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

ANIME PILGRIMAGE
a quest to visit locations relating to stories and characters
OTAKU CAMERA
the app that makes anyone a manga character
NEXT GENERATION
TOYOTA x STUDIO4°C collaboration begins a new PES Project called “Next Generation”
GAME BAR
a gathering spot for grownups where old games are available
Iced coffee
アイス珈琲
Food model
食品模型
Japanese pub
居酒屋
Manga cafe
マンガ喫茶
Yakatabune
屋形船
Tokyo Tower
東京タワー
Tokyo Station
東京駅
Monja
もんじゃ
Taketomi Island
竹富島
Utaki
御嶽
Shuri Castle
首里城
Shiisaa
シーサー
Taiwan
Mobile Suit Gundam
Japan
Kiki's Delivery Service
Japan
Final Fantasy VI
Japan
Suite PreCure
Harajuku girl leads next-generation kawaii.
Outdoor girl finds kawaii in a sleeping bag.
Natural kawaii with new balance for future fashion.
Cute community character promotes local charms.
Stay at Machiya
京町家ステイ
Tea master
茶道家
Fushimi Inari Taisha
伏見稲荷大社
Viewing Japanese gardens in Kyoto
日本庭園
Wrapping
ラッピング
SIRI SIRI
SIRISIRI
Department store basement
デパ地下
ANREALAGE
アンリアレイジ
RAMEN
ラーメン
TEMPURA
天婦羅
SOBA
蕎麦
KATSUOBUSHI
鰹節
YAYOI KUSAMA
TAKU OBATA
TABAIMO
KOHEI NAWA
NEBUTA MATSURI
SANJA MATSURI
NACHI-NO-OGI MATSURI
AWA ODORI
SADO
茶道
SHODO
書道
KARATEDO
空手
IAI
居合