatest juggernauts of harem anime/manga, centers around the protagonist's unceasing efforts to get into Tokyo University in the face of high levels of physical and mental punishment.

In fact, the generic nice-guy everyman protagonist so prevalent in harem anime only serves to further advocate "Guts and Spirit". The subtle message is this: "Don't give up, even in the face of constant physical and mental humiliation, because even weak, unremarkable people who work hard, are kind, and try to do the right thing will be rewarded."

Guts and Spirit is almost never abandoned, even in the most moe of products. It's too integral a cultural concept to be thrown away. It's just that Guts and Spirit alone is not enough.

Moe doesn't kill people. People kill people.

Also re: current manly anime-- See: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

Mr. Macias, with all due respect, I fail to see how your argument works against moe itself. Certainly, it makes a valid point against overindulgence, but I don't think there are many who would dispute the idea that overindulgence is a bad thing (no matter what one is overindulging in). What about casual fans of moe, or even superfans of moe who simply have enough control over themselves not to devote their entire lives to it?

Now, personally, I like the cute drawings that sometimes come out of moe, but that's about where it ends. Moe tends to, in my observation, be very questionable from a feminist standpoint. Still, I can't see how moe would make someone a killer just by being moe. Moreover, the kind of person you describe, who relies 100% on their escapism just to keep going, sounds like the kind of person who would just latch onto something else if they didn't latch onto moe.

Finally, I'm not very familiar with what distinguishes non-moe from moe, so I could be wrong, but I don't think the doujinshi in the top-left is moe. It appears to be based on the Touhou games, a popular series of 2D danmaku doujin shmups for PC.

Um, I think you mean to take Daryl Surat to task, not me. He wrote that vigorously anti-moe first post (which has about as much vim and vigor to it as a video nasty era rant against all the sex and violence in anime), not me.

Oh! I'm sorry; I missed that first byline. I suppose I probably should have thought it odd that you would be the first to comment on your own article. Excuse me.

It goes without saying now, but anyone reading this should replace "Macias" with "Surat" in my earlier post.

I agree with the above, which just furthers the notion that the stabber's hobbies were not the reason he did what he did. And if he were truly devoid of guts and/or spirit he would probably have shriveled up into a ball in his apartment and been found dead.

This could NOT have been caused by what the guy watched, read, studied, or absorbed, so we should just stop debating that. It had everything to do with his lack of quality relationships and goals to keep living for. He obviously didn't absorb this message from the stories he paid attention to, or things would have gone differently.

It would be interesting to hear what sort of parenting he had, too.

I dunno Quidam, Touhou's pretty fucking moe. The entire cast is made out of lolis!

His life background has been mentioned in several articles; here's one:

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/afp/20080610/twl-japan-crime-4bdc673.html

From what I've pieced together from various online news articles, as a child he was under parental pressure to achieve. Was a model student, got accepted into a prestigious high school, played tennis. Fell behind in his class rankings due to the tougher competition and gradually became more and more violent at home in private, with rumors of violence toward his mom. Failed the university entrance exams and became an auto worker. Nothing unusual about him until faced with possibility of losing his job; one day his uniform was missing at work and he left in a rage, thinking it meant he was fired.

Apparently good at hiding his emotions, judging from the above article and his online posts:
'"I was a kid who had a good reputation with adults. I'm accustomed to playing a good guy. Everybody was tricked so easily," he reportedly wrote over the Internet on the eve of the crime.'

My quick take: The guy had really deep-seated issues. He felt that for his entire life he was just working hard to meet external demands, and in the process alienated himself from others to maintain a proper image. Failing university exams and becoming a blue-collar worker made his efforts seem worthless. Eventually he snapped.

It's my fault for not adding an important qualifier: Hot Blooded Guts and Spirit.

You will never convince me that the guy in Love Hina is hot blooded.

ah, well, don't mean nothin' snake, don't mean nothin'.

Well, you'll get no argument from me there. A character meant to be as unremarkable and normal as possible can't be hot-blooded.

And let me add a qualifier of my own: in no way is my cheap 'n' dirty psychoanalysis of the criminal suspect meant as an excuse for his actions. Though we can analyze endlessly over what may have contributed to the incident, the distinctly pre-mediated nature of the incident means that the ultimate blame lies not on circumstances or moe or society, but on the killer himself.

No blood, no foul, Zargas. :)

But you see, the point I'm fumbing around trying to ineptly make is, no, MOE didn't make him murder. MOE is a symptom.

There's no question in my mind that the choice of the time, the day and the place for his outrage was tied to the frustration over the MOE fantasy not playing out. It wasn't random as the text messages show. he wanted the heart of his discontent, and also...to capture the public eye, all those cameras, all those people...watching HIM. Finally, validation.

What I don't understand...and here's where my lack of being an old Japan hand shows...it's odd to me that his uniform missing would be such a trigger. Is that a normal way to tell an employee they're fired without actually telling him? would it be reasonable for him to leap to that conclusion? Was someone playing a joke on him or was it just a mistake? Why didn't his boss say "hey, hey, cool it, here it is, it just came back from the cleaning company.." or whatever?

I mean, OK, I'm familiar with the "one bad day" concept of how comic book heros and villians are born, and there's no end of movies that start with that JUST.....ONE...MORE....THING going wrong that starts a rampage, but it just seems there should be more.

Probably won't find out. I'm sure anyone who actually had connections with him is probably staying very quiet.

Say, who WAS he sending those text messages to?

(I won't go into my feelings that this is just a sign of the madness gripping the world that may or may not be created and not natural...)

It is somewhat disconcerting that there are people out there who 1. think otakudom can exist WITHOUT overindulgence (my post was ONLY with regards to otaku such as wildarmsheero and myself), and 2. somehow inferred that I was arguing the polar opposite of what I actually posted. That second one encapsulates practically everybody who responded to my post either directly or indirectly.

So allow me to repeat myself one more time: the pedo comicbooks and games did not make this guy go out and kill anyone, and it is disingenuous to claim otherwise. If you actually read my comment, you'll find I condemned this line of thinking quite unambiguously. Please stop objecting to my position based on points I never advocated, as it merely demonstrates you didn't read what I said and I am therefore under no obligation to respond. This is a win-win for everyone, as there's quite a few replies here as it stands.

With all due respect Steve, I do not believe for a second that there's anything unique to moe that makes it any sort of meaningful symptom of violence. School shootings in America are very similar to this incident, but with very non-moe scapegoats such firearm culture, gun-and-military-based video games, death metal music, etc.

If you trust Wikipedia, then Columbine entry has information about the 2002 Secret Service report on 37 U.S. school shootings. There are findings that bear many striking resemblance to the Akihabara incident:
* Incidents of targeted violence at school rarely were sudden, impulsive acts.
* Prior to most incidents, other people knew about the attacker’s idea and/or plan to attack.
* Most attackers did not threaten their targets directly prior to advancing the attack.
* There is no accurate or useful "profile" of students who engaged in targeted school violence.
* Most attackers engaged in some behavior prior to the incident that caused others concern or indicated a need for help.
* Most attackers had difficulty coping with significant losses or personal failures. Moreover, many had considered or attempted suicide.
* Many attackers felt bullied, persecuted or injured by others prior to the attack.

There are so many similarities between U.S. school shootings and the Akihabara stabbing, yet the inevitably scapegoated hobbies and fantasies are so different from each other. I can only reach the conclusion that the actual hobbies and fantasies are irrelevant; only the frustration building up within the killers actually matter.

As for the Akiba killer's work uniform, he was already nervous about getting fired in the first place and probably unreasonably obsessing over every little thing that could imply that. His missing uniform was just an accident, but by the time they came back with his uniform, he had already left and never came back.

Regarding the Akiba killer's messages, he was probably sending them to 2ch, best described as a sort of massive, free-for-all message board with incredible amounts of traffic; the craziest things get posted there so almost impossible to tell if anyone's serious or not. There's also some other smaller website that is now shut down due to police investigations; unfortunately I don't have the relevant news article for that handy on me at the moment.

Found relevant article regarding where he posted his messages. 2ch not involved. Instead, he posted to a website called "Extreme Exchange", which seems to have been like a sort of shady Craigslist.

http://www.salon.com/wires/ap/world/2008/06/10/D917CGH80_japan_stabbing/index.html

What the FUCK.

I called it. I friggin' called it.

I hate being right. I hate it a lot.

The more they dig into his life the more mud they will fling. And that's a good enough reason to kiss Akiba goodbye.

Now the situation for Akiba would be way easier if Aso became the Japanese prime minister last year...
anyway, being an ex techno musician/DJ, back in the early nineties in London, I lived the Thatcher making laws against the rave culture times... everyhting changed, but nothing changed...
as Morishita says "Akiba is just the projection of an otaku room". Let's make a clear point, daytime animation is not akiba/otaku culture. Dragonball is not Akiba kei culture. If Kanda will push too much to make Akiba a family friendly place, otaku culture will just move on and colonize another area... at the beginning of the 80s, way before chuo dori, cosplayes hanged out in Harajuku so if Akiba is going to be a family theme park we will just move our "holy land" to a new address... said that from a business point of view I think there are too much money involved to change things. I'm more scared by Yodobashi and Big Camera (Sofmap) attitude to bishoujo games but this is another thread...

Note about otaku: Basically in Japan no one admits to be an otaku. Back in the analog days a friend in the eroge industry said: "I'm not Otaku, I just got 10.000 anime tapes, otakus got 20 or 30.000!".

(Tim Eldred seems to have already made this point, but I'm adding it again because, hey, reiteration is the key to understanding, and understanding is knowledge, and knowledge is POWER!)

Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a second. When did Akihabara become Columbine? Okay, so the guy had a few doujin soft games, a Reimu/Touhou doujin (that may or may not classify as "ero" because I can't tell in that shot, but it's not like that matters much) and whatever else is in that picture. Suddenly, the cause of a tragic and horrific massacre is the direct result of the consumption of media involving cute girls?

Flash back to 1999 when the media found out that the Columbine killers played DOOM a lot, a whole lot, and talked about how playing DOOM made them expert marksmen or whatever. What happened there? The public in general got in an uproar over violence in video games and how it was the direct cause of the Columbine tragedy. And then there were a slew of people who pointed out that, no, DOOM is a game, and just because they played a video game doesn't automatically make them disturbed individuals--most likely, they were disturbed individuals long before they got ahold of the game. It's the old librarian mantra: information is neutral, and it is up to the individual to decide what to do with it.

I'm willing to bet, although the only sure thing about this bet is that it's not a sure thing, that nearly everyone reading this blog would agree with the sentiment that playing violent video games does not make one a serial killer. It is instead a symptom of the deeper emotional disturbance the individual has--emphasis on the word "individual". Someone can play DOOM and be perfectly normal, and this is a common sentiment, I've found.

So I don't really see why, all of a sudden, when it's moe, everyone's up in arms over how it warps people's perceptions of reality. Possession of moe paraphenelia can (maybe, just maybe) be a sign of a deeper mental disturbance--but otherwise, it's a perfectly normal pastime. Well, okay, not "perfectly normal" because there is no such thing as normal, but that's another subject entirely.

The lesson we should learn from this isn't "moe is horrible and should be erased from anime forever" but the much more universally applicable "try not to conflate "symptoms" with "cause", regardless of what the media would like you to believe.

And I do hope that something like this opens up discussion on some of the deeper problems within Japanese society that affect all of it (not just how disgusting that moe garbage is). I'm not the most well-versed expert on that topic, but it's pretty clear to me that there's some serious issues under there that have been pervasive since the end of WWII. But no culture is free of serious issues that no one really wants to address, so they're not alone.

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