The name "Merzbow" comes from German artist Kurt Schwitters' artwork, "Merzbau†. This was chosen to reflect Akita's dada influence and junk art aesthetic. In addition to this, Akita has cited a wide range of influences from progressive rock, free jazz, modern classical and musique concrète to BDSM and Japanese bondage. More recently he has been inspired by animals, animal rights and environmentalism.
As well as being a prolific musician, he has been a writer and editor for several books and magazines in Japan, and has written 17 books of his own. He has written about a variety of subjects, mostly about art, avant-garde and post-modern culture. His more renowned works have been on the topics of BDSM and fetish culture. Other art forms Akita has been interested in include painting, photography, filmmaking and Butoh dance.
In 2000, Extreme Records released the 50 CD box set known as the Merzbox. Akita's work has been the subject of several remix albums and at least one tribute album. This, among other achievements, has helped Merzbow to be regarded to some as the "most important artist in noise".