VACUUM TUBE
HEADPHONES

You can’t purchase these headphones in a regular electrical goods store. These are John Hathway’s original products, which he produces on a built-to-order basis. His concept is “going between science and otaku art.” He draws on his knowledge of physics to dream up various works, ranging from illustrations to the tube-type headphones shown in this title. Mr. Hathway has presented a number of exhibitions in overseas galleries, including Hidari Zingaro Berlin, which is operated by modern artist Takashi Murakami, one of the gallery producers. There are many purchasers of Hathway’s works in overseas countries. (By the way, his name sounds English, but he is a native Japanese.)

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Illustration

John Hathway has been interested in anti-gravity from his junior-high school days and even studied for a doctorate degree in physics at Tokyo University. In the meantime, he has been an otaku enthusiast of girls’ comics. He is a self-taught painter, and has illustrated a series called Mahoh Machi (Magic City) featuring a world of the future, where the enigma of anti-gravity is physically resolved and developed.

His drawing technique is based on “supreme-level overpainting.” One drawing consists of from one thousand to four thousand layers of such overpainting. This technique is impossible in oil painting, for example, which is regulated by physical space. Additionally, he focuses on how much information he can put into a picture. Technically, by adding as much information as he does, he draws pictures to make the faces of characters appear larger when farther away. This is because no one can even identify character gender at a distance if he draws all characters in equal proportions. He also puts enormous effort into other elements, such as signboard lettering, all from his own ideas. Mr. Hathway says he takes most of his time to come up with such ideas.

“I don’t know whether it is true or not, but I heard a rumor that there is some kind technology to control people’s emotions and psychological states using radio waves. If this is possible, there should be radio-wave music (dengaku*) just like music (ongaku) that affects people’s minds using sonic waves. To simulate such devices, I started drawing vacuum tube headphones and making real ones at the same time.

“These headphones can exist in both imaginary and real worlds since they are designed so the ‘tube’ can be removed. Depending on the tube selected, the headphones can be used for music listening in our real world. But if regular tubes are replaced with ‘Mahoh Tubes (Magic Tubes)’, listeners can enjoy dengaku. Of course, such tubes are available only in Mahoh Machi, so you can’t get them in our real world. If tube-type headphones that exist between reality and imagination are used by people who wear them while walking through cities, my work will be completed. This society is the canvas of my work.”

* On in ongaku signifies “sound” while gaku signifies “joy.” In Mr. Hathway’s unique word dengaku, den means “radio wave” or something related to electronics. So his original term dengaku can be interpreted as “radio-wave music.”

model: Shiori Fukasawa

VACUUM TUBE HEADPHONES
a key item to bridge dreams and reality
ANIME PILGRIMAGE
a quest to visit locations relating to stories and characters
OSAMU TEZUKA
creator of Japan’s manga and anime cultures
FUJIKO F. FUJIO MUSEUM
manga master who “visualized” children’s dreams
Public bathhouse
銭湯
Karaoke
カラオケ
Iced coffee
アイス珈琲
Idol
アイドル
Meiji Shrine
明治神宮
Scramble crossing
スクランブル交差点
Tokyo Tower
東京タワー
Harajuku girl
原宿ガール
Resort beaches
リゾートビーチ
Mango
マンゴー
Public market
公設市場
Steakhouse
ステーキハウス
Japan
Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt
Japan
Inu x Boku SS
Netherland
Odin Sphere
Italy
Neon Genesis EVANGELION
The color wizard behind 80s kawaii revival.
“Twintail” — simple dream-come-true magic for change.
Introducing Japan’s latest arts to the world.
Natural kawaii with new balance for future fashion.
Aburi-mochi
あぶり餅
Art of brush and ink
書道家
Live music events at Machiya
京町家の音楽
Stay at a Buddhist temple
宿坊
Wrapping
ラッピング
Cosmetics
化粧品
Elevator attendants
エレベーターアテンダント
ANREALAGE
アンリアレイジ
TEMPURA
天婦羅
RICE CAKES
SUSHI
寿司
WASABI
山葵
YAYOI KUSAMA
HISASHI TENMYOUYA
Nerhol
MANABU IKEDA
SANJA MATSURI
NIIHAMA TAIKO MATSURI
NACHI-NO-OGI MATSURI
MENBURYU
KYUDO
弓道
IAI
居合
KARATEDO
空手
NIHONBUYO
日本舞踊
SUMI-SHOKUNIN
墨職人
SENSHOKU-KA
染織家
EDOKIRIKO
江戸切子職人
SUKIYA-DAIKU
数寄屋大工
GAME CENTER
GAME CENTER
FAMILY COMPUTER / NES
Family Computer / NES
e-Sports
e-Sports
PLAY STATION
PlayStation