Influences of Electric Media on Fanzines in Japanese “Otaku” Culture

Friday, July 18, 2014: 4:00 PM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Sonoko AZUMA , Osaka University, Japan
Today, it is easy for ordinary people to widely disseminate their message and works over the Internet. Nevertheless, many people still disseminate information by paper media. For example, people known as otaku, who are fans of anime, manga, video games and so on, often create fanzines binding manga and novels they produced themselves in Japan. They then sell these fanzines at events in which fanzines are sold. With the growth of the Internet, otaku also exhibit their works on the web. But many otaku still use paper media to publish their works. This paper considers the influences of electric media on paper media and the merits of paper media as a tool for personal publications, based on my interview research for otaku who create fanzines.

     Originally, fanzines created by otaku have four functions: publishing fan works, informing others about their creative activity, talking about one’s favorite works and characters, and interacting others who share the same interests. As otaku use online tools for their creative activities, electric media have replaced paper media for informing others about their creative activity and discussing their favorite things.  But paper media have advantages in publishing works and interacting with others. Paper media is more suitable for placing manga and treated better than electric media. By selling fanzines at events, otaku can enjoy face-to-face communication with others. They can also directly gauge the reader’s response to their works. Although works created by fans are provided free of charge on the Internet, fanzines are traded with money. The people I interviewed who create fanzines regard receiving payment for their works as a sign of appreciation for them and feel strongly that their readers should accept their works. For these reason, the creative otaku I interviewed prefer paper media in the age of the rising Internet.