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Female History Fans Cited for Sales Spike in Japanese Sword Book Series

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

History has found itself a new fan demographic. Introducing rekijo — female history aficionados. Like other otaku groups, rekijo show their fandom with their wallets. Publisher Takarajima credited women in their 20s as the largest demographic buying the latest installment in its Nihontō (lit. Japanese Swords) book series, a far cry from the expected male customers in their 40 to 60s. History fans', both men and women, love for their hobby brings in an estimated US$725 million every year, according to the Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute.

Bars began catering to rekijo within the last ten years, holding meet-and-greet and discussion events with attendance reaching 40-50 people at a time. The women come to the events in traditional kimono dress and armed with one to two meter long replica swords to discuss Japanese history, lineage, and crushes on samurai like Sakamoto Ryōma. Actor Ken Watanabe's daughter Anne, a runway model for brands like Chanel, is also an avowed rekijo.

Game makers seem aware of the new rise in rekijo. Mobile game producer DMM and Nitroplus released its "cute boys as Japanese swords" game Tōken Ranbu (lit. Boisterous Dancing Swords) featuring uchigatana, tachi, wakizashi, tantō, ōdachi, yari, and naginata weapon types in January. The Curtain Damashii booth at this weekend's AnimeJapan event will sell full-size curtains with the characters from the game. Dedicated rekijo will likely snatch those up, too.

[Via Nijimen, Rocket News 24, CNN, NPR]

Image via Naver Matome

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