Admission fees, age requirements, and unrestricted public posting of erotic anime art would all be part of “Akihabara Gate City.”

One of the things that makes Tokyo such an amazing city is how each neighborhood has its own personality, but none of them are as distinct as Akihabara. The nexus of Japan’s anime, video game, and general technology fan communities, Akihabara is filled with so many hard-core enthusiasts that the atmosphere often feels close to that of a carnival or theme park, and just like those sorts of places have gates and charge admission, maybe Akihabara should too.

At least, that’s the idea proposed by Japanese Twitter user @tawarayasotatsu.

@tawarayasotatsu calls her idea “Akihabara Gate City,” and it would start by building a wall around Akihabara, isolating the city from the rest of Tokyo. The neighborhood would then be classified as a special area that visitors have to pay to enter. In addition to one-day admission, monthly passes would also be offered, as group discounts. @tawarayasotatsu floats a 3,000-yen (US$28) one-day entrance fee for foreign tourists, without mentioning whether this would be more or less expensive than the price for locals. Perhaps most significantly, children under 16 years old would not be admitted to Akihabara unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The plan would have several benefits, @tawarayasotatsu asserts. It would create a substantial new source of tourism revenue, an increasingly important sector of the economy as Japan’s manufacturing industry declines, and for visitors entering with registered passes, could also be used to collect valuable marketing and demographic data. Walling off Akihabara would also benefit artists, @tawarayasotatsu says, since under the concept the ban on unaccompanied minors would allow for the unrestricted display of erotic artwork (sidestepping any potential controversies like the recent one regarding Japanese Red Cross Society blood drive posters that featured an illustration of a busty anime girl) and also allow for easier continuous implementation of augmented reality events and entertainment.

Despite having a certain kind of logic to it, @tawarayasotatsu’s proposal hasn’t found much support among online commenters, with many saying that rather than leading to artistic freedom and economic prosperity, it would essentially turn Akihabara into a sealed-off ghetto. There’s also the issue of how it would affect the non-otaku-related parts of the neighborhood as well. Given its central-Tokyo location, Akihabara doesn’t have many full-time residents, but the crowds of tourists and workers who flow into the area every day also need places to eat and buy non-hobby stuff like ordinary clothing and sundry goods, and it’s doubtful those businesses would be better off if their only potential customers are people who wanted to come to Akihabara so badly that they were willing to pay 3,000 yen or more just to get in.

However, those in favor of a free and open Akihabara will be happy to know that there’s no actual government initiative to establish Akihabara Gate City, and it’s entirely possible that, partially rational or not, @tawarayasotatsu’s Akihabara-behind-walls idea is entirely tongue-in-cheek.

Source: Twitter/@tawarayasotatsu (1, 2, 3) via Otakomu
Top image: Pakutaso
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