The name "Merzbow" comes from German artist Kurt Schwitters' artwork, "Merzbau". This was chosen to reflect Akita's dada influence and junk artaesthetic. In addition to this, Akita has cited a wide range of influences from progressive rock, free jazz, modern classical and musique concrète. 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.
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 by some as the "most important artist in noise"