Since the mid-1980s, anime and manga have taken the world by storm, forming tremendous overseas markets and cult followings that border obsession. Interestingly enough, the word ‘otaku’ (that means something similar to the word ‘nerd’ or ‘geek’) has become a modern colloquialism of a distinct devotion to anime, manga, and Japanese culture. While this form of Japanese media has existed for over a century, it has lately spread throughout the world.
"OTAKU" culture in Japan
During the early 1900s, Japan marveled at American animation and cartoons. Japanese animation pioneers sought to bring this innovation to Japan but faced obstruction from super high costs and a lack of experience in the animation field. Today in Japan, anime and manga have become a phenomenon and everyone else is on the outside looking in. What else can be expected from the country where anime and manga is rooted?
All over Japan, there are many statues and landmarks that commemorate famous anime titles, manga, and their creators. Many stores in these areas sell merchandise catered to otaku all over the world. The otaku culture in Japan is so great that these stores make huge profits, often overshadowing the merchandisesales of similar cult followings.
The 12 Types of Japanese Otaku
1. Anime / Manga Otaku
Virtually everyone in Japan has read manga or watched anime at some point. However, some people are obsessed with it.
2. Cosplay OtakuCosplay Otaku are into wearing costumes and role playing. In many cases cosplay otaku are highly social and gain friends through cosplay activities. They may spend large amounts of money attending events and buying costumes. In many cases, they learn to make their own costumes (sewing etc..).
3. Game OtakuGame Otaku spend much of their time playing games. They usually establish social connections in virtual worlds with people they may never physically meet.
4. Idol & J-Pop Otaku (Wota ヲタ)A Wota is obsessed with female or male idols (often J-Pop idols). For example, the- J-Pop group AKB48 has a musical theatre in Akihabara in which they perform nightly. Wota collect idol magazines and posters and often seek to meet or photograph idols in person.
5. Figure otaku (Figure moe zoku フィギュア萌え族)Figure Moe Zoku can be translated as "figurine lover gang". It's a term for collectors of Anime / Manga figures. These figures are often highly realistic.
6. Train Otaku (Tetsudou Otaku 鉄道オタク)
There are plenty of trains in Japan. Tetsudou Otaku are obsessed with photographing trains and/or riding trains. They may also be interested in train uniforms and model trains.
7. Robot Otaku
Japan invests far more than any other country in robot research. Many Japanese robots are frighteningly advanced.
Robot Otaku are interested in popular culture related to robots. They may also take interest in robot research. In extreme cases, they're involved in building robots (as a hobby). There's a shop in Akihabara that sells nothing but robot parts.
8. Pasocon OtakuPasocon Otaku are obsessed with computer technology. They study hardware and software specifications in detail. They enjoy discussing the latest devices. They may spend large amounts of time configuring and customizing software. In some cases, they become experts at computer programming or network security.
9. WapaneseWapanese comes from the English "Want to be Japanese". They are non-Japanese people who have a obsessive interest in multiple aspects of Japanese culture. They may develop an incredibly positive view of Japan that's somewhat unrealistic. Some become skilled at Japanese language and/or martial arts.
10. Female History Otaku (Reki-jo 歴女)Reki-jo are female history buffs. They're interested in pre-industrial Japanese history. They view this period as an ideal age of innocence and adventure. Reki-jo often form social groups that gather to dress in period costumes. They may adapt the speech and mannerisms of old Japan.
11. Voice Actress Otaku (Seiyuu Otaku 声優オタク)
One of the many sub-types of Anime Otaku. Seiyuu Otaku are obsessed with the voice actors and actresses from Anime productions.