Wednesday, August 9

Old article on word of otaku.

Anime Otaku:
Japanese Animation Fans Outside Japan


Annalee Newitz

Bad Subjects, Issue # 13, April 1994


In Japan, the term otaku is a kind of insult; it refers to a person who is so involved with a particular type of fan subculture that he or she becomes obsessed, even insane. One way otaku gets translated into English is with the somewhat derogatory term 'fanboy.'

In America, fans of Japanese animation often call themselves otaku with pride, although they are quick to point out that the term is, in fact, insulting.Otaku gets
appended to any number of fan subculture categories to indicate one's allegiance to them. For example, a motorcycle fan would be 'motorcycle otaku,' and fans of Japanese animation -- known as anime -- would refer to themselves as 'anime otaku.'

This form of self-identification among (largely American) fans of Japanese animation tells us something about what it means to consume anime outside Japan: in order to affiliate themselves with anime fan culture, American fans are calling themselves by a name the Japanese use as an insult.

The entire aticle can be seen here.

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