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Otaku Subculture

Posted By Fiona Moon     Apr 30    

Today, new cultures are gradually emerging within the frames of the mainstream culture. With the development of new technologies, the individuals have changed the way they live and perceive reality respectively. One of such manifestations is a new culture called Otaku. While I was writing an article critique a I found out that the appearance of anime has a direct impact on the emergence of this culture. It has developed in Japan and has gained a wide popularity around the world. Being on the top of its popularity, otaku has a lot of distinguishing features and attracts individuals by its creativity.

Otaku is a Japanese term that describes a person with a striking interest in something. It is commonly applied in relation to anime and manga. The modern use of the term originates from the essay written by Akio Nakamori in 1983. The word can be applied as a pejorative, and its negative value follows from the stereotypical view of otaku and the media reports on Tsutomu Miyazaki, "the otaku murderer". According to a study conducted in 2013, the term has become more positive, and more and more people call themselves "otaku".

Otaku subculture is a basic theme of various investigations and researches. Subculture was born in the 1980-ies as a change in social mentality and the upbringing of otaku Japanese schools (Hicks). The birth of subculture is connected with the release of anime called Mobile Suit Gundam. The definition of otaku has subsequently become more diverse since the new types of otaku gradually appear. In 2005, otaku was divided into 12 groups, and the approximate size and market impact of each of them was estimated (Lee). Consequently, the assessment of the economic impact of otaku is equal to 2 trillion yen (18 billion dollars).

This subculture has deeply ingrained in people’s mentality; thus, its popularity gradually increases. In 2007, such companies as “One's Communications" and "Otaba" conducted a study of Japanese who consider themselves otaku. Consequently, 601 individuals were interviewed in Japanese, 68% of them were men with most of them being aged from 20 to 30 years (Lee). In this study, 32.6 per cent of respondents said that they became otaku in high school. 23,1% pointed the last years of primary school. As for the question what anime gave them the understanding of the otaku, the majority of respondents called the anime "Gundam". The number of responders who named this anime was 3.7%, 2.7% of the interviewed people called "Evangelion" (Kincaid). One percent of respondents named "Final Fantasy" and "Tokimeki Memorial Only Love". Additionally, 0.9% of the votes went to "Space Battleship Yamato", "YuYu yu yu hakusho", and "Sailor Moon" (Kincaid). At the same time, the answers varied strongly depending on the age of the respondents. Thus, among otaku at the age of 20-30 years "Tokimeki Memorial" was very popular. Older fans often called classics such as "Space Battleship Yamato" and "Urusei Yatsura". According to the telephone survey "Yano" held from July to September 2011 year, every fourth Japanese person calls himself otaku (Kincaid). Taking into account the above-mentioned information, one may admit that people in Japan feel a direct impact of anime. That is to say they perceive virtual reality more closely rather than actual one.

In conclusion, the subculture of otaku is popular in the contemporary society. Japanese represent this culture from all perspectives. They turn to it in order to become the anime figures in reality. Actually, a wide number of Japanese call themselves otaku. They like to substitute reality with the virtual life. That is why they maintain this culture and spread it around the world. Consequently, this culture attracts attention of a great variety of people.

Otaku Subculture

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