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The Otaku Encyclopedia

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Are you an otaku? Do you have otaku friends you can't relate to? Then let "The Otaku Encyclopedia" expand your knowledge of the fascinating subculture of Cool Japan. This definitive guide introduces the world of Japan's anime nerds, game geeks, and pop-idol fanboys, with over 600 terms that any fan of Japanese pop culture simply must know. Moe, doujinshi, cosplay, and most importantly otaku itself, are clearly explained in a fun yet informative way by a self-confessed otaku who has spent years researching the otaku heartland.

Scattered among the encyclopedic entries are interviews with key otaku like artist Takashi Murakami, otaku expert Okada Toshio, J-pop idol Shoko Nakagawa, and many others entrenched in the world of maid cafes, street-idols, and figure collecting. An essential A-to-Z of otaku culture not to be missed.

Otaku: Nerd; geek, or fanboy. Originates from a polite second-person pronoun meaning "your home" in Japanese. Since the 1980s, it's been used to refer to people who are really into Japanese pop culture, such as anime, manga, and video games. A whole generation of people, previously marginalized with labels such as "geek" and "nerd" are now calling themselves "otaku" with pride.

The author, Patrick W Galbraith, is a journalist based in Tokyo. He specializes in Japanese popular culture and writes regular columns for Metropolis magazine, and the Otaku2.com website. He is a Ph.D. candidate researching otaku at the University of Tokyo, and is a familiar face in Akihabara, where he gives regular tours of the otaku capital dressed as Goku from Dragon Ball. His writing has also appeared in Akiba Today and Akibanana, and he has academic articles upcoming in Signs, Positions, Mechademia and the Journal of Japanese Studies.

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"Cool Japan" subculture? Since when are things Otaku considered "cool" in Japan?

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Pitiful. In terms of both subject matter and quality of reporting.

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Next we will see Otaku being cute as well, I guess. LOL

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Stop the hate! Definitely a must buy and my birthday is just around the corner. A great coffee table book. lol

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Compaired to Japanese Otaku's foreigners have no idea the level of nerdem in Japan. I've seen Japanese otaku's not able to talk to other people or carry around a picture of an anime character in their pocket so they can talk to it. Nerd to Otaku is not a good translation.

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he gives regular tours of the otaku capital dressed as Goku from Dragon Ball

oh, that nerd

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This was written by that white guy that goes everywhere in a poorly-made Dragon Ball costume. You know the guy. He shows up in random photos all the time. I'm always like, "Oh. It's that guy. If he's going to wear that thing EVERYWHERE why not get a better quality one?"

Consider the source.

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To each their own, I suppose but he is a Ph.D. candidate researching otaku at the University of Tokyo, really? So sometime in the near future there will be someone that is actually able to say I have a Ph. D. in Otaku, yikes.

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He's more likely to be working on a Ph.D. in Sociology with his thesis on the social strata that make up Japan's otaku culture. I won't say the book is useless as I've read online discussions regarding what, exactly, "moe" really means. Some of those got pretty heated so there appears to be a need for a base of reference. The only bad thing about a book covering pop culture is that said culture is never static and by the time the book is published, some (if not all) of the book is already out of date.

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There are Nerds in the West who are just as introverted. In particular ones that have Asperger syndrome. Then again, there are a lot of Otaku who aren't introverted at all.

Say what you will about them, but they make up a multi-billion dollar market group world wide.

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there are those and these and also the others... there are some real geeks that have lost it and can't return to reallife and there are those like me who consider themself as otaku because they just like anime manga and stuff but still have work and reallife realations.

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there is a name and category for everybody. What difference does this one make? Everybody's just doing the best they can with what they've got....just trying to get by in this madhouse of a world that grows bigger daily. There is no rulebook or instruction manual so go with your gut and do what you want: Otaku DragonballZ coustumes included. I hope i spelled that correctly because I have no idea what that is aside from the images splashed all over the childrens lunchboxes and pencil cases.

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WHY in God's name would anyone WANT to have an otaku friend?

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motytrah at 05:49 AM JST - 26th June There are Nerds in the West who are just as introverted. In particular ones that have Asperger syndrome. Then again, there are a lot of Otaku who aren't introverted at all. Say what you will about them, but they make up a multi-billion dollar market group world wide.

So do pedophiles, sooooo... your point?

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Otaku and Nerds never get any respect even when what they are interested in a multi-billion dollar industry. Otaku-ism is a chief export from Japan to the rest of the world. As an example, Anime Expo during the 4th of July weekend in LA will take up the whole LA Convention Center from July 2nd through the 5th. There are smaller convention in every US State, Canada, UK, Germany, France, etc. It's also a huge illegal industry especially in China. Illegal in the sense that they don't respect intellectual property rights. 50 years ago the nerds created the information revolution. The last 20 years has seen the invasion of the Otaku, not sure what this will evolve into as yet. But the Otaku subculture of Japan has been influencing the college age generation of the world for the last 20 years or so. There has got to be an effect especially when almost every college has an Anime Club. It not just a Japanese subculture anymore.

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Otaku subculture of Japan has been influencing the college age generation of the world for the last 20 years or so. There has got to be an effect especially when almost every college has an Anime Club. It not just a Japanese subculture anymore.

You do realize that Otaku is not a Japanicized synonym for nerd or geek, right? You also realize that Otaku doesn't mean "Someone who like watching Japanese cartoons and reading Japanese comics," right?

It's a totally different beast, and not at all like relatively well adjusted anime geeks in the US.

The geeks are the engine behind the information revolution, sure, but the Otaku are the no-lifers who sit at home afraid to talk to other humans, make friends with inflatable toys and read animated kiddy porn. Not exactly the engine of a future revolution.

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There is the culture and then there is the subculture. What you are ascribing to the Otaku can be asociated to the average Japanese Business Man. After all Japan is way past "inflatable" but those "friends" cost in the order of $6-7K. The average Otaku may wish for these friends but hardly likely to afford one. The Otaku in have always gotten a bad rap in Japan more than any place else simply because in Japan;"if a nail stand up, bash it down with a hammer" social convention. A social revolution is different from a technology revolution and more akin to the French Revolution or soviet marxist revolution. Neither had positive social results and you mostly see "average" Japanese in the crime column than an Otaku. So what does a non interactive, non active social revolution bring forth? And it is a multibillion dollar worldwide enterprise that has evolved out of that social revolution. Anyway I think you have a narrower impression that what is out there since cosplay and street performances are part of this subculture.

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And it is a multibillion dollar worldwide enterprise that has evolved out of that social revolution.

The multi-billion worldwide enterprise you speak of is the cartoons and comic books. These are normal things. "Otaku" doesn't refer to people people who are into these things because many 'regular' people are.

Japan's more individualistic than you think, too. I'd suggest a visit to see for yourself. There are street performances of music in many places; just not normally of some dude in a Saint Seiya costume.

I do have quite a broad view of what is 'out there' for geeky pursuits as I am a geek by any standard Western definition (and most certainly a Japanese definition, but by no means am I an Otaku because, well, I have a life outside the home.)

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Unfortunately, the blossoming of a subculture into a recognised steretype doesn't always help its members very much. Japanese might use the word otaku, but as far as I've heard it used amongst kids, it's a fairly derogative word. It brings to mind images of anti-social types who are 'KY' and can't quite guage social settings and their rules. And deciding to embrace the labels and proclaim oneself a proud otaku is probably something you only see after kids escape the cauldron of vicious rumour and oneupmanship that is school.

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IvanGoughalot: Both the JT review and Galbraith's book are about 100 times more interesting than your message.

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