What is the History of Japanese attitudes on Otakus?

Sure, we like cosplaying and collector's items. But what do actual Japanese citizens think of otaku? If we were to travel there and strut down Shibuya in all our geeky glory, what would the locals think? How did we get here?

The good news is that Japan understands and caters to its otaku. Like maid cafes and doujinshi, it's just another part of the Japanese fan experience. It's business. Who else but otaku will fill stadiums and gather in the thousands at hand-shaking events? Who else but otaku will buy the second and third edition DVDs?

The bad news is that not all otaku have had a favorable reception by the media. Infamous serial killer Miyazaki Tsutomu was a fan of anime and horror movies, prompting a kind of anti-otaku sentiment among the public during the trial. Plenty of hikikomori are otaku too, which tends to paint us all as weirdos and shut-ins.

Simply put, an otaku's level of acceptance among the Japanese community will depend on what they're into and what kind of press it's gotten in the past. Producers and VAs will love them; the average citizen will probably raise their eyebrows. But really, for an otaku, is that so different from life anywhere?

What kind of reception have you encountered as an otaku? and please can you help me understand the history of how we got here? What factors caused the current connotations of the word otaku?

5 years ago
106 1 6

4 replies (reply)


hmmm.. I don't really sure..well, some of Japanese people hate Otakus you know..but they do have lots of cosplay activities or campaign .. that's what I know so far..I'm not sure to answer this kind of question. hmmm..-_-

5 years ago
101 7

They fit a similar social stereotype that "nerds" did throughout the 20th century in the US. Think of the generic 80s nerd (which span several decades of attire, looks, and attitudes) and some of those will match up to Japan's view of an otaku. Or, simply look to "The Big Bang Theory"... but don't because it is gross and depressing.

The "man-child" opinion is very strong to this day. I can't imagine what it is like for an American nerd being in Japan and geeking out over Japanese culture. It seems like the worst-case scenario.

5 years ago
6097 3 4 10

I spent 3 and a half months aboard in Japan and I will say this much: It just depends on the people. Some Japanese don't care one way or another about otaku. Some have a strong hate for them, while others are just curious onlookers.

When I studied aboard, I was on my best behavior (I did not want to get deported). Though I was happy to show off my inner otaku, but after a while I just stopped. I got plenty of funny looks or had them saying "You are so cute!" from my Japanese speech partners. Thankfully though, most of the American students there were more than happy to add another fellow otaku to the bunch.

I also learned that Japan considers their otaku as more of a psychological disorder. Obsessive to the point of being insane.

4 years, 5 months ago

Some people will actually think its childish to get involved to otaku. I myself think this way even when I'm into it but I like doing it after all I still consider myself a child lol.

Age doesn't count when it comes to hobbies really.

4 years ago
31 4

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