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

OTAKU CAMERA
the app that makes anyone a manga character
OSAMU TEZUKA
creator of Japan’s manga and anime cultures
GAME BAR
a gathering spot for grownups where old games are available
VACUUM TUBE HEADPHONES
a key item to bridge dreams and reality
Kaminari-mon
雷門
Character bento
キャラ弁
Soba (Japanese traditional noodles)
日本蕎麦
Japanese hospitality
おもてなし
Shinjuku
新宿
Architecture Street
建築ストリート
Edo kiriko
江戸切子
Gohtoku-ji
豪徳寺
Steakhouse
ステーキハウス
Mango
マンゴー
Awamori
泡盛
Lunch “A”
Aランチ
Japan
Neon Genesis EVANGELION
Italy
Sengoku Muso
Italy
One Piece
Russia
Magic Knight Rayearth
Natural kawaii with new balance for future fashion.
Harajuku fashion is a way to express myself.
The color wizard behind 80s kawaii revival.
Harajuku girl leads next-generation kawaii.
Antique fair
東寺弘法市
Kyoto Proverbs
Live music events at Machiya
京町家の音楽
New Kyoto-style umbrellas
新しい京和傘
Wrapping
ラッピング
Elevator attendants
エレベーターアテンダント
Daruma
達磨
SIRI SIRI
SIRISIRI
SOBA
蕎麦
RICE CAKES
RAMEN
ラーメン
WASABI
山葵
Nerhol
KOHEI NAWA
TABAIMO
TAKU OBATA
MENBURYU
SANJA MATSURI
NIIHAMA TAIKO MATSURI
NEBUTA MATSURI
NIHONBUYO
日本舞踊
KENDO
剣道
JUDO
柔道
NOH
SENSHOKU-KA
染織家
SUMI-SHOKUNIN
墨職人
KACCHU-SHI
甲冑師
KATANA-KAJI
刀鍛冶
PLAY STATION
PlayStation
SPACE INVADERS
SPACE INVADERS
GAME CREATOR
GAME CREATOR
SHOGI
SHOGI