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

BRAIN WAVE CAT EARS
cutting-edge tech joins Japan’s “fetish” (moe) culture
GAME BAR
a gathering spot for grownups where old games are available
ANIME PILGRIMAGE
a quest to visit locations relating to stories and characters
OSAMU TEZUKA
creator of Japan’s manga and anime cultures
Manga cafe
マンガ喫茶
Character bento
キャラ弁
Shrine visit
参拝
Food model
食品模型
Edomae Zushi
江戸前寿司
Asakusa
浅草
Gundam 1/1
ガンダム1/1
Edo kiriko
江戸切子
Umi-budoh
海ぶどう
Haarii
ハーリー
Kachaashii
カチャーシー
Mangroves
マングローブ
Germany
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Japan
Inu x Boku SS
France
The Royal Doll Orchestra
Italy
Sengoku Muso
The color wizard behind 80s kawaii revival.
Natural kawaii with new balance for future fashion.
I want to become Hello Kitty, the icon of Japan.
I want to create awesome kawaii nail art.
Artisans’ Row
あじき路地
Antique fair
東寺弘法市
Art of brush and ink
書道家
Kyoto Proverbs
Metal tableware
金属食器
Japanese sake
日本酒
Wrapping
ラッピング
Kimono
着物
SOBA
蕎麦
RAMEN
ラーメン
RICE CAKES
TEMPURA
天婦羅
YAYOI KUSAMA
MANABU IKEDA
TABAIMO
Nerhol
AWA ODORI
MENBURYU
NACHI-NO-OGI MATSURI
NEBUTA MATSURI
JUDO
柔道
KENDO
剣道
NOH
SADO
茶道
FOOD MODEL CRAFTSMAN
食品サンプル職人
SUKIYA-DAIKU
数寄屋大工
SAMURAI AVATAR
侍アバター
EDOKIRIKO
江戸切子職人
SPACE INVADERS
SPACE INVADERS
FAMILY COMPUTER / NES
Family Computer / NES
GAME CREATOR
GAME CREATOR
PLAY STATION
PlayStation