Digital Media Concepts/Otaku Life

[1] anime logo, 2015

Background on Otaku Culture edit

[2][3] Otaku ( おたく ) is the Japanese term for someone who is mentally and physically detached from the real world due to an immense fixation on manga and anime. Otaku means "your home" as well as a very formal version of “you” in Japanese. Otaku is used to describe this type of person because it implies that said person would never be able to get close to someone, hence needing to speak formally to everyone around them, due to their obsession with fictional worlds and characters. The term was coined in 1983 by writer/columnist Akio Nakamori, as he described crazed manga fanatics at a comic book convention, with more interest in the lifestyle acummulating after the release of Studio Gainax's animated film "Otaku no Video," a commentary on otaku culture as well as the Oscar win of Hayou Miyazaki's critically acclaimed animated film Spirted Away.

Stereotypes edit

Meeting of anime fans at EGYcon,(Feb. 2015)

"Otaku" is typically synonymous with the terms "geek" and "nerd", with a certain level of distinction. This would the be obsessive factor in which defines an otaku. Stereotypical otakus do not leave the house, tend to lack social cues but have advanced technological skills due to intense video gaming and a complete immersion into virtual reality, and spend large amounts of money on either merchandise from their favorite animes or for accessories in the video games they play.

Stereotypically, otakus tend to not be able to hold relationships because nothing in real life could compare to what they have online and are typically male within the age 18-40 age range. In the beginnings of otaku culture, there was a majorly negative connotation to someone who identifies as otaku. As time has progressed, the subculture has not only become more welcome, but is desirable to many. This interest and participation in otaku life has reached beyond the confines of its Japanese orgins and has become an international phemonema. "Otaku Life" is a commonly used term coined by the community to represent pride in their lifestyle.

The Otaku Serial Killer edit

The early stigma towards otaku was severely worsened after Japan's first otaku serial killer. Tsutomo Miyazaki was a hardcore otaku, who owned and consumed massive amounts of X-rated manga and gore movies, indulging in a fantasy that would be looked negatively upon by the general public. Miyazaki incorporated these fantasies into his real life, as he explored cannibalism, necrophilia and the rape and murder of children. On the surface, Miyakazi took on traits of the typical otaku, specifically that he was shy in character. It was found that Miyazaki suffered from various psychological disorders.

Psychological effects edit

Many of those who live the otaku lifestyle tend to have a range of social problems, such as extreme phobias or social anxiety. This is why they have created a life that is detatched from reality where they can remain out of public eye, free to express themselves as they wish. Within the different types of otaku, there have been found to be different disorders that are prevelent in each, such as schizotypal disorder, histronic personality disorder, anti-social personality disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. It is common for otakus to spend lots of time daydreaming, becoming fixated upon their fantasies. A link between daydreaming and happiness has been made by psychologists according to the Japan Times , showing that the higher an individual's tendency to daydream, the less happy they are. This cements the idea in which living the life of an otaku can have severe negative psychological effects.

Subtypes of Otaku
Type About
Anime/Manga Otaku Obsessive interest in fictional characters within anime and manga; can be characterized with anti-social and socially anxious behavior
Cosplay Otaku Dedicates extensive time and money to cosplay, or the act of dressing as one's favorite anime/movie/video game character; can be characterized as attention-seeking with extreme insecurities with one's current self.
Video Game Otaku Dedicated extensive time and money to video games, occupying a huge amount of the individual's life, typically interfering with one's daily responsibilities and well-being; unofficial association to the risk of anti-social personality disorder; said to be the largest subtype of otaku in Japan
Figure Otaku (フィギュア萌え族) Obsession with dolls and/or action figures, typically those of anime and video game characters. Obsession often carries onto all forms of collectibles, such as accessories and posters; can be characterized by obsessive and compulsive behavior regarding the individual's collectibles.

Resources edit



  1. Gamers![1]
  2. "Anime". Wikipedia. 2020-10-09. 
  3. "Akio Nakamori". Wikipedia. 2019-12-18. 
  4. "Manga". Wikipedia. 2020-10-08. 
  5. "Gamers!". Wikipedia. 2020-10-06.!&oldid=982226501. 
  6. Hooper, R., 2020. The Happiness Of The Otaku: Daydreaming To Well-Being. [online] The Japan Times. Available at: <> [Accessed 6 October 2020].
  7. Eng, Lawrence. “The Origins of "Otaku" ,” November 3, 2003.
  8. Garg, S., 2020. From Pronoun To Identity: Tracing The History Of The Word Otaku. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 8 October 2020].
  9. Ikeguchi, Cecilia B. “The Otaku Culture and Its Cultural Ramifications ,” May 2018.