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Old 04-27-2014, 11:46 AM   #1
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The concept of Otaku

I was gonna post this in the debate forum but eh. I'd rather see what you guys think/discuss. Debating is cool too.

Anyways. So otaku. You know them. Some of you might be self-proclaimed otaku. I'll address the concept of otaku from a Japanese perspective.

In the original Japanese お宅, お or "o" is an honorific added onto words (like oniisan or in English, big brother) and 宅 meaning "taku" or what meant house. You're literally calling someone a house, and there's a reason why.

Now a days, Japanese people use the word otaku to mean anyone obsessed with something particular, like trains or gardening. However, most people are familiar with it when it comes to anime, manga, and video games. In the west, the concept of otaku doesn't really reflect how it is in Japan. Otaku in Japan are typically exiled and ignored. People look down on you and basically you live your life alone. In fact, employers can fire you for being otaku. Hence why the original meaning house. People who are otaku essentially stay confined to their house and their extreme hobbies. It's pretty bad.

Everywhere else, otaku seems to be something to be proud of. Go to Japan and say you're an otaku. Do it. I dare you. As an example, I work at a Japanese restaurant so I interact with a lot of Japanese businessmen or Japanese people as a whole. One of the first things they'll ask me is if I like anime. My response is always おたくじゃない or I'm not an otaku! While they normally find this funny and respond with something akin to "very good", it's a serious thing.

You can of course enjoy anime and manga without being an otaku. That's not the point. There are a number of anime and manga series I really enjoy. It's when people identify as otaku that perturbs me.

So what do you guys think of the concept of otaku?
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Old 04-27-2014, 12:22 PM   #2
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I think it's a bad thing.
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Old 04-27-2014, 12:26 PM   #3
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It all depends on the context. The original definition is bad, but it is also used as a term of endearment. It's honestly no different from the word "nerd". Growing up, nerd was an insult, but now it's just part of who I am - something I'm proud of instead.
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Old 04-27-2014, 01:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperGamecube64 View Post
It all depends on the context. The original definition is bad, but it is also used as a term of endearment. It's honestly no different from the word "nerd". Growing up, nerd was an insult, but now it's just part of who I am - something I'm proud of instead.
Perhaps in the western sense, yeah. In Japan, you call someone an otaku, them's fightin words.
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Old 04-27-2014, 01:38 PM   #5
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Yeah I don't think nerd is similar. You don't get looked down on or are completely shut away from society if you're a nerd, whereas you do if you're an otaku in Japan. Nerd is similar to gangster.
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Old 04-27-2014, 01:49 PM   #6
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Yeah that's the thing.

nerd=/= otaku. Otaku have an unhealthy obsession with something particular. Like I previously said, since otaku once meant house (and was actually a form of endearment) this makes a lot of sense to refer to these individuals as such. These people have no social skills or interest in social conventions like hanging out with friends or leaving their house. Being a nerd and liking "nerdy" things is one thing. Otaku take this to the extreme. Their entire lives revolve around their hobbies/obsessions.
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Old 04-27-2014, 01:55 PM   #7
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The way I interpret it is closer to the Japanese definition than the Western. It can pretty much be associated with anything you have a high interest in (or obsessive as some people have), though as far as using it goes, I never thought highly of the term unless it refers to anime, because I could be all "I'm a My Little Pony otaku". Just seems weird to me.
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Old 04-27-2014, 04:27 PM   #8
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If their entire lives revolve around their obsession/hobbies, then it's probably a bad thing.
I wonder if a girl I know would be known as otaku in Japan because of how obsessed she is with One Direction and boy bands... Yes, her 'hobby' is that bad.
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Old 04-27-2014, 11:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperGamecube64 View Post
It all depends on the context. The original definition is bad, but it is also used as a term of endearment. It's honestly no different from the word "nerd". Growing up, nerd was an insult, but now it's just part of who I am - something I'm proud of instead.
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Old 04-27-2014, 11:23 PM   #10
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I rarely ever use the word otaku since I live in the US so there's no point. The way the word is used changes depending where you are, so here it might not be so bad, but in Japan it is. Tons of words are like that all over the world so it's not really anything new. You just gotta be careful or you'll sound like an idiot depending on who your talking to/where you are
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