What is an "Otaku"?

I've heard many different definitions for what an "Otaku" is. How to become one, what defines you as one, and how you are any different from a nerd or geek?

I remember the first definition that I heard for the word "Otaku" didn't pertain to anime at all.

Originally, the word (when used online, not sure about the Japanese translation of it) was used to refer to a kid (typically of Japanese heritage, although it could be otherwise) who was obsessive with the internet and technology. Someone that wanted to learn everything they could, and more, about technology."

At least that's the description that I read many, many years ago on some news site... Not sure if I can find the link anymore.

Now, I'm sure the meaning of the word has changed with time and with the new anime/video game/manga obsessed culture, so I haven't considered that as the proper definition of the word in a long time. My questions to you all is this: Can we come to a definition for the word "Otaku" that can be accepted by all of us, and will set an easy understanding of what makes somebody an "Otaku"?

8 years, 9 months ago
813 1 7

7 replies (reply)


Please take a look at the comments posted in this topic that I made a while back. It not only covers what members have thought the word "otaku" to mean, but also hones in on the true cultural meaning of "otaku" in Japan in contrast with the West (the U.S. specifically).

8 years, 9 months ago
4755 1 3 10

Like many other words, otaku has taken on newer meanings over the years. Whenever I heard it being used, it was ALWAYS in reference to my girlfriend of the time. Being pretty new to the hardcore anime nerd scene, it was a little strange, but I understood it.

It is both a term of endearment and one of shame. All that matters is how you interpret it. If you are like, say, @maria, then you are a proud, manga-toting, pocky-eating, deformed-character-loving otaku. If you are like me, however, you just see it as a means of entertainment that has some history to you, but you aren't confined nor offended by the term.

Either way, you're on this site, so you're either a nerd, dork, gamer, shut-in, tech-head; an otaku.

8 years, 9 months ago
6097 3 4 10

An otaku is basically a fanatic about something. In fact, the words "fanatic" and "otaku" are interchangable(ex: a gaming fanatic can be also called a gaming otaku).

8 years, 8 months ago
956 1 9

well, in my opinion, it's someone who is a fanatic about something, or puts their heart and soul into a certain hobby, series, etc. For example, we are all otaku of anime, manga, and/or videogames, and are excited simply at the thought of it, let alone talking to someone about it or participating in something related to it. Someone could also be an otaku of say, art or drawing, because they love looking at it, or are constantly sketching. at least that's my definition ^^

8 years, 8 months ago
301 1 7

Otaku is literally Japanese for Geek or Nerd. I guess it's cool to use it to describe yourself here in America, but if you use that word about yourself over there you get ridiculed. Seriously.

8 years, 8 months ago
2797 1 7

otaku is a verb that means to pervert or to shut in, it has nothing to do with manga, and if you think it means manga nerd then you are a total poser

7 years, 2 months ago
11 1

For me,the definition for an otaku is someone who really loves manga and anime.

6 years, 6 months ago
476 6

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