Tokyo's Akihabara district (sometimes simply called "Akiba") was once famous mostly for its myriad of electronic goods shops, but that reputation has since expanded into being the Tokyo hub for anime, video games, and just about every aspect of otaku culture. The streets of Akihabara are normally bustling from morning to late night with many in search of arcades, hobbyist shops, and maid cafes.

However, the famously vibrant and thriving neighborhood, like so many others, has seen its streets quite a bit emptier during the pandemic. Countermeasures such as social distancing and stay-at-home protocol haven't just tightened things on local businesses, but fan events and exhibits held in the area as well.

In response, last October NTT Urban Development Corporation, Akihabara UDX teamed up with up of 36 organizations, including local business, to launch an initiative titled "Draw my Akiba." The project's goal was to revitalize Akihabara with artwork and messages of support sent from around Japan and the world. Overwhelmed by over 400 responses, the artwork will now be displayed at its very own exhibit in Akihabara as well on the large screen of Akihabara UDX in front of JR Akihabara Station.

Here are a few samples of the charming artwork that will be on display (as well as a message from one of the American artists).

Gabe "Tinman" Razo, USA

"To me, Akihabara is the beating Heart of everything I love about Japan. Nothing makes me happier than seeing the vibrant city signs and shopping through neon lit shops filled with everything from vintage tech to Gundam models. I hope that the heart of Akihabara will beat on forever♥️"

Shunji Terasawa, Japan

Nuri Painting, Japan

Izuko, Japan

You can find access information, as well as read more about the project and its updates on official website in English. The project's Twitter and Instagram accounts will also share more artwork.

Akiba Machinaka Exhibition

Date: April 12 (Mon.), 2021 - May 9 (Sun.), 2021

Location: On the premises of the following stores and companies in the Akihabara area:

   Akihabara UDX Akiba-itch, Akihabara Station East-West Free Passage, Aisan Electric Co.

   Atre Akihabara 2 (next to CHELSEA MARKET Akihabara on the 2nd floor), Onoden, Inc.

   Kanda Shrine, Kinko's Akihabara, SEEKBASE AKI-OKA MANUFACTURE, Super Hotel Premier Akihabara

   Super Hotel Premier Akihabara, CHABARA AKI-OKA MARCHE, 2k540 AKI-OKA ART, 2k540 AKI-OKA ARTISAN

   Cost: Free of charge

Organizer: NTT Urban Development Corporation, Akihabara UDX


By - grape Japan editorial staff.