A cafe specifically aimed at nerd and geek culture prohibits men from entering in Osaka, Japan, as Atraxia Cafe hopes to create a unique girls-only atmosphere for otaku hobbies.
Japan’s Atraxia Cafe seems to be the kind of place famous female gamers like Ronda Rousey might be interested in checking out the next time they’re visiting Asia’s central hub of all things video game and geek. The cafe takes aim at women who identify themselves as “otaku”, a term which loosely means someone who has obsessive interests, although it is often more narrowly associated with those who are deeply embedded in anime, manga, video game, or the often awe-inspiring cosplay culture.
Japan has already taken aim at women otaku before, previously enjoying some success with the implementation of “butler cafes” a decade ago, which were basically coffee shops whose employees were exclusively attractive men dressed in formal attire. Atraxia Cafe is unique, however, in that it bans men entirely.
The idea behind the cafe is to create a space for women to relax and embrace their otaku hobbies free of judgment, whether they enjoy reading manga, playing video games, or other facets of otaku culture. There is even a work space where the cafe’s patrons can draw their own manga or work on their next League of Legends cosplay costume.
Besides the obvious requirement of having to be a woman, the cafe also requires a membership for patrons to gain entry, and it is only for women 18 years of age or older. While the prohibitive costs of a membership to enter a cafe might seem odd, membership cafes have been popular in Japan for some time now, and the trend is now seen as part of the culture rather than a strange anomaly.
While it may seem like a relatively small occurrence in a country that is famed for its video game industry relevance, in reality, the Atraxia Cafe and other establishments like it are important in attempting to solidify gaming culture in a country that used to be the de facto source for it. A report a year ago suggested that the Japanese video game market is at an all-time low, and even homemade RPG giants like Final Fantasy 15 might not be enough to save the console market in Japan.
Given the downtrend of video games in Japan, appealing to a specific and often-overlooked consumer base makes a lot of sense and could signify a revitalization if Atraxia Cafe’s success spawns more locales like it. While the role of women in video games is still a hotly debated topic, the addition of more females into the culture and industry itself could only help diversify and expand the significance of our favorite pastime.
What do you think of Atraxia Cafe? Is getting more women involved in the culture and industry what video games need to take the next step forward? Let us know in the comments below.