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.)

153
11

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

SPACE BROTHERS
super-popular manga depicts the dreams of youths dedicated to space
TOTTORI YOKAI ROAD
where yokais and humans live together
NEXT GENERATION
TOYOTA x STUDIO4°C collaboration begins a new PES Project called “Next Generation”
BRAIN WAVE CAT EARS
cutting-edge tech joins Japan’s “fetish” (moe) culture
Massage chair
マッサージチェア
Electrical goods store
家電量販店
Capsule hotel
カプセルホテル
Japanese hospitality
おもてなし
Shinjuku
新宿
Edo kiriko
江戸切子
Scramble crossing
スクランブル交差点
Tokyo Sky Tree
東京スカイツリー
Public market
公設市場
Okinawa soba
沖縄そば
Shuri Castle
首里城
Shiisaa
シーサー
Germany
STEINS;GATE
Germany
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
France
The Royal Doll Orchestra
Mexico
Street Fighter 4
Harajuku girl leads next-generation kawaii.
Cute community character promotes local charms.
I want to create awesome kawaii nail art.
“Twintail” — simple dream-come-true magic for change.
Kyoto Streetcar
嵐電
Shohekiga
障壁画
Viewing Japanese gardens in Kyoto
日本庭園
Ikkyu-ji Natto
一休寺納豆
Hasamiyaki ceramics
波佐見焼
Wrapping
ラッピング
Kimono
着物
Candycrafts
あめ細工
WHISKY
ウイスキー
TEMPURA
天婦羅
ODEN
おでん
URUSHI
漆芸
HISASHI TENMYOUYA
KOHEI NAWA
MANABU IKEDA
TAKU OBATA
NEBUTA MATSURI
MENBURYU
AWA ODORI
SANJA MATSURI