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'Otaku' men find themselves much sought after

60 Comments

Shukan Asahi (June 15) takes us to a “retro café” in Tokyo’s Nihonbashi where nine men and nine women are engaged in light banter. It looks like – and in fact is – a “konkatsu party,” a party for people in quest of a marriage partner.

This one’s a little different though. First, the talk is remarkably animated, with few of the awkward silences that generally bedevil these gatherings. Secondly, though the language is unmistakably Japanese, a Japanese eavesdropper – if we dare imagine such a thing – might have difficulty following the conversations. What’s “BL”? Or “fujoshi”?

BL means boys’ love and "fujoshi" are women who like manga and anime with BL themes. Are we oriented now? This is marriage-hunting among the otaku – those who, mostly with pride, shun as much as possible the physical, three-dimensional, living, breathing, sweating world and indulge instead their all-absorbing interest in manga, anime and computer games.

Otaku by now are so pervasive they are almost mainstream. The word is understood worldwide. Abroad they are “cool Japan” personified. And yet at home, not everyone takes to them. Cool they may be, but women looking for mates have tended to look elsewhere. Otaku themselves – the males at any rate – were notoriously skittish when it came to the opposite sex.

Not anymore, says Shukan Asahi. All of a sudden otaku men find themselves much sought after. One sign of changing times: organizers of the Nihonbashi café event report 30 applicants for every place available. Another: within two hours, five couples have formed and gone off on their own. That’s more than half, and better by far than the 30% rate typical of non-otaku konkatsu events.

Why are women, otaku and non-, lately reversing themselves on the desirability of otaku men as marriage partners? It all boils down, according to experts Shukan Asahi consults, to a shift in women’s aspirations. Once they demanded “the three highs” in a man: high academic background, high income, and high height – better a tall husband than a short one. That’s out now. In instead are “the three heis.” The character “hei” means average, mediocre, ordinary. The three heis are ordinary appearance, average income, and mediocre lifestyle.

It was the bursting of the economic bubble in the mid-1990s that deflated the three highs, and the 2008 Lehman Shock that inflated the three heis. The Lehman Shock brought Japan to the abyss of economic collapse. It was a shattering experience. High living suddenly came to seem like skating on ultra-thin ice. Better lower one’s sights, thought many women. A man with a modest salary is less likely to throw his money away. A plain appearance means other women will leave him alone. An unimposing lifestyle keeps a man content with the humdrum but after all satisfying pleasures of home and hearth.

Otaku men may be unimposing and unthreatening – but does their immersion in virtual and cartoon worlds leave them time and energy for husband- and fatherhood? It’s a point and a concern, women concede. Hardcore otaku might not fit the bill. “Otaku light” is what they hope for.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

60 Comments
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Japan: Attracting Otakus from all over the world in hopes of a better life.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

. “Otaku light” is what they hope for.

LOL. A new low for Japan society.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Heh heh

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The three "average" thing might be a good thing for Japan.

But being the hopeless romantic that I am, I still think it'd be nice to see Japanese woman who think it would be great to find someone who they love and who loves them.

This article made me remember one of my favorite couples. Lived through the depression, probably had less money than most, but just got on great. Always laughing, and just simply seemed to enjoy each other's company.

In the end, you have to live with the person.

21 ( +22 / -1 )

I sent off the word Otaku to my family and friends. Not one person knew the word, and they are worldly and educated.

Otaku by now are so pervasive they are almost mainstream. The word is understood worldwide. Abroad they are “cool Japan” personified.

Bull

-3 ( +15 / -18 )

I think women are finally coming to their senses that they don't need a rich handsom husband to be happy. My hubby is an Otaku light and I think he's the greatest. He doesn't have the desire to go out chasing tail and likes to stay at home for his hobbies. So, when I am off traveling around on my holidays, he is more than happy to play games while I am away. He supports me in whatever I want to do and I gladly let him be an otaku all the time :)

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Way to dive full head into medicrity Japan. What the hell does your average obsessive Otaku know about taking care of a wife and family? That requires a grasp of reality, ability to work, ability to think seriously.

In a declining economy it will be the middle ordinary that will come under the greatest pressure. They will be the ones most likely to see jobs lost, family savings exhausted and little or no prospect for stability as the country drops over the economic cliff it is racing towards.

What people should be placing value on are the three most rare things I see in young people here today 1. Good common sense and intelligence. 2. A strong grasp on reality and the real world and 3. Resourcefulness which will be needed to make a living going forward.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

tkoind2: not all otaku are completely seperated from reality. I know quite a few who work hard, have storng family values and are great with their wives. Some are very passionate about manga, anime and games but they also realize there is a time and a place for eveything.

In fact, I have been very sick this past week and my otaku hubby cooked and cleaned everyday while I was sick in bed. Then when the house was in good shape and I was fed, he went off to the den to play games, watch anime and read his favorite manga. Must better than the rich BF I had in the past that just flat out ignored me when I was a little under the weather.

As for jobs, it depends what their job is. Loss of jobs is not only for the otaku but for all of those with jobs that can be made redundant.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

"Otaku light," huh...

I think I know exactly what you mean. When I was teaching, I met a young man who was cute, had a nice job at a company and was, well, a big dork. Er, I mean, otaku light, I guess. When I was in high school, I used to like anime, so our conversations were almost entirely about anime. Granted, I haven't watched any since that time (oh my, about 10 years ago...), and yet he knew every obscure title I mentioned. He was a really sensible guy, and I think that any lady would like to have him as a husband.

These days, I think it's better for gals to go after reliable, faithful guys. The "Three Highs" might be nice, but I think I'd rather go after a regular guy. Even an "otaku light." Yasukuni said it well, "In the end, you have to live with the person."

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I have dated the UK equivalent of "Otaku" in the past, who have been bloody awful. I have dated rich guys who have been fantastic, in their own way. I have also dated rich good looking guys who were total wankers, and otaku who have been realy sweet and gentle. It has shag all to do with the "type" of person someone is, or what hobby they have, and everything to do with shared values, chemistry and that indefinable spark - regardless of looks or money.

This article is just so typical of Japan - going after a set of labels instead of what really matters.

And what makes people think otaku are any more faithful than rich, good looking guys? One Otaku ex of mine was up to things that would make your toes curl (he was out on his ear when I found out) whilst another rich good looking ex of mine had very high morals when it came to fidelity.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

"Abroad they are “cool Japan” personified."

Haha, what? Maybe among weebs.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

sakurala - I think you are lucky. Most of the Otaku I have met in Japan would be dead if it were not for their parent's support. Others are so buried in their fantacy worlds that they cannot communicate with women or even take that first step towards family.

But it is a very real fact that being Otaku is largely a middle class priviledge. As the middle class declines, that soft, safe and secure middle that defines so much of Japan will disappear. The very jobs that are most likely to redundant. And that is where the smart money will be betting on those who are good with people, good with ideas, engaged and connected to the real world and able to deal with it on any terms.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Whatever....

Before it was middle-aged - older men because of some wabisabi bs, now it's otakus because they're average...? I'll take this with a grain of salt, or should I say, a drop of shouyu?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

so if he takes his love pillow with his favourite character together , is it then a Menage a Trois?

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Nerds are nerds, Japanese nerds are amazingly nerdy

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I just love the whole anime/manga centred, manufactured " cool Japan " label- the only ones who think its "cool" is Japanese media and a bunch of overseas otaku.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

I just love the whole anime/manga centred, manufactured " cool Japan " label- the only ones who think its "cool" is Japanese media and a bunch of overseas otaku.

I second that. I'm completely lost on how grown adults reading comics and watching cartoons can be considered "cool".

In instead are “the three heis.” The character “hei” means average, mediocre, ordinary. The three heis are ordinary appearance, average income, and mediocre lifestyle.

Wow. This country is FILLED with people like that!

Why are women, otaku and non-, lately reversing themselves on the desirability of otaku men as marriage partners? It all boils down, according to experts Shukan Asahi consults, to a shift in women’s aspirations.

Yeah, and their aspirations will shift again if they marry them and have to spend long periods of time with a geeky manchild. Then the title of another article will be:

"'Otaku' men find themselves divorced because they're creepy and childish"

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

A tabloid article telling us the world is in fact, upside down. How original!

Nothing like some good old invented controversy to get the blood pumping! Or you could smack your head against the wall.

Otaku are not popular among women any more than nerds became popular after the "Revenge of the Nerds" movies hit theatres. Its a dream. Or for some, a nightmare. Fortunately all you must do is wake up to escape.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The laws of attraction have never changed and will never change. That's because they are founded solely on biological reasons. Anyone who tries to come up with theories that suddenly, formerly undesirable partners are now for some reason desirable, is trying to sell something.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

...that doesn't mean that some woman aren't able to delude themselves into thinking that now, after a failure with a "real" man, they now prefer an "Otaku" man. But sooner or later (for some, decades later), the sobering realization will come that they can't go against what has been imprinted in their genes since millions of years, and they will ditch their Otaku man for either nothing, or a powerful alpha man. I'm glad to be one of the latter.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

It makes me laugh how so many on this site make themselves feel better by pretending to be better than others. Hmm let's count the posters above me, shall we?

herefornowm, yep. JapanGal, I'll give her the benefit. tkoind2 as usual. Jonathan Hunt, definitely. marcelito, yes. Probie, no doubt about it. valued customer, oh yeah!

Thanks for making yourselves feel better, folks. I'm sure Otakus don't care a bit about what you think.

I'm guessing you're a fan of cartoons and comics.

Thanks for making yourselves feel better, folks. I'm sure Otakus don't care a bit about what you think.

So what. You ever heard of this crazy thing called an "opinion"? And for the record, I don't care about what any manchild thinks either.

I think the main point of this article is that women are getting so desperate because men who have lives in 3D aren't interested in them, so they're banking on geeks liking them. I'm not sure which are the losers...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The thing is, I wasn't making fun of nerds. I was making fun of whoever wrote the article for the claim that Japanese nerds are the pinnacle of "Japan cool". People can do whatever they want to do in their free time, it makes no difference to me. I will say, however, that those who spend all day watching cartoons are nore socially inept than those who spend all day watching sports. Too much focus on one topic does that to you.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

How did noone else notice the embarrassing math attempt in this article?

"30 applicants... five couples have formed... That’s more than half!" No that's not; 5 x 2 = 10. That's one third.

"and better by far than the 30% rate typical of non-otaku konkatsu events." No that's not, it's only 3.33% better at a success rate of 33.33%.

-_-

0 ( +3 / -3 )

HansNFranz, I'm glad that's the case. It would be such a shame if anything like random genetic mutations or fluxes in psychology altered these iron-cast laws of attraction, but clearly those don't happen because all the flawed people have died out, right?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

jumpultimatestars, did you miss the "another" sandwiched between the two sentences you are quoting or just ignore it?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

That's logical as the women have otaku hobbies themselves, they want a guy that lives on the same pace. That's not about mediocrity. If you're an outdoor person, you usually want to live with someone like you.

I sent off the word Otaku to my family and friends. Not one person knew the word, and they are worldly and educated.

Maybe mine must be uneducated. If I say otaku, they say : "yourself !". My grand-dad knows the word as he knows all the words that were added to the dictionary. He says "If I was 80 yrs younger, I'd have an otaku blog..." . Himself is a book worm, history buff, now full time.

I second that. I'm completely lost on how grown adults reading comics and watching cartoons can be considered "cool".

I don't in what that's less cool than grown ups watching others playing with basic games or still playing past the age of primary school (hockey on your pic Probie ? are you a "gamer" ? That's like an otaku in more smelly, no ? The worst husbands possible are found among those into sports. In comparison, the guy into comics, anime, plastic models, etc, is a dream as his hobby is portable, totally adaptable to schedule and family life and he is less likely to have a gang of buddies from hell that take him to all kinds of orgies.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Otaku men may be unimposing and unthreatening – but does their immersion in virtual and cartoon worlds leave them time and energy for husband- and fatherhood? It’s a point and a concern, women concede. Hardcore otaku might not fit the bill. “Otaku light” is what they hope for.

Al was fine till the last paragraph. "Otaku light?" WTF is that? Horses for courses, I suppose. It seems fitting that otaku women date otaku men cos, let's face it, nobody else will. Then they can have little otaku kids and be one big happy manga family with the same agoraphobia as their parents.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Isnt it that they are big saps so therfore easier for the japanese female to extract money from and they wont be pestered for any carnal action...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Right, so let me get this straight... anyone who has an interest in hobbies is now classed as a manchild? Does that include guys who live and breathe soccer (football for our yank pals), rugby, other sports? Or is the derision only aimed at guys who enjoy 'nerdy' pursuits?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Everyone making fun of the "cool japan" part well yes they are absolutely right! The majority of people visiting and moving to Japan are at some level an Otaku. Almost all of the non japanese I know love anime, manga, or games or all of them. They may not all be at a severe otaku level but many of them are at a light otaku level including myself. If it weren't for my interest in anime and manga I probably never would have come to japan and I probably never would have met my loving husband.

Sure there are people in Japan not interested in the Otaku world but that doesn't mean a vast majority of the world interested in Japan aren't interested in the otaku world as well. I would say out of 10 of my foreign friends in Japan only 2 of them have no anime interest at all they were travel freaks and found they liked living here and ended up staying.

Why are any of you in Japan to begin with? didn't something bring you here? doesn't everyone have their own hobby and interest that brought them here? if it's not manga or anime perhaps it is japanese people, culture, history? Are you all not otaku of something as well? Music, Photography, Travel, History, Art, Sports,Video Games, Computers,Writing? Such a shame people would say such nasty things towards someone who has a different hobby than others.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

jumpultimatestars your maths is fine but you didn't read the question...

It's a group of nine men and nine women, regardless of the 30 applicants per place. Five couples means 5/9, not 33.33%.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's a group of nine men and nine women, regardless of the 30 applicants per place. Five couples means 5/9, not 33.33%.

The article could have been a bit clearer on the point, but yeah. It was five couples out of 18 people - or 56%

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I was in a discussion about nihongo (I take classes at the local community college) and somebody mentioned to me last night that he doesn't use nihongo any more because he thinks it makes him seem too "weeboo". I'm familiar with the term, but honestly don't understand the problem. I guess that's because a.) I've never wanted to BECOME Japanese, and b.) I don't really care what people would call me behind my back. So terms like "otaku" and "weeboo" don't have the embarassing negative connotations for me. Plus, I never have, nor ever plan to, own an anime figurine. Isn't that the true demarcation line for being an otaku? ;-)

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Probie,

I'm guessing you're a fan of cartoons and comics

Nope, not interested.

So what. You ever heard of this crazy thing called an "opinion"?

Yes. Have you ever heard the saying, "silence is golden?" Or better yet, "opinions are like... everyone's got one."

The real point is this: why do you care if some "manchild," as you say, has a love life? If the couple is happy, I'd say that's a good thing, not a problem. It seems you've got your priorities mixed up. Coolness over happiness?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think the main point of this article is that women are getting so desperate because men who have lives in 3D aren't interested in them, so they're banking on geeks liking them. I'm not sure which are the losers...

Except I remember an article right here in JT a year or so ago that stated that women in Japan were forgoing the whole "relationship thing" and instead concentrating on their careers. So that seems to contradict your "desperate" theory. Add to that the broken logic of guessing that a woman would try date a person who prefers 2D over 3D because men who prefer 3D women aren't interested in them. If they couldn't interest a non-otaku, what are the odds they'll interest an otaku - who generally deals with fantasy worlds where every girl trips and falls, showing their panties? Who could POSSIBLY compete with that?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

JapanGal I sent off the word Otaku to my family and friends. Not one person knew the word, and they are worldly and educated.

Sorry J-Gal, but if they didn't know the word otaku, they weren't worldly or educated, they were merely average.

As popular as anime, manga and gadgets might become, they're not yet mainstream.

That's the problem with niches. They're niches.

Being an otaku is a niche. So is being a teacher. So is being a member of the police force.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I use to do what I thought were the manly man things to do...go out drink get into fights from time to time. Yet as I got older I realized that is not what makes a man..though some women are drawn to those types. Just because someone stays at home with his wife does not make him less of a man, As for myself I have embraced my nerdy side....if someone saw my bedroom (I'm single now) they would say you have action figures, you tard. I would have to say...No..No those are collectables. Hell I watch more anime than I do anything else & I play games for hours on end. I have hair down to the middle of my back...tattoos...I listen to hardcore music..Mnemic-Fear Factory-Chimaria-Threat Signal...etc.

I do not know...by others standards..Am I an Otaku?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

@Charles:

As popular as anime, manga and gadgets might become, they're not yet mainstream.

I think the point JapanGal is trying to make is that the article claims they ARE mainstream.

Being an otaku is a niche. So is being a teacher. So is being a member of the police force

And yet I can pretty much guarantee that if you sent the word "teacher" or even "sensei" to an educated group overseas, they WOULD have heard of it.

Yes. Have you ever heard the saying, "silence is golden?" Or better yet, "opinions are like... everyone's got one."

And imagine how boring these news threads would become if everyone stuck to that!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is cool nowadays to be interested in the same sex. That will earn you the praise of the JT commenters for just "being who you are". But to be interested in a hobby and still have a normal, healthy family life? That will earn you the wrath of the JT commenters.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

umm this is SAD! LOL omg what?! xD please control your video game and anime watching and hang out in the real world lol

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Isnt it that they are big saps so therfore easier for the japanese female to extract money from and they wont be pestered for any carnal action...

That pretty much sums it up.

The meek and demure Japanese women built Japan by flogging their men hard into the salaryman mould. A nest-slave whose only purpose was to bring home a paycheck, and begone from homelife.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I came to Japan not for anime or manga or any of that I came to Japan for a better life. But 80% of foreigners (non Asians ) came from some otaku creepy taste.(

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

But 80% of foreigners (non Asians ) came from some otaku creepy taste.

I've met people who came here for their jobs, people who came to learn the language, people who came to have a good time, people who came out of curiosity.... never met anyone who came from some creepy otaku taste.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Ditto Cleo. I think out of every 30 people I know, I can name maybe 1 who came here for love of the anime, manga or lolicon stuff. Having no interest in that stuff myself, I would guess it depends what circles you move in.

I know a lot of people who came here for work and stayed, a few who came to learn the language, a smattering for martial arts and a lot of the guys came for the girls! There are as many reasons for coming here as there are individuals who come.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I have yet to meet anyone who is interested in otaku. The otaku guys I've seen with girls have girls I imagine them to be with. Otaku girls. I don't think there is a sudden shift to this. Nothing wrong with dating an otaku if that is your cup of tea. Thing is, I don't think many prefer this cup of tea.

There is going to be an issue in the next 10-25 years when these "three high" women hit a certain age and mommy and daddy aren't around anymore to support them in terms of a place to live, food to eat... Guys will be fine. They make a decent wage. Most women in Japan don't. These choosey women who think they deserve the sun, moon, stars and don't contribute much are going to be in for a nasty surprise and I think the otaku are going to be sitting back and laughing - surrounded by their games, pillows and creepy DVDs.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I live with an otaku and from time to time immersed in that world.

It seems to me a friendlier place than the wider one....

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Maybe there are just more female otaku around then there used to be. I've seen some celebrities on television profess an interest in anime and other otaku type things. It's just getting more mainstream.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Actually, I think the reason for the change in trend (otaku men being able to find partners) is simply because there are now more 'otaku women'.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I had never heard the term "Otaku"before reading this article, and I still don't know its meaning. However, since I am told that people outside Japan are familiar with it, I'm going to look it up as soon as I leave (I'm 74 and spent several happy years in Japan, but I guess I need to do a little "catching up"). By the way, I hope that "boy's love" doesn't refer to the kind of "love" that is causing marriage laws to be changed in some places.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Whatever their hobbies are, I hope they'll start adding to the population!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Another key: blood type O people are happier with blood type A people.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

'Otakuness' is essential nowadays what with everyone carrying a smartphone or tablet. So this trend does not surprise one bit. Even non-carrying gadgets left at home needs to be understood before and during use, such as internet-capable LED TVs etc. In the past such dating events are themed towards certain things like food or interest of the young and so on.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I did not bother to read the other comments...but what this says about Japanese women is pretty sad. Are Japanese women such losers that they still only think about the money? I think it will be funny in the distant future when people look back wondering why the pace at which Japan's population disappears increased. Author (broad and generous use of the word), if you think that people around the world think that otaku are cool, then you should take your right hand (or your left, if the right is busy), reach behind your head, grab yourself by the hair and yank your head out of the toilet bowl. People in the west do not think Japanese otaku are cool. Some western losers use Japanese otaku as a model for their own sorry-ass, living-in-mom-and-dad's -basement-cuz-they-can'-get-a-job lifestyle. Most people laugh at these people.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I watch Simpson and Futrama reruns when I'm drunk and bored. Do I qualify?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Thunderbird2

no not manchild, Hooligan maybe :p

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I had never heard the term "Otaku"before reading this article, and I still don't know its meaning.

Literal translation: a "fan" of something

Commonly used translation: a fan of a manga or (more usually) anime character that extends into owning figurines, posters, pillows printed with the character's image, "omake" DVD's, and even "cosplay" (dressing up in a costume worn by the anime character). This type of fanaticism can even extend to a preference for "2D" (i.e. printed) girls/guys over "3D" (i.e. real flesh and blood) girls/guys. Thus the stereotype that otakus were "forever alone" in their own fantasy world. As is the case with all stereotypes, however, it doesn't hold true for everyone in the catagory. The ongoing debate seems to be, "At what point of fandom do you go from being just a fan, to becoming an otaku? If you ask ten different people that question, you'll probably get ten different answers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A new low for Japan society.

A rather prefer "otakus" than "guantanamos".

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

There are lots of different types of Otaku. Anime Otaku, Manga Otaku, and Figurine Otaku... But also Computer Otaku, Tech Otaku, Music Otaku. In the US, for instance, there are a lot of Gun Otaku.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

For those who never heard the term: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otaku

The rise of the otaku is new, a similar article was out a few years ago. The term basically derives for a home body; some who doesn't leave the house since gamers and anime fans tended to mostly stay home in their rooms.

Don't forget that Anime, short for animation, generates billions for Japan. This also generated interest in Manga. Games a different industry but the players tend have similar behavior.

Probably the show/film Densha Otoko shows the rise of the Otaku in social status.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Geek chic! It's all the rage these days! Look it up, haha!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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