Today we’re going to answer the question of what an otaku is. You’ve probably seen this word being tossed around if you’ve been inside the anime community. I like anime; does that make me an otaku? I like reading manga; does that make me an otaku? I like video games; does that make me an otaku?
To understand what is an otaku, you should know that there are two meanings: the Western meaning and the Japanese. In the Western meaning, an otaku is someone who has a hobby that spends more time, money and effort on than normal people do. It’s often used to refer to anime and manga fans, which translates to nerd or geek of that nature.
Now the Japanese meaning is kind of similar, though a little bit different. The Japanese meaning for otaku is someone who is very into a specific hobby. Usually used to refer to someone who is very informed about a specific subject, sometimes considered an expert or even a scholar. It’s also used as a derogatory term to show someone who lacks common sense or social skills. Now it’s kind of hard to tell what the actual definition is of an otaku because there’s not a set definition. It’s a word that’s based on personal feelings, tastes and opinions. It just depends on who says it to who, where and in what context.
For some people, it appears to be a little creepy, and that’s because it all started with this murder case back in 1988 in Japan called the otaku murderer, a.k.a Tsutomu Miyazaki. This was the point when the word otaku started to become popularized by Japanese media. Because of this « otaku » murderer case, the media began to associate the murderer’s lifestyle to what otaku means, which is crazy fanatics that will abandon all of their responsibilities to invest themselves in a valueless hobby. Now, suppose you happen to contract this otaku disease as the media wants to paint. In that case, people will believe that you are antisocial, creepy, weird, and maybe you are a loner or a hikikomori.
I find it ironic that people think that otakus are antisocial because, in truth, they’re very social, as otakus like to talk about their ideas and opinions, about mangas and animes, with others. The negativity of the word is slowly going away as people are starting to accept themselves as otaku. Because of this, it’s casting a more positive light on the word.
I personally define myself as an otaku ! yes, I’m a mum, but I have loved anime from childhood, so why should I change now? I just see my passion for anime as an opportunity to share something that really passionate me with my son. I learned many beautiful human values from anime. I think the ones that helped me the most in my life are: patience and resilience. Till now, when I feel depressed, I like watching anime. A few months ago, I finished the four seasons of attack on titan. This is really a great anime as it helped to get connected within the great titan inside of me. If you are afraid about the world around you, if you feel weak or bullied wherever you are, just watch this anime. You’ll understand that if everyone tries to break you and put you down, this is because you are great, because you are better than them, and because you are a Titan!