The term “Otaku” is a Japanese term that refers to people with obsessive interests or hobbies. The interests range all around the board but the ones commonly associated with the term are that of Anime and Manga. In North America I know that many people who frequent conventions and partake in anime and manga and that fandom so refer to themselves as “Otaku” but only when it pertains to those hobbies. In Japan there are several different groups of “Otaku”, those who are interested in trains, figurines, feudal eras, the list goes on. The term has only been around since the mid to late 80’s, it is disputed sometimes about the exact work it was applied to what it has become now.
When I say an obsessive hobby I mean one that really is obvious in most things you do in your life. For me all my free time (when im not cleaning and cooking) I’m watching series after series of different anime as well as going through manga series like they are going out of style. I study about various different aspects of the culture that has arisen now centering around anime, as well as traditional culture of Japan and a few other countries that lie in Asia. Thankfully here in the west it’s not too much of an issue to have such hobbies, its much of the time thought to be cool. However there will always be those who look down on those interests and think it’s nerdy or who are rude about it. But it seems that in the past two decades it has become the new cool to be geeky. In Japan that really isn’t the case, to be an Otaku is not a good thing through the eyes of society. It’s looked down on and many think the idea of an Otaku is creepy and there are many stereotypes surrounding the term.
There are places, mainly Akihabara in Japan that thrive on the Otaku Culture. Shops filled with anime, figurines, model kits and games galore. There is so much you can get your hands on as well as get to visit the adorable Maid Cafes and cosplay cafes. There is a lot of money that is made from the various fandoms, I know several people who really use all of their earnings on their hobbies. If it makes you happy and fills your life with some meaning then I say go for it, do what you love and don’t listen to those who only have negativity.
Are you a Otaku or serious fan? What do you like to do? Let me know in the comments!