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

AKIRA BIKE
enthusiasts create a dream machine from the world of Otomo’s AKIRA
TOTTORI YOKAI ROAD
where yokais and humans live together
ANIME PILGRIMAGE
a quest to visit locations relating to stories and characters
VACUUM TUBE HEADPHONES
a key item to bridge dreams and reality
Paper fortune
おみくじ
Mt. Fuji
富士山
Shrine visit
参拝
Gyudon(beef-on-rice bowl)
牛丼
Edomae Zushi
江戸前寿司
Architecture Street
建築ストリート
Ramen Museum
ラーメン博物館
Edo kiriko
江戸切子
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
美ら海水族館
Haarii
ハーリー
Mango
マンゴー
Awamori
泡盛
Italy
Sengoku Muso
Austraria
Final Fantasy X
Japan
Inu x Boku SS
Netherland
Odin Sphere
I want to create awesome kawaii nail art.
How global fans see Japan: kawaii heaven.
Natural kawaii with new balance for future fashion.
Outdoor girl finds kawaii in a sleeping bag.
Suguki pickles
すぐき漬け
Ippon udon
一本饂飩
Inspiration of Buddha Statues
仏像
Kyoto Proverbs
Tenugui (Japanese towels)
手拭
Nishikigoi
錦鯉
Department store basement
デパ地下
Elevator attendants
エレベーターアテンダント
KATSUOBUSHI
鰹節
WHISKY
ウイスキー
SUKIYAKI
すき焼き
WASABI
山葵
TABAIMO
MANABU IKEDA
TAKU OBATA
KOHEI NAWA
NIIHAMA TAIKO MATSURI
MENBURYU
SANJA MATSURI
NACHI-NO-OGI MATSURI
KENDO
剣道
NIHONBUYO
日本舞踊
IAI
居合
SADO
茶道
SUKIYA-DAIKU
数寄屋大工
SAMURAI AVATAR
侍アバター
KATANA-KAJI
刀鍛冶
SUMI-SHOKUNIN
墨職人
PLAY STATION
PlayStation
e-Sports
e-Sports
SPACE INVADERS
SPACE INVADERS
SHOGI
SHOGI