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Monday, September 20, 2010

Otaku

Otaku is a Japanese term used to describe people with obsessive interests usually related to anime, manga or video games.
In modern Japanese slang, the term refers to a fan of any particular theme, topic or hobby. Common otaku include anime otaku (fan of anime), cosplay otaku and manga otaku (fans of comic books), pasokon otaku (computer geek), gemu otaku (video games), ota (fans of Japanese idols). The term can basically be used and applied to anything obsessive such as music, cooking, martial arts, etc.

Although the term otaku can have negative connections, in Japan otaku have started becoming cool and even describe themselves and the term proudly and accepting their position as fans. Otaku have even been portrayed positively in Japanese culture and movies such as “Densha Otoko” (Train Man), a love story about a geek and a beautiful woman who meet on a train have  made an interesting look into the otaku culture. Its popularity in Japan and positive portrayal of the main character who is an otaku has helped reduce negative stereotypes about otaku, and increased the acceptability of some otaku hobbies. In fact, the “Densha Otoko” story has enjoyed a compilation in novel form, several comic book adaptations, a movie, a theme song by a popular Japanese band and a TV series.
The former Prime Minister of Japan, Tara Aso has also claimed himself to be an otaku, using this subculture to promote Japan in foreign affairs.
A subset of otaku are the Akiba-kei, men who spend a lot of time in Akihabara in Tokyo and who are mainly obsessed about anime, idols and games.
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