Denpa bigaku riron: the Rise of the “Radio” Aesthetic in Japanese Subculture in the 21st Century

how denpa do you even have to be to read the alt text

Abstract

A self-proclaimed sociologist with no academic background in the field of sociology, bitmap has nonetheless published dozens of posts on modern Japanese pop culture over the Internet, and has been described as “an unconquered genius” by his peers. His works focus on the realities and fantasies of modern otaku culture, often centered around what he deems the “Anglo-anisphere,” and the resultant, delicate interculture.

What follows is a cursory introduction to the Japanese concept of denpa, in which a theoretical historical framework under which the “denpa aesthetic” developed over time is established and explored briefly.

The permutations of the concept of the “radio wave” in common and otaku parlance

In the Japanese language, the term denpa literally refers to radio waves, the familiar form of radiation believed to be generally harmless.

However, the term began to take negative connotations, starting in 1981, when the perpetrator of the Fukagawa serial slasher incident[1] claimed to be affected or controlled by these radio waves into performing his crimes. From then, the idea of certain people acting out as if they were being controlled by harmful radio waves took hold, leading to the use of denpa as a slang term for this group of socially deviant people, spawning the slang terms demupa, dokudenpa, and denpa-kei.[2]

From the real-life equivalent, we get the denpa-kei character in otaku subculture. The most influential work to this end is the early visual novel Shizuku[3], which heavily featured these harmful radio waves as plot points. Today, we find as an archetype the denpa onna―“radio girl,” often depicted as a delusional character with strong belief in the extraterrestrial hypothesis.[4] In this way, the denpa-kei, as both a social phenomenon and as a part of otaku fiction, share many details with the Western stereotype of “tinfoilers”.[5]

Meanwhile, as the genre of the visual novel and eroge evolved throughout the 90s, the otaku subculture saw the development of a new, unique brand of J-pop. Although it’s been labeled differently over the years, today it is best known as denpa music.[6] Its strange conventions and lyrical content bring to mind the fanciful ideals of the denpa-kei (as well as the tendency for denpa songs to get stuck in your head, reminiscent of denpa waves). Denpa music today is a large part of general otaku culture, frequently making an appearance in both eroge and anime. Because it is distinct from the concept of denpa-kei, the subgenre of denpa music carries little of the stigma that is associated with denpa-kei.

Identifying and separating the denpa aesthetic[7] from the phenomenon of denpa music

I believe that a new aesthetic can be found not only in denpa music but in other forms of media. I call this the “radio,” or denpa aesthetic.[8] In order to identify traits unique to this aesthetic, I will use denpa music as a starting point. Two aspects of denpa aesthetics can be isolated from denpa music as follows:

  1. The denpa aesthetic exists within the otaku infrastructure.

Denpa works are commentary on otaku sensibilities, and yet they are in a unique position of acting as such from within the realm of otaku consumption itself; denpa works are bought by otaku and treated the same as other otaku works of the non-denpa persuasion in many respects. In this way, they are self-propagating, not unlike the Lowbrow movement.[9]

  1. The denpa aesthetic is defined by excess. 

If there’s one common idea in denpa works, it is that of “excess.” Take denpa music, which takes―among other things―the catchiness, high-pitched vocals, and wotagei of idol and seiyu pop and takes them to their logical extreme.[10] Where denpa works thrive is in pushing the conventions of the otaku subculture to its limits.

There are other elements common in denpa works, of course, but as an introduction to the denpa aesthetic, I feel that these two facets are the most important to understand as core philosophies. Other particulars will reveal themselves throughout the course of the rest of the essay.

The framework of the restrictive mindset up to the 21st century

But how did the denpa aesthetic develop? To understand these circumstances, we must go back a bit in Japanese history. Personal computers and video game consoles came to Japanese homes in the mid-70s and took off in the early 80s.[11] With this new technology came harsh restrictions by today’s standards. These systems only supported tiny pixel resolutions, small color palettes, less than a megabyte of total memory, primitive sound chips, and so on. And yet, computer software was able to convey sophisticated images, sounds, and experiences working under these restrictions.

I call this the rise of the “computer aesthetic,” which lives on in the media of pixel art, chiptunes, and “demos” produced by the demoscene subculture, just to name a few.[12] Those creating works in the computer aesthetic embrace the artificial, computerized aspect, and revel in the abstraction this brings to their works. Pixel artists resort to very iconic renditions; chiptunes use “instruments” that, although not very realistic-sounding, nonetheless retain an almost symbolic relationship with the real horns and other instruments that they are modeled after.

The computer aesthetic in turn, is indicative of a greater “restrictive mindset,” one defined by severe technical limitations. However, the restrictive mindset had been present for several decades prior in Japan in the medium of anime. Whereas Western animation originally developed in an environment centered around lushly animated, disparate shorts, Japanese anime took after their comic counterparts and were produced in a serialized manner very early on.[13] This led to the use of limited animation techniques to keep up with restrictions on budget, time, and manpower. This mindset manifests itself not simply in animation itself, but even in design: take Osamu Tezuka’s “Star System,” in which the same unique character designs are purposefully reused in different contexts, as if they are recurring actors playing different roles. Additionally, the hanko-e[14] philosophy of design, where many characters share the same basic facial features, has its roots in manga and anime but really took hold in eroge, coinciding with the rise of the recombinatorial “database consumption” that Hiroki Azuma focuses on.[15]

How technological advances spurred the post-restrictive mindset

As time went on, however, the technical bottlenecks that had limited artists in the past no longer began to apply. By the turn of the 21st century, computers supported large pixel resolutions, millions of colors, lifelike audio quality, and processing power exponentially larger than that of computers a mere 20 years ago. Likewise in the world of anime, higher budgets, a shift toward increasing use of digital means in production, and the otaku boom of the 90s all contributed toward greater possibilities, even for television anime. Japanese creators who had developed works under the restrictive mindset now faced a new paradigm of creative capability.

So the post-restrictive mindset is a reflection: a direct response to the atmosphere of limitations that had dominated Japanese thought prior. The denpa aesthetic is a part of this greater post-restrictive mindset, centered solely around an otaku-centric viewpoint. With this, I introduce the third vital aspect of the denpa aesthetic, continuing from earlier:

  1. The denpa aesthetic is a direct response to moé.

I use moé here in the way Azuma uses it in Database Animals; that is, not the personal feeling experienced by otaku of wanting to protect a fictional character, but rather the system of moé-elements, in which there is a shared ever-changing database amongst otaku of certain recurring traits in otaku design. So works of the denpa aesthetic are explorations of the moé database, and they accomplish this, as mentioned previously, through excess. Take the following as an example: a character with a few moé-elements is normal, and will elicit a moé response from the otaku. But keep on piling moé-elements, even those incongruous with each other, and what results is a character that now has the ability to evoke something else entirely: this is denpa.

A page from the Welcome to the NHK manga, showing a denpa character.

Figure 1. A character that evokes a "denpa" response from the consumer through an excess of moé-elements. From the manga adaptation of Welcome to the NHK.

Denpa music can be analyzed in a similar way: it takes all of the elements of cutesy, catchy J-pop songs and compounds them until the end result is something that is so cute as to be just a bit irritating. As for anime, series that exhibit strong denpa qualities to start the reader’s exploration include Moetan (2007), Kyoran kazoku nikki (2008), and the recent Kill Me Baby (2012). Be it through character design, direction, or even the voice acting, these shows exhibit different ways in which the denpa aesthetic manifests itself. These could be expanded upon in greater detail, but as a primer on denpa, I feel the matter is best left here.

Conclusion

In many ways, the denpa phenomenon is one that is already familiar to many otaku; it is one that is successfully integrated into the existing system of otaku consumption, a far cry from external evaluations and criticism of moé.[16] However, by more clearly identifying this unique aesthetic, we take one step toward a greater understanding of this nuanced ecosystem of ideas in modern otaku Japan.

Notes

1. [^] Fukagawa toorima satuzin zikenWikipedia article (Japanese).

2. [^] Demupa is a spelling variant, dokudenpa can be translated as “poison radio waves,” and denpa-kei means “radio type,” reflecting a similar naming convention for certain groups and subcultures (cf. Shibuya-keiAkiba-kei).

3. [^] 1996, published by Leaf. The title translates to Droplet in English.

4. [^] Belief in UFO sightings and intelligent extraterrestrial life. Wikipedia article.

5. [^]  Conspiracy theorists who are popularly depicted as wearing hats made of tinfoil out of paranoia, as to deflect radio waves away from their brains. Wikipedia article.

6. [^] Over the years, denpa music has been referred to as Akiba-pop and A-pop; it has also found itself conflated with many other subgenres, including gamewave, bitpop, and chiptune music.

7. [^] Here, and for the remainder of the work, “aesthetic” is used as a noun to mean “a particular theory or conception of beauty or art : a particular taste for or approach to what is pleasing to the senses and especially sight.” Merriam-Webster.

8. [^] Denpa bigaku in Japanese, bigaku literally being “the study of beauty.”

9. [^] Also called pop surrealism, Lowbrow art is a populist movement that makes heavy use of pop culture icons. Wikipedia article.

10. [^] Wotagei refers to cheers and background choruses popular at Japanese concerts for idols and seiyu, often emulated in denpa music by the singer. Seiyu are Japanese voice actresses for anime, drama CDs, and the like, who are heavily marketed like idol pop groups are.

11. [^] The Japanese “computer age” actually began in the 50s, but it wasn’t until the 70s when the maikon (microcomputer) boom hit Japan. More on the history of computers in Japan.

12. [^] The demoscene subculture is centered around producing demos, programs usually categorized by a filesize limit that serve to demonstrate the full graphical and audio capabilities of the hardware and, of course, the proficiency of those who create the demos. Wikipedia article.

13. [^] The Japanese animation industry originally focused on full-frame animated features à la Disney, a situation that changed quickly with the rise of television and the subsequent decline of the Japanese film industry. An excellent overview of films by Toei Animation during this early stage: Part 1, Part 2.

14. [^] Hanko-e here means “stamp picture,” referring to how the faces look as though they could have been stamped on.

15. [^] For further reading on “database consumption,” consult Otaku: Japan’s Database Animals, Hiroki Azuma.

16. [^] The “Superflat” movement helmed by Murakami Takashi being the one that comes to mind most readily here. Wikipedia article.

27 Comments

Filed under Editorials, Modern Visual Culture

27 responses to “Denpa bigaku riron: the Rise of the “Radio” Aesthetic in Japanese Subculture in the 21st Century

  1. Excellent work Bitmap. I’m thoroughly impressed at this article. As far as my thoughts on this topic, I tend to find the denpa phenomenon to be extremely meta-moé. I think the fact that it serves as a criticism of moé is accurate, but it also serves to limit the potential audience. Only those looking for moé elements will be able to go beyond the gap between culture and subculture here. If it helps those same people realize that there are limitations to how far moé can logically go by challenging the viewer, I’m all for it.

    The next part I would be interested in is what the reaction to denpa is. More moé?

    • …Man, meta-moe; that’s great! I’m going to crib that.

      As for a reaction to denpa, I’d say that something that responds to its self-awareness and decides to play moe completely straight and unironically would be fitting!

      …but that’s getting farther from the world of observation and into fruitless theorizing, methinks.

  2. This is an outstanding article – I am surprised to read that Kyouran Kazoku Nikki would be considered denpa – I thought it was just normal anime.

    I would like your opinion on two series with “Denpa” in the title:

    1- Denpa Teki Na Kanojo

    2 – Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko

    In particular, Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko has an opening song that seems to fit the “excessively moe” characterization of “denpa.”

    • Well, first of all, the “denpa” in both of those titles refers to the “denpa onna” archetype (delusional girl), so it should not be confused with the “denpa aesthetic” that I propose here. That being said, though, I do think the latter has a tendency to make reference to the former. Paying tribute to its obvious linguistic origins? (in the case of denpa music, at least)

      Denpa Onna’s OP is most definitely denpa music, but as to whether other elements of the show can be called “denpa?” I’m not quite sure myself.

      As for Denpa Teki na Kanojo, I feel much more confident in saying that there isn’t much of the denpa aesthetic in there. It’s a great, dramatic series that simply makes use of denpa-kei (as in crazy, delusional) characters.

      I hope that made things clearer!

  3. This was all very interesting to read–most all of this is new information to me.
    Regarding denpa elements found in Japanese music–would this be similar in some ways (or at least have some crossover) with dubstep? From what I understand (or at least can tell from listening to some of it), dubstep is essentially a form of digital music with exaggerated elements of error (or restriction)–though I suppose this could be more generally categorized as noise music (which apparently had a lot of input from Japan). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noise_music
    But I’m curious about the role these concepts play in anime. The currently-airing example you gave was Kill Me Baby, which is interesting because it’s a show I’ve (generally) enjoyed, and kind of expected to be really popular. Is this an example of denpa because the characters are not only cute and doing slice-of-life things–but are also chibi, interact in a bright and colorful world (almost reminiscent of a child’s simplistic artwork), and in general act very harmless (in stark contrast with the assassin running gag)? In this way, I can kind of see how the show acts as satire… Visually the show has done a great deal to look very cute, but the characters work against this by acting like idiots. Yasuna and Sonya are not sweet, adorable, or huggable. Instead, they’re laughable in their incompetence.
    Would the (at least seemingly) low budget nature of the show play into this concept as well then? There’s essentially a cast of three characters, and half the time they’re just talking at school (where they apparently do nothing but goof around, reminiscent of Cromartie High School). There’s nothing significant about the art or music, and even the OP and ED are sung by Yasuna and Sonya’s voice actresses. I suppose this all plays into the satire element of the show, which all stands in stark contrast with the likes of K-On and its ilk.

    • Hmm, I don’t know the first thing about electronic music as a whole, but from reading the article, noise music does seem to have similarities with the mindset I’m talking about. From what I’ve heard of dubstep music, I’d say it’s a bit different from noise music, though.

      I think you kinda get what I’m talking about with Kill Me Baby! I’d just like to add that the voice acting reminds me of denpa music vocals, in which it’s intentionally irritating (and I love it so much).

  4. omo

    I get the feeling that the argument for denpa seems to hinge a little bit on the Bitmap’s annoyance with the medium. It’s not to say such feelings are not reliable indicators, but is there a better way to phrase it? I mean as far as aesthetics go, we will have to do better than to label a subgenre of jpop as merely so-sweet-as-to-be-a-little-annoying. That is probably a very thin line when it comes to anything on the idol side of jpop. I hope we can find better words to make a better starting point for this analysis.

    I think there’s also more room to dig into the game culture. I feel that when we lump anime and eroge scenes together something is lost in that wash. In reality they are different and distinct scenes, in as much that the spillover from the eroge side into anime is fairly minor compared to all the anime stuff that is going on.

    Also, it would be great if Bitmap can expand on the database animal/moe analysis in a way where it does not rely on a caricature for example. I think there might be actually something there, but what would be a good example?

    • Annoyed at denpa music or J-pop? Not I! Well, at least definitely not for the former; I’m genuinely surprised to hear that I came off that way. I think Emperor J’s description of denpa as meta-moe is pretty apt, if you’re looking for something succinct and descriptive. But maybe that doesn’t work so well when you’re talking about music?

      The eroge side is actually something that I would have loved to touch on, since I think there’s a good chance that “denpa” as I’m using it originates from the eroge scene (denpa music first started as eroge OPs, or so I’m led to believe). Unfortunately, I’ve been pretty balls at actually playing eroge, so I can’t comment on it as well as with anime.

      Er, an example that isn’t a caricature? It’s a bit difficult because I think there will always be an element of satire or at least self-awareness to it, but let’s go to Azuma himself (he, of course, never called it denpa):

      In fact, the characters in [Di Gi Charat] were created with intentionally excessive moe-elements. The novelization describes Digiko as having “the maid costume with lots of frills, a cap with white cat ears, cat gloves, cat boots, and a cat tail. Perfect and fully equipped with double-moe-options,” while Puchiko is described as wearing “a tiger-striped hat with cat ears, a girls’ school uniform (‘sailor suits’) and bloomers, a tiger cat tail. A double-moe costume, quite evil and foul for fans.” These self-parodying descriptions clearly indicate the fragile position of this work
      […]
      In this sense, Di Gi Charat is not so much a project that
      naively relies on the desire of chara-moe but a complex project that, by pushing that desire to the limit, has become a satire for the present market dominated by moe-related designs.

      (Otaku: Japan’s Database Animals, pg. 109)

      Or for an example that’s played just a bit more seriously, how about Strike Witches? Just in terms of visual traits, Yoshika has animal ears, an accompanying tail, an outfit that is a combination of a sailor uniform and a school swimsuit, what looks like jet engines strapped to her legs, and is often shown holding a Type 99-1 cannon (do those little pointy bits in her hair count as a moe-element? I always hoped that would catch on, but alas).

      Oh, and lest I forget, thank you for a very thought-provoking comment! On one hand, I now feel like my ideas may have been a bit premature to publish, but on the other hand, I’m getting some amazing feedback that’s forcing me to really think more about the topic!

      • omo

        Glad my attempt at provoking thought worked :) And it’s good you wrote something down, premature or not. It’s good enough to be taken seriously so I don’t think it’s too early in the sense that you should’ve held it back.

        I think mechamusume is one of the best examples of this database animal thing Azuma talks about. However, I’m not sure how it translate to denpa aesthetics beyond this notion of excess. Is mechamusume an expression of excess? Is the database-style approach to moe excessive? I think if we boil it down some more, isn’t it really a form of superflat? Granted that is more about visual art and superficiality in (otaku) consumerism, but invariably I think the concern is similar.

        I think denpa music is really hard to talk about in this context, partly because it has taken on its own meaning, but more importantly it may not be the best example of the denpa excess I think you’re trying to express, as mentioned by others.

        I think historically the development of eroge definitely has much closer ties to the denpa “movement” just out of the necessity of what PC gaming required, and what marketing venues were available for those games (early internet users, people who own PCs at home, etc–both are relatively small % in the early 2000s in Japan). Given some structural issues regarding anime, anime is by default more of a transformation of what has already happened in the indie/eroge scenes. I think the eroge scene is also trend-setting, at least it used to be until it sort of “stabilized” in recent years.

        You probably don’t need to play very many eroge to get a good idea of what’s going on as long as you can tap into that scene and talk to the veterans and get a feel as to what things were like 10+ years ago.

        • I had actually planned out a section comparing denpa to superflat, but it never panned out. The two are pretty similar, but I think there’s something significant about the simple fact that, well, superflat works are fine art, shown at art galleries, whereas denpa works are part of the commercial otaku subculture. I mean, some of the the sculptures in exhibits labeled as “superflat” wouldn’t be out of place in an Akiba display case, but just by recontextualizing such a sculpture as a work of fine art, you’ve removed it from the otaku ecosystem, as it were. And then it’s no longer influencing otaku, just by virtue of inhabiting a different sphere. Is it reasonable to say that an aesthetic cannot be removed from a certain subculture? Maybe not, but what I know is that in what I see as denpa, you can’t take the otaku out of the equation.

          As for denpa music, it’s admittedly a bit of an offshoot, but I do still think the concept of excess applies, and more importantly, it’s an easily accessible point for the average reader for an audience like A&V’s, who may not have played an eroge but has heard or can look up the Denpa Onna OP. At the same time, maybe we’re a bit too used to it, though.

          Well, looks like my homework is to dig into the golden age of eroge! I can’t say it’s something I haven’t been meaning to do sooner or later anyway. Any recommendations for notable works from which to start? I feel like I should at least play a couple so I get a more intuitive feel before I start consulting secondary sources.

          • omo

            I’m probably not the person to ask for eroge recs. While playing a few of them is a great way to get your feet wet, I’d think an ethnographic approach might be more fruitful and possibly less time consuming lol.

            If you must, personally I would just dig through the charts and pick a top selling game from each year starting from…I don’t know when they start tracking them, but you ought to start from the late 90s anyway. Games like To-Heart and Kanon are outright transformational and they are good starting points to study, but probably not the best to convert someone into a fan of the scene today.

            As to superflat, well, you could say it has more of a universal context, and that is probably true in that denpa seems to exists as a thing that exists within the gaps of several other limitations. But if you want to couple denpa aesthetics with otaku perspective, I don’t see a compelling reason this is needed. Because as far as aesthetics go, I think denpa music can be enjoyed by non-otaku, for example. You probably don’t need to be an otaku to like, say, Dejiko. She is pretty cute (dare I say moe) in a Japanese-mascots-are-cute sort of way. But if you have a good argument let us hear it!

          • Well, it’ll be a long-time project more than anything, mostly because I, er, think it’ll be a while before I want to tackle the topic again in a proper follow-up post, heh.

            I think it’s possible for non-otaku to appreciate the denpa aesthetic, sure (though I wonder what ratio really would, heh). But could somebody like that successfully replicate it on their own? I guess that’s a bit different from what I said before, though.

  5. Zammael

    Fantastic blog, one that gives a sociological aspect to the aesthetics of Japanese anime!

    I interpret the relation between anime and american cartoons as one of modernism and classicism (at least in painting), where classicism attempts to fool the spectator that she doesn’t see a painting, but a window to reality, and modernism forces or highlight a stylized impression rather than a representation or simulacra of reality.

    Your concept of Denpa adds a layer of sociological force that drives the aesthetic direction away from the classicism of American cartoons (manifested by Disney or Pixar).

    • Thank you for the kind words! I’d say it’s more nuanced than a simple dichotomy (from the paltry research I’ve done on the subject of animation history, at least), but an illustrative way to put it nonetheless!

      • Zammael

        I apologize for the over-simplified dichotomy, but it does illustrate the gulf between the two approaches to animation. There’s slight crossover or bleeding from Japanese anime when the studios acquire a larger budget and they incorporate computer graphics, as shown in Black Rock Shooter, but the general aesthetics remain exceedingly divergent.

        • Well, by modern standards, I suppose it’s apt enough!

          Black Rock Shooter’s approach to CG animation interests me a lot, to the point where I was thinking of writing a post on it! Never really panned out, though, mostly because I never got past the first episode.

          • Zammael

            BRS leaves plenty to be desired with its paean to melodrama, but the CGI alone is good enough a reason to watch it. It’s only 8 episodes long, anyway, and does indeed holds tremendous potential for future attempts.

          • Well, I actually got hold of a batch of the show recently! Probably won’t tackle it for a while, though…

  6. Hm, I’ve done some (comparatively weaker, I’d say!) work on the idea of mixing motifs/database elements too, though with decidedly no attention paid to the idea of denpa (as here is where I learned about it).

    That was on a decidedly macro level though whereas this feels more micro, with the denpa needing to be focused on some singularity (a character, a song, etc.). May just be a misunderstanding on my part.

    Would you say products such as Inu X Boku SS, where individual characters might not neccessarily be denpa (individually, their database traits are hardly very dense, much on the level of most characters) could still be denpa itself, due to how busy it is with the amount of unrelated or even conflicting combinations of character archetypes, to better market to both fujoshi and otaku simultaneously?

    Or to put it better, a tsundere or bishounen butler aren’t exactly denpa (so I gather), but having them together in a show (along with the whole rest of the list of archetypes the show embodies!) qualify for a sort of macro denpa?

    • Hmm, I think the micro level focus might just be my style of analysis more than anything I’m trying to say about the definition of denpa as a whole.

      Anyway, I think that what you’re calling “macro denpa,” which would be just the denpa aesthetic applied to the setting, I think, is definitely possible! Kyouran Kazoku Nikki is probably a good example of that. I’m not too sure about Inu x Boku SS, though, mostly because I still haven’t gotten past episode 1, heh.

  7. krizzlybear

    Moe for hipsters, perhaps? By that I don’t mean appreciation for independent production (though I can imagine that doujin culture intersects here and there) and non-mainstream culture (anything underground, if you will), but rather the fetishism of something “feared from afar,” and appreciation of “jagged, autistic sounds,” as quoted from Slate.

    • That’s… a surprisingly apt description, actually! I try to avoid the use of the word “hipster,” though, because that has even more conflicting connotations in the public mind than “denpa” does, heh.

  8. the_patches

    Let me try to respond to see if I follow:

    The idea behind denpa seems to be the creation of an othering dissonance through the use of familiar tropes (sort of Dadaist use of the database maybe?). I think macro-denpa would require a kind of wrongness to percolate up from the combined elements. Maybe less Inu X Boku and more Madoka?

    • I get the feeling this was meant to be a direct response to ToastCrust’s comment, but I could be wrong.

      Anyway, I think you’ve gotten what I’m trying to get across! Put it in better words than I did, too…

  9. Pingback: YumeState :: Anime Blog » On Friends and Whether or Not We Should Kill Them

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  11. douteiful

    Late reply but great article. I wish more people wrote about this in English. I think it’s fascinating.

    You said “Because it is distinct from the concept of denpa-kei, the subgenre of denpa music carries little of the stigma that is associated with denpa-kei.”

    I wonder why it’s distinct. Why would they use the same word then? Reading your article I can see a close resemblance; songs with a combination of elements taken to its limit that end up with an almost creepy, brainwashing result.

    Also looking at Google trends, it seems the Japanese aren’t that much interested in it as they were in the 2006. Is the phenomenon dying out?

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