Defining Otaku within my project

You may have seen the world Otaku a lot in my recent research. There is a lot of controversy surrounding this word, mainly because of the west’s missinterpretations of it. It’s become lost in translation.

In Japan Otaku is quite a derogative term, labelled to people who are social inept, and obsessive with anime/manga.

This article is a really good explanation of the term Otaku and it’s context within different cultures.

The Politics of Otaku

By: Lawrence Eng (09/01/01)

http://digimero.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/the-politics-of-otaku.html
I suggest reading it to better understand the term and it’s usage around the world.

There are also 2 other terms for someone “obsessed” with anime and manga. These are also both quite derogative.

Weeaboo & Wapanese

With Japanese popular culture spreading into Western Culture there had to be a term coined to put these people into groups (like every part of our society). The best way I can compare Weeaboo or Wapanese to a more recognisable culture for the West in a Wannabe.

I do not condone labelling people into groups at all, but I do know some people that would fit the criteria for these words. I want to clarify that when I talk about Otaku for this project I am not talking about Weeaboo, Wannabe’s, or the western version of Otaku. Instead I am looking at Otaku as a culture in Japan, where it came from, what influenced it, and who was influenced by it, from the original hardcore Otaku to the modern Otaku. I am not using it as a derogative term, but for lack of a better word in a 10 minute presentation it’s easier for people to understand the group of people I am talking about if I use Otaku.

In the interview I looked at with Takashi Murakami talking about Otaku Toshio Okada explains that Otaku doesn’t mean what it used to during it’s origin.

Toshio Okada: Well, a few years ago, I declared, “I quit otaku studies,” because I thought there were no longer any otaku to speak of.
Back then [during the 1980s and early 1990s], there were a hundred thousand, or even one million people who were pureotaku—100-proof otaku, if you will. Now, we have close to ten million otaku, but they are no more than 10- or 20-proofotaku. Of course, some otaku are still very otaku, perhaps 80 or 90 proof. Still, we can’t call the rest of them faux otaku. Theotaku mentality and otaku tastes are so widespread and diverse today that otaku no longer form what you might call a “tribe.”
I like to think of it like this…
What the popularity of Anime and Manga has done for the word “Otaku” is similar to what ‘The Big bang theory’ has done to the word “Geek”. A once derogative term for social misfits and loners is now a popular culture term that doesn’t represent the same group of people it used to, none the less you cannot exclude the new ‘breed’ of followers, you have to embrace the change and accept the term.
Now a funny video to lighten the mood, after this sensitive and confusing subject.
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2 thoughts on “Defining Otaku within my project

  1. Pingback: An Otaku Project |

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