Japan Today

Differences between men and women otaku

By Karen Masuda

Since the late 1970s, the Japanese word otaku has gradually spread to become known the world over. The term generally refers to a person so obsessed with their hobby — usually anime, manga, or video games—that it adversely affects their health and/or social skills, though it carries different connotations in different parts of the world.

Among those outside of Japan who are well-versed in otaku culture, there are many who proudly admit to being otaku themselves; like a cooler spin on the Japanese otaku, shipped abroad.

On the other hand, the word caries a more sad, perverse tone here in Japan, something that lends itself to the image of a “creepy geeky guy”, with “guy” being the key word. While there are no comparative figures on gender ratios, you could probably say overseas otaku women are much more forthcoming about their self-imposed label than their Japanese counterparts.

But the female Japanese otaku does exist. There are Japanese women who forsake sleep and, with bloodshot eyes, play erotic PC games deep into the night, oblivious to their own deteriorating health. In fact, there might even be more women otaku than men—maybe they’re just better at hiding it.

Numbers aside, what are some of the behavioral differences between Japanese otaku of different sexes? Is there any discrepancy between how deeply a male and female can obsess over anime, manga, or video games?

Wakako Takou over at Excite! Japan spoke with an otaku merchandise industry representative to tackle these questions.

According to the representative, “It is not so much a matter of if there are more otaku males or females, or which of the two is more deeply involved in otaku culture; the difference is in the ‘quality’ of their obsession. For instance, a guy will spend over 9,000 yen on a cute anime girl hug pillow because they prefer expensive, high-quality material. If the same kind of pillow is made from a cheaper polyester material, it won’t sell.”

Otaku girls, on the other hand, aren’t particular about expensive items (and are probably less interested in fornicating with pillows). “Women are realists,” says our insider, “the most they will spend is 3,000 to 4,000 yen on something like CDs. 300 yen clear plastic folders with characters on them are best-sellers. Female otaku like to buy a number of small things at once.”

Women seem to be more frugal in their obsession. Does that mean men pay more attention to quality? “I think that when it comes to being otaku, men are more emotional and simply are more picky about what they want.“

There are other notable differences in men and women otaku. “Women tend to branch out from their original object of obsession, showing interest in other things related to it, whereas men have a tendency to be more narrow in what they fancy.”

There is also a difference in the way men and women view the voices behind their favorite anime characters. “If a guy likes a character and feels it doesn’t have a suitable dubber, to a certain extent, it doesn’t affect how much he likes her. But for female otakus, feelings toward the voice actor and the character are one and the same, and therefore it is very important that they match perfectly.”

Additionally, males tend to love their characters exclusively. Factors other than that character’s appearance or personality don’t really come into play. For females, character relationships, background, and the overall story-line in which the character is involved in all play a part in her feelings for the character.

“Women mostly like to sit back and watch over the relationships taking place, not placing themselves in the picture. Men, on the other hand, are much more possessive of their favorite character” Another key difference, he adds, is that “a number of otaku women fixate on women characters too. In this case, they are like men in that they tend to like that character exclusively and will purchase expensive items like the men do.”

The rep wrapped it up by saying, “The boom of otaku culture, when maid cafes could be found on every corner, has passed. The otaku sub-culture now seems to have cooled down. There may be a difference in the way men and women are otaku, but I would say that as long as there is the passion to love anime, manga, and video games, in whatever way, otaku culture will stay alive and well.”

Source: Excite Bit News

Read more stories on RocketNews24. -- Japan’s Most “Painful” Athletic Meet and Car Festival Brings Hoards of Otaku to Washinomiya -- Find the Geek of Your Dreams at the 10th Otaku Marriage Hunting Masquerade Ball! -- Men with ‘Nerdy’ Hobbies Describe Their Ideal Marriage Partner

© RocketNews24

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I am sorry but that overview is quite off the mark in a number of ways. It was a good effort. but sadly lacking in depth or sympathy. It is an interesting topic and I suggest an interested reader who is willing to watch some anime study Genshiken, which in two seasons covers the nature of Female and male Otaku quite a bit. You may also learn quite a bit more if you are wiling to watch Welcome to the NHK, which focuses on a male NEET, but also includes a lot of otaku related issues. It is far from correct to say that women and men differ only in the ways described in this overview, some are characteristics in general and some are not really accurate at any stage of the development of fandom for the general genre of Anime - Manga-games-and related characters from the fantasy realm that has risen up in the past 40 years in Japan. But i am glad to see the subject covered here and welcome the interest it may include.

There is a very interesting two part film series that includes actual interviews with real Otaku, and gives a good overview, it is titled Otaku no Video parts 1 and 2.

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As otaku make up a good portion of the creative forces behind anime and manga, it is only natural that several works of manga and anime on otaku culture have appeared, often as a light-hearted pastiche. Some of the more famous works include:

* Akihabara@DEEP: Page, Box, Akira, Taiko, Daruma, and Izumu are six otaku, each with his/her own troubles, who seek relief through a website called "Yui's Lifeguard." When site owner Yui dies of a mysterious death, the six, who are each experts in their own fields, gather to form "Akihabara@DEEP", a "troubleshooter" group that vows to protect Akihabara and solve the problems of its inhabitants. * Battle Programmer Shirase: This story revolves around a "freelance programmer" named Akira Shirase. He's a very talented, yet mysterious computer programmer. Because of his incredible abilities, he's contacted by several individuals to do all sorts of strange computer-related hacking/security jobs. He's a very quiet guy who lives alone in a small apartment near his niece's house. Akira has a love for AV Idol magazines and semi-outdated computer hardware, and purchases both at shops in Akihabara. He is considered an otaku by many, but praised and accepted because of his programming/hacking skills. * Chaos;Head: Originally a visual novel then anime, it chronicles the life of Takumi Nishijo, who is an anime and game otaku, unknowingly walks into the scene of a gruesome murder on his way home. More mysterious events starts happening afterwards as more gruesome murders occur in the area. Takumi struggles to cope with reality and the delusions he experiences as he tries to avoid getting caught by the perpetrator behind the chain of murders. * Comic Party: Originally a series of dating sims which was then adapted into various anime and manga series, Comic Party follows a rejected art student as he is enthusiastically thrust into the dojinshi scene by a crazed otaku friend. He then creates several of his own dojinshi works while interacting with other artists and dealing with his girlfriend who is at first less than enthusiastic about his new passion. * Densha Otoko: Densha Otoko (???, literally "Train Man") is the allegedly true story of a Japanese geek in his early 20s who saves a beautiful woman ("office lady"), code-named Hermès by the geek in his online chats, from a drunken groper on a train, and then chronicles his subsequent dates with the woman and requests for help on the Japanese mega-BBS 2channel (in the TV series referred to and remodeled into the semi-fictitious "Aladdin Channel"). Mark McLelland regards Densha Otoko as 'rehabilitating' the otaku personality through his cuteness and ineptness in his relationship.[11] * Genshiken: A manga, later adapted into an anime series, which follows a "catch-all" otaku university club and the various activities they undertake. Much of the story is told from the perspectives of two characters: a freshman who grows into his otaku identity; and the "normal" girlfriend of another member, who disapproves of the passions of her attractive otaku boyfriend. * Hot Gimmick: Subaru is an avid fan of Gundam and gets made fun of for being an otaku on a number of occasions by Akane, who later develops a crush on him despite his love for Gundam and reading manga all day. * Inubaka: Introduced in Volume 2, the character Hiroshi Akiba is "a teen idol otaku turned dog otaku." At the beginning of the graphic novel, the interior of his apartment is shown as being covered with posters, cutouts, and miniature figurines of his favorite idols. However, after he purchases Zidaine, his french bulldog, he becomes obsessed with dogs in the same way. * I, Otaku: Struggle in Akihabara: A manga about a closet otaku, and a shop owner trying to get him to come out about his addiction to Anime. * Lucky Star: The main character, Konata Izumi is a very avid fan of anime, manga, gaming and cosplaying. Throughout the show there would be puns or jokes about other anime and other otaku hobbies. Lucky Star also shows a lot about the life of the everyday otaku in Japan. * MegaTokyo: A webcomic by Fred Gallagher featuring an American otaku, Piro, and his friend Largo, along with female characters Erika and Kimiko who are seiyu for Japanese dating sim games. This comic features a cast of many other characters including magical girls and ninjas. * Metal Gear Solid: One of the main characters of the series, Dr. Hal Emmerich, is a self-proclaimed otaku and receives his nickname, Otacon, from the otaku convention Otakon. He created Metal Gear REX because of the giant robots commonly found in anime. * Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu: The main character, Nogizaka Haruka, is an anime and manga otaku, a fact which she tries to keep a secret from the rest of the school. * No More Heroes: A video game by Suda 51 that stars an otaku named Travis Touchdown who wins a beam katana in an online auction and decides to become the highest rank assassin in the United States. * Ore no Imoto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai: The main character, Kirino Kosaka, is a otaku who watches moe anime and plays "little-sister" eroge. She is also an A-grade student, a model and a good athlete. Her brother, Kyosuke Kosaka, is her "life counselor" who keeps people from outside, including their father, from learning Kirino's secret who also gets dragged into Kirino's hobby. * Otaku no Musume-san: The main character Morisaki Kouta who is an otaku living in the residence of Higansou apartment. When suddenly a 9 year-old girl approaches him and claimed to be his daughter. * Otaku no Video: A pair of films that follow a young college student as he is introduced into the world of the otaku by a high school friend and soon spends the next several years trying to become the greatest otaku, the Otaking. The work also serves as a semi-autobiographical account of the formation of Gainax, and is inter-cut with several live-action mock interviews with several different types of otaku. * Sundome: A manga about a club for otaku trying to save their virginities, despite the efforts of two females that have taken an interest in them and their club. * Welcome to the N.H.K.: A novel that was adapted into a manga and later an anime series, Welcome to the NHK! is a black comedy that follows a delusional hikikomori, a girl that wishes to help him, and an otaku neighbor who is also an old high school friend (of convenience). The series lampoons many otaku themes such as lolicon, moe, and dojin soft.

Though there are excesses and some sad events and even crimes have been said to be influenced by Otaku sub culture, in general the intense interest in the subjects brings happiness and helps people cope with an increasingly stressful modern life, both in Japan and abroad.

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I had hoped we could raise the level of discussion as this is an interesting topic, and worthy of some sharing. That item in the overview about the pillows was certainly not one of the finer parts of the presentation and part of the reason I took some time to reply and try to expand the topic a bit more intelligently. But I do admit it was a rather funny note. :)

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Haruko☆Update !

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CrisGerSan, spoken like a true otaku.

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Domo Arigato :)

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...fornicating with pillows...

Some mental images, I could have done without.

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Want to know the biggest difference between make and female otaku, as I've experienced it? Body odor...

Just kidding. I agree with CrisGerSan for the most part. You can't pin down the differences in such a simple way. But I also think a lot of the anime made specifically about otaku-ism are themselves over generalizing and over simplifying things, or inventing character types and presenting them as if they are a real category of otaku.

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Guys don't appear to get bothered by people interrupting their games... I don't know how they do it... I will nerd rage when someone interrupts me and it actually makes it a little dangerous for me to play games for long periods of time because people will try to drag me back to reality.

In case you couldn't tell from what I wrote, I'm a girl.

I don't know a whole lot of women that focus on game mechanics.. so I'm sort of inclined to believe the stereotype that most girls prefer storyline.

I notice that generally: Girls prefer anime Guys prefer video games

at least amoung the geeks here... Few girls play the games but they all enjoy anime.

Guys generally seem uninterested by anime after a while..

There are exceptions, of course! =o Lately I play more games than watch anime.

and some guys I know watch more anime than play video games.

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