The Akihabara area of Tokyo has garnered an international reputation as being Japan's tech town and otaku hub, driven by electronic stores and all hobbies related to video games, anime, idols, and cosplay (not to mention the inexorable waves of adult goods). So unless you count learning the streets through the eyes of a hobbyist, it isn't exactly the first place one would think of when it comes to academics. That may begin to change, however, as a vocational school opening in Akihabara is looking to translate Akihabara-otaku culture into educational fields.

The Tokyo School of Anime is a vocational school that offers training in fields related to the anime industry--such as design, production, and even voice acting. They are now announcing a plan to develop a new section that will expand from anime-only fields to specialize in industrial training for careers and professions related to Akihabara sub-cultures such as cosplay, idols, anime, and dojinshi.

It's called Akiba Business World(Akiba is a nickname for Akihabara), and will work as a department with six major fields, all with ties to the major popular hobbies spread throughout Akihabara.

Idol Training and Idol Producers

The idol-field consists of two sub-majors, one for aspiring idols, of which there are many already enrolled in the school, and a new program to train those interested in producing idol-unit groups. When wading through the crowds of Akihabara, it's very easy to spot up-and-coming idols trying to make it big with that one lucky street performance. This field of study aims to train the obvious skills of song and dance, but also the marketing and production behind idol units--for both managers and idols alike.

Maid and Cosplay Business

There was a day when Maid cafes in Akihabara were a more niche attraction, but now you can find yourself being beckoned by the siren call of a cute maid every few corners. This field focuses on the human resources and production required to run a successful themed shop or cafe. The topics studied run from exploring social media trends to hospitably marketing "moe" culture.


The dojinshi field focuses on developing the skills necessary to take on creating and marketing self-published works like comics or novels. One can learn how to navigate the pitfalls of distribution and copyrights in the world of independent fan works, while learning to write and promote those same works.

Anime Producer

These courses help you acquire the necessary knowledge to become a producer in the world of anime and video games, and introduce you to the business side of articulating anime and video game culture to the whole world, as you'll want to stand out among the crow when visitors from all over come to buy goods in Akiba.

Anime Event Staff

Akihabara is home to countless fan events and projects, and bright and ambitious leaders are needed to put those together while getting cooperation from other big-wigs in the anime and video game world. This sounds like a pretty well-rounded field, developing skills in human resources, sales, and management. But if you're going to be a salaryman, why not have fun with video games and anime while you're at it?

The Akihabara Business World section of the Tokyo School of Anime will open up in April, 2017. While the Akihabara Business World Branch does not have an English page yet, the Tokyo School of Anime does, so we can maybe hope for English language support sometime before the department's opening.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.