What does being 'otaku' mean to you?

Lots of U.S. dwellers who like anime call themselves 'otaku' like it's some kind of special privilege that makes them superior to someone else who may not know as much as they do. What's funny is that most of these people have no idea what connotations being 'otaku' has because America itself does not care to adopt Japanese values. In any case, this five-letter word has to mean something to you if you are here in the first place.

Let's get honest, shall we? =]

7 years, 10 months ago
Nina
4755 1 3 10

19 replies (reply)

5

But being an Otaku, is it not frowned upon in the Japanese society? The reason for this strange precaution in the Otaku community of Japan has to do with a string of child murders committed by a man trying to imitate loli hentai. Otaku were being shunned to no avail. People with high ranking jobs in Japan found to have the otaku lifestyle (anime, manga, costumes, etc.) are often fired or dismissed from their jobs. It's strange to think that these videos, ment to deter violent sexual activity, are actually spurring it.

Though the event is slowly drifting out of the minds of the Japanese and the otaku are gaining ground once again, it has made out a large dent in the anime/manga fan society. But the first original anime/manga are still highly revered in Japan. Even now, a 20 story Gundam is being built in some park somewhere in the vast busy infrastructure of Japan. (no im not poking fun. all events in this reply have actually happened.)

7 years, 10 months ago
sinisterspades
1051 2 8
4

I love practically everything that has to do with Japanese culture. My friends are a little obsessed. I even play the Japanese game called, 'Go' sometimes, which is featured in the anime and manga called, Hikaru No Go. I love sushi and I go to cons. Once someone is introduced to anime it's hard to break away. Not that anyone would want to. Anyway, I would only consider myself to be, 'otaku' because I'm love watching anime, reading, manga, and I'm a bit of a Zelda nerd. I wouldn't consider myself 'superior' than anyone else though.

7 years, 10 months ago
maria
6567 1 5 10
4

Understanding obscure allusions to pop culture, Enjoying almost everything about Japanese culture (Except the Lolita stuff. Ew.) and watching subbed animes. That makes me an Otaku.

I'm not exactly... creepy, for lack of better word, when it comes to this stuff. And by creepy I mean the people who spend more time of their lives making costumes than watching anime. I enjoy this a lot more than many people around me and watch/read things people have never heard of before, along with ones not released on this side of the pacific. That makes me an otaku.

7 years, 10 months ago
KaminaSama
2797 1 7
4

I think it's something you can should be proud of - haha of course I may be biased ;)

Seriously though... It isn't necessary to adopt every single aspect of Japanese culture to enjoy parts of it.

What Otaku means to me

from some guy's shirt at Anime next

My anti-drug: anime

because who can afford drugs when you're addicted to anime?

7 years, 10 months ago
jim
6516 2 4 11
4

@Jim

Indeed. But I suppose this is the way the world works and since its worked so very well in the past, I believe it will continue that way till someone makes a big deal out of it.

7 years, 10 months ago
sinisterspades
1051 2 8
3

@sinisterspades:

Wow, really? That's too bad for all the people in Japan that actually like anime/manga.

7 years, 10 months ago
maria
6567 1 5 10
3

@ maria

yea, it does. But the major teenage shows like Bleach and Gintama and the old ones that were and are still very popular are still in good standing there.

7 years, 10 months ago
sinisterspades
1051 2 8
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@sinisterspades it's a shame how public opinion can be influenced so strongly by the actions of a tiny minority...

7 years, 10 months ago
jim
6516 2 4 11
3

Buying manga, learning Japanese and its culture, listening to anime theme songs on mp3, and eating sushi.

7 years, 9 months ago
apf1
1398 1 3 10
3

I've always view Otaku as similar to Trekkies but with a different focus. Some one who knows anime, manga and is familiar with parts of the Japanese Culture.
Also I want one of those Otaku Pride Buttons

7 years, 9 months ago
Guyver4
731 1 7
3

@jim That's awesome XD

Otaku pride! I like it XD

7 years, 9 months ago
rollingstar5
1165 2 9
3

I dunno, to me an otaku is anyone who isn't a passing fancier of anime and manga. It doesn't necessarily have to include Japanese culture or whatever, but it seems to bolster it. Theoretically, anyone with an obsessive hobby can be called an otaku. That's my thinking, anyway. While I don't boast about my otaku status, I'm not ashamed of it, either. I think that's what really separates us from the Japanese archetype.

7 years, 9 months ago
KarenKisaragi
581 1 5
3

As the creator of this thread, I just want to give a bit of props to sinisterspades and KarenKisaragi for pointing out the truths in otakudom as they currently stand in the West and in Japan. Though Americans - I can only talk about them because I am one technically - are typically "proud" of their otaku status, that pride does come with a startling truth:

The majority of them have single-handedly crafted their own definitions of "otaku" as it applies to themselves. And then go around ridiculing/shunning others who are not within their defined basis.

That, in itself, sounds very American to me, as we have a history and a reputation as being rambunctious, headstrong, and disgustingly ignorant. I'm sorry if anyone takes offense to this, but this really hit home for me after my abroad study in Osaka. There is nothing wrong with flaunting your individual status as an otaku [of whatever], but it's in our best interest to consider the origins of the term and why we should be more sensitive to how truly broad its usage can be. From movies, to anime, to technology, "otaku" is more than just eating pocky every week and having a DVD signed by one's favorite voice actor. It's a lifestyle that should be treated with dignity and care, for many of them across the Pacific indulge in their obsession despite society blaming them for rape crimes and being a negative influence on the next generation.

7 years, 9 months ago
Nina
4755 1 3 10
1

I know that being "otaku" in Japan is essentially being the guy/girl that lives in their mother's basement doing nothing but watching anime/reading manga and stuff like that. Kind of like the people in America that do nothing but play World of Warcraft and collect action figures.

Being "otaku" in MY definition is being a true fan of anime/manga/Japanese culture, and not just saying that you are so you can fit in with everyone else that is. You have a passion for reading manga, and you're the one person at an anime convention that can answer the obscure questions about an anime that nobody has ever heard of, because you did a little bit of research into the slightly unknown-to-America section of Japanese anime.

7 years, 9 months ago
kage_ayumu_sakushi
406 4
1

To me, it's a status. One that I can enjoy fully without much sacrifice.

7 years, 7 months ago
kirby264
956 1 9

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