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USER INNOVATION AND CREATIVE CONSUMPTION IN JAPANESE CULTURE INDUSTRIES: THE CASE OF AKIHABARA, TOKYO

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Abstract:

ABSTRACT.

The consumption and export of material and immaterial commodities based upon Japanese popular culture is rapidly growing and continually finds new fans all around the world. In this article, it is suggested that some of the competitiveness of these unique cultural phenomena can be traced to the very dense and vivid area of Akihabara in Tokyo. Its long history as an electronic retail district and a more recent influx of firms and shops focused on popular culture has created a strong place brand that continues to mark Akihabara as the capital of Japanese cultural industries. It is a space where different consumers, specialist subcultures and firms and their products can interact. The area functions as a hub were ideas and values are exchanged, tested and promoted. The article argues that research on innovation milieus must take account of the role of users and their relation to place.

Keywords: Akihabara; Japan; cultural industries; user innovation

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0467.2010.00348.x

Affiliations: Department of Social and Economic Geography, Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden, Email: jakob.nobuoka@kultgeog.uu.se

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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