Akihabara on Video, 1986 – 1998

From post-war black market, to a bustling electronics district, to whatever the hell it is now–Akihabara, like most of Tokyo, has gone through serious changes since the end of World War II. Despite the progress of modernity, looking at footage of Akihabara from 30 years ago it’s still easy to recognize major landmarks. Let’s take a look.

1986: Even with all of the construction in recent years ago Akihabara station, most of the areas in this video are still instantly recognizable. The shops across from Radio Center on Chuo Dori under the Sobu Line look much the same, and the signs for the New Akihabara Center underneath the Yamanote line haven’t changed much.

1991: Focusing more on shops and the pedestrian-friendly Chuo Dori closed to traffic (something they’ve done on Sundays for decades, save for a while after the Akihabara massacre), this brief video also offers a glimpse of movies on sale in Sony’s forgotten 8mm video format derived from camcorders, which was briefly pushed as an alternative to VHS.

1998ish: A news program’s look at shops in Akihabara and the anime and doujin goods they sold. Lots of footage of doujinshi, telephone cards, posters, figures and cosplay outfits for sale at places like K-Books, Toranoana and Olive. K-Books and Toranoana still exist with shops throughout Tokyo, but I’m not so sure about Olive. An internet search turns up a high school-themed hostess bar in Akihabara named Olive, though I have no idea if they’re related.

More Videos