[Anisong DJ: Ohtake] Nothing Comes Between An Otaku And What They Love
Open the door and behold a world of deep bass…
Honestly, the nightlife scares me; the sound of that deep bass pounding against the other side of those heavy doors and concrete walls… DUN! DUN! DUN!
The club. Ah… Men and women losing themselves to the call of the dancefloor night after night. It’s an atmosphere filled with cries of “Whooot!” and “Yo! Yo!”. The thought of taking even one step into that world to someone like me is… utterly terrifying.
“But… we’re just playing… anime music.”
And with that let us introduce you to DJ Ohtake! He’s an anisong DJ that spins in the Kanto~Kansai area!!
It all Began With A Handmade Cosplay Party
No matter what kind of club it is, if there is anime music… I’m home. Moreover, if the DJ is someone like Ohtake I’m not scared at all. But… that in a sense scares me too!!
“Now there are places known as “Anikura” (anime clubs), right? Before they were called, “Danpa” (dance parties). Now they are full-on club events, but at that time they were closer to get-togethers where music was played on cassette tapes and it was common for people to bring their own snacks.”
Ohtake talking about his journey to becoming an anisong DJ
Ohtake talked with us about the period of time before cosplay and anime became part of the mainstream.
“It was around the 1990s that handmade parties were really big. I can only really speak about the Kanto region, I’m not too sure about other regions. Going into the 2000s, the number of events started to increase. Now people go to clubs, but before I used to cosplay at well-known discos. While I was going to those places to dance, I found that my otaku friends increased more and more.”
In addition to all this, Ohtake has 25 years of experience under his belt when it comes to cosplay!!
“I actually started cosplaying in order to go to danpa. I went to Comiket; not the one being held at Tokyo Big Site, but when it was being held in Harumi. You know, there was also an all night club event that coincided with Comiket. It’s long gone now though…”
When he’s in front of his equipment he means business!
No more all-night events? No worries… I’ll just hold my own!!
Pull an all-nighter making doujinshi, sell it with all your heart, drink with all your heart and dance with all your heart. It seems that was the natural flow of things at that time for him.
“There was one year when the club event wasn’t being held and it was a real bummer. I mean I felt like it was the natural and perfect end that I needed to top off my Comiket experience, so I decided to put on and DJ the event myself.”
Jumping in head first… When it comes to something we want it’s important for otaku to think ahead and go for it. Ohtake is a perfect example of this mindset.
Ohtake the maid.
DJs in the modern age make good use of PCs as well as turntables.
“That’s right! No obstacle is too big when it comes to otaku and what they love. I bought a DJ setup and got to work on practicing on it. I had no teacher and I was completely self taught. I just set my mind to it and six months later I rented a venue and started holding events.”
I really have to applaud your effort… Moreover, I have to commend you on your otaku-spirit in choosing fun as your top priority.
Even if it’s in the red it’s okay… events are my “doujin”
“Of course the events go into the red, you cannot fund the whole thing with ticket sales alone. But that’s okay with me. I want to do these events, so I do. Even if it’s a small crowd, they came out to support me. In the first event, only about 80 people came out and I consider that a huge win.”
When interesting DJs are holding fun events on the regular… the word really spreads.
“I was holding events around 2 times a year, and I started to get people reaching out to me because they had heard about them. But… there is one thing that people often tell me they are unsatisfied with at my events.”
I guess if you’re the head of the event you’re bound to get word of dissatisfaction at some point. But… What exactly is the issue?
“Me dressing like a man.”
“Well I am usually dressed like a girl, right? But sometimes I will do my sets wearing men’s clothing or my regular clothes and that’s when I usually get asked “Why!?””
Not only is he a DJ he’s also a VJ (Video Jockey)!
He doesn’t only play the biggest anime jams, he carefully plans his sets and considers things like the feeling of the venue and the event-goers.
A Touching Story Beneath Women’s Clothing
Well… If I think about it, it does seem like Ohtake crossdresses on the regular and I am sure a lot of people dig it when they see it. But why does he crossdress?
“I think it must have been about 20 years ago now. One of my best friends told me that they were leaving to go back home. Their home was so far away it wasn’t like I could just go and see them very easily. I thought… this may be the last time I ever see this person, and so I wanted to do something to commemorate that moment. So to see them off, I wore the cosplay of my friend’s favourite female warrior character. And it was actually pretty fun (laughs). From then on, I’ve sort of always crossdressed.”
What a heartfelt story.
To All Those Wanting to Become an Anisong DJ
Crossdressing aside, becoming a DJ seems really awesome!! I really want to try it, but do I need a turntable to be one?
“Not really. There aren’t many DJs who are spinning records and CDs these days. Anyone can create a good atmosphere with a PC and a few pieces of equipment. The threshold is low; the only thing you need to do is practise! I practise everyday and try to get a feel of the equipment. Also, you have to make sure that you have an extensive library of music. I have about 30,000 anime tracks alone on my PC.”
What!? Just anisongs?? As I express my surprise, I learn that actually there are many people who have way more than that.
He just gets cuter and cuter…
“I want to continue being an anisong DJ for the rest of my life, however I have wondered recently if there is anyone who can carry on the baton. I don’t have all the skill, but I would like to support the events going forward and things like that.”
To all the readers who want to become an anisong DJ, now is your chance if you want to become Ohtake’s protege!!
Having started an advertising production company in 2010 whose main business partner is a mail order company, he specialises in direct response advertising.