‘The Patriots”: How Japanese Otaku Culture Created the Modern Net

Maxi Gorynski
15 min readAug 2, 2019

This article was originally published on Wonk Bridge


“What do you mean ‘the otaku holds the key?’”

With thanks to Fire Water

The web is not merely a tool of democracy: it’s a tool of radical democracy. Civilisation as a whole is designed to take us, with each developmental step, further and further away from the cruel and violent, resource-intensive lifestyle that is its antithesis and from whence civilisation itself came. Fittingly, the internet was designed for, and so promotes, the disinterested sharing of such resources. The old paradigm most universally damaged in the Early Digital era — ground almost to dust, beyond sandblasting and examination, while the likes of trade, elective security and democracy still stand a beleaguered, though firm, three-part Ozymandias — is property.

“Property”; the philosophical forefather of the nation state most responsible for the commercialisation of the web once said about it that “Where there is no property, there can be no justice”.

Regardless of one’s personal stance on notions of property and justice and their relation, then, it is a fact that the culture of the internet has functionally if not legislatively repealed/suspended one of the foremost liberal legal virtues.

One of the former pillars of democracy, of independent ownership — first suggested when a transcendent-of-state democracy so complete as we generally know in the early 21st century was unimaginable — no longer stands, replaced by its opposite. To share, and to be able to reap, disinterestedly is now thought a truer democratic ‘justice’, with remuneration to producers a soppy and insolent trifle — artists and those creators of abstracted intellectual or sensual experiences having been the first exempted from the old democratic creed’s insurance of pay for their work commensurate with demand.

Regardless of one’s value appraisal of such a development, the natural corollary of this development is that we must produce more in order to feed the insatiable appetite of the global userbase. Offline, we are beginning to develop a well-merited anxiety of ecological collapse, and a greater and greater understanding of the role of an…

Maxi Gorynski

Technologist, writer, contrapuntalist, lion tamer and piano tuner