What is Otaku おたく/オタク ? Japanese word for Geek – a social commentary

From what I have read, Otaku is similar to what we in the West, kindly imagine re the word ‘geek'. A studious person who spends a lot of time at home behind the keyboard with a strong (perhaps obsessive) interest in a particular subject. In the old days this may have been a ‘train spotter'. In Japanese culture this would generally be Anime and/or Manga fan.

AMV Otaku Paradise

Otaku used to be a negative term in Japan, but it's now socially acceptable and many Japanese refer to themselves as ‘Otaku'. Much the same as to be a Geek has become pretty cool! After all it is the geeks of this world that make the most money, am I right?

I consider myself a bit of Geek meanwhile so maybe I am also Otaku? Hmmm not sure I'm obsessed enough 🙂 Time will tell!

Otaku type fashion below

It's Otaku Time!

Otaku still has some negative connotations meanwhile as some in Japanese culture may consider Otaku as being out of touch with reality. That's pretty mean. Escaping reality is very healthy in my opinion especially when your reality may not be that great. Having a strong interest in something can lead to great creativity in that subject matter.

Meanwhile as always it seems with Japanese culture Otaku has now got a ton of subsets, each slightly different, perhaps defined by the particular individuals obsessive interest.

A central meeting place for Otaku people is Akihabara in Tokyo. Here you may find waitresses dressed as Anime characters and they have tons of stores specialising in Manga, video games, collectible figurines and so on. The tourist industry there relies on Otaku culture heavily.

Now with regard to those subsets of Otaku, believe it or not research has been carried out to define them! This to me is a little pointless given people are different, their interests will vary and as such a ‘geek' or ‘Otaku' will be different to the next one in line. They can't all be lumped together with one interest as their interests are diverse.

Research has tried to pigeon hole them, perhaps to better capitalise on the spending habits of Otaku. If business know the main interests of focus, they can cater for them and of course get rich and fat in the process. Collectors spend a lot on their item of interest. I know I've collected many things in the past, most recently old phones!

We are all just cogs in the machine when it comes to big business making money. it is in their interests for Otaku to become very socially acceptable. their wallets depend on it.

What do you think?