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This chapter analyzes Azuma Hiroki’s writings on media theory from 1997 to 2003. In this phase, in which Azuma had developed himself from a young scholar of critical theory into a prominent intellectual with a main focus on otaku culture in Japan, he wrote extensively on media theory with a plan to publish a book that would offer “a comprehensive theory of the postmodern.” Though the project was never realized, these writings contained insightful theoretical arguments, such as the reinterpretation of postmodernism, the ethics of information society, and, above all, a persuasive theory of otaku culture that was published separately as Otaku: Japan’s Database Animals. The chapter seeks to portray the whole picture of the media theory Azuma envisioned at that moment, and at the same time explain why it had to be abandoned.

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