Otaku Culture


Nerd culture is an interesting phenomenon, one with which I cannot speak about with a great deal of authority, considering I have only been alive for the post-popularization of it. I consider myself a nerd, but that really doesn’t mean that much anymore. I like comic books, Dungeons and Dragons, and video games, but so do millions, if not billions of others these days. One can no longer go twenty-four hours without seeing a Marvel t-shirt or making some sort of obscure reference to a TV show that only you have seen. The word ‘nerd’ really no longer is enough to cover what has become so mainstream, so I went looking for another. The most appropriate word that I found was the word ‘Otaku’ which refers to, in a general sense, obsessive interest in one particular thing. There are lots of great articles about this word, but the most entertaining by far was written by Patton Oswald and titled, ‘Wake up Geek Culture, Time to Die.’.

In this article, Patton Oswald reflects back onto his own life and what kind of things influenced him and made him into the person he eventually became. He recognizes that at first there was a clear, hard line between ‘nerds’ and ‘normals’, but as time went on what used to be buried under a threatening layer of ostricization became happy and welcoming to everybody, and therefore open to the market. Now Otaku culture is everywhere, and something special has been lost about it. There’s no longer anything special about wearing a Green Lantern tee or a Minecraft Bracelet, because everyone knows about it. For more, read Patton’s article here: http://www.wired.com/2010/12/ff_angrynerd_geekculture/all/1

Or watch:




One thought on “Otaku Culture

  1. You have a solid point on the adaptation of the ‘nerd lifestyle’ in many modern cultures; ‘nerd’ has fallen out of its older meanings and adapted a much more popular and socially accepted definition. However, I would assume, the way the term nerd, as well as otaku, are used depends culturally as well. From observation and topical research, one can find that ‘otakus’ are defined the way you have noted more often in Asian cultures and by those who take part or enjoy that lifestyle. Outside of those groups, the term is often used to describe a more general amount of people. Would you determine from that ‘otaku’ is converting to adapt a more popular meaning or that we are not looking at enough groups for either word and taking the outspoken public as the deciding opinion? Either way, do you think it possible for the original nerd culture to gain back its term, or will they be disbanded into other cultures?

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