In which Shingo lays bare the secrets behind the somewhat curious naming of this site. Just what exactly is a “Heisei democracy”?

To understand the inspiration for the name behind the current incarnation of the site, we must take a trip together back into the dark and murky past of early 2005. Back to when this blog was called “American Junk”. Back before quoting TMBG lyrics was “cool”.

It seems I didn’t actually chronicle the name change to Heisei Democracy when it happened, presumably when that not-really-a-first-post first post occurred; I do recall the rationale for the change, though. While I am American, the junk I was posting about was decidedly not, and blog titles tend to refer more to the blog content than to the author. Clearly the old name had to go. Also, this was back when Moetry was updating with catchy post titles and I wanted to catch the wave; Mainichi Junk at American Junk? I think not.

No, the blog needed a suitably hip and cosmopolitan name, something obscure to the point of incomprehensibility, a work of art whose meaning would be provided entirely by the reader. All of the good, short, snappy names were already taken. What to do…

It was around this point that I was working on translation of Welcome to the NHK for Jinmen Juushin. The early chapters of the manga are filled with delightful otakuisms and non sequiturs, and chapter three was no exception: those currently viewing the anime will recall Satou and Yamazaki’s excellent Akihabara adventure, which if anything was even more bizarre in its manga incarnation.

Behold the following panel (and linked, translated page) from the manga version of said event:

the original inspiration for Heisei Democracy

“Otaku hedge fund”? “Heisei democracy”?

Google searches in both English and Japanese could do nothing to demystify Yamazaki’s ravings. However it gradually dawned on me, after completing the Jinmen translation (in which I replaced the Heisei democracy line with something more intelligible), that this was a good thing. Yamazaki is ranting in a freestyle expository manner about Akihabara, something I found myself doing more often than was seemly – why not take his free associations and put them to use?

I proceeded to do just that, and Heisei Democracy was born.

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Shingo still doesn’t know what an otaku hedge fund is, and lies awake nights wondering what he’ll do with the site name when the Heisei emperor kicks the bucket.