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Exploring the Otaku Culture

A Japanese Subculture

By Otaku WriterPublished 6 years ago 5 min read

Japan is the dream land of every otaku in the planet. Especially, places like Akihabara and Nakano Broadway can be called as the holy land of otakus. Ever since anime revolutionized the entertainment industry, otaku culture has become more and more popular, and Japan has become a gathering place, a hub for otakus from all over the world.

So, what does the term "otaku" mean?

OK, this word has several meanings. If you google it, it will say: "(in Japan) a young person who is obsessed with computers or particular aspects of popular culture to the detriment of their social skills." But originally, the word otaku was derived from a Japanese word which means "another house" or "another family." In modern Japan it means a fanatic who is a know-it-all in specific topics such as anime, manga, video games, etc. Internationally, the term is used to describe anime fans and gamers. So, its definition totally depends on who's defining it.

What does this otaku culture have to offer?

An Otaku store

Anime conventions, otaku stores, maid cafe, cosplay, manga (Japanese comics), and of course, anime, visual novels (novel games), and hentai (anime porn) are the central attractions in this Japanese subculture.

It also has its influence in music. A totally new genre of music called as "nightcore music" was born, which is just a sped-up version of the original music with the anime characters in the background of the music video, and it is mostly liked by, obviously, the otakus and the kids and teenagers of this generation.

Another key impact of the otaku culture in the music industry, is the blooming of "Vocaloids."


Hatsune Miku concert

Vocaloid is a voice synthesizer technology developed by Yamaha. It is used to create computer generated songs. But this project was not attractive enough in the beginning. So, they decided to give their virtual singer a human form, or more specifically, the form of an anime character. This idea made the vocaloid project an explosive success. What's more, they made their vocaloid characters and released them for the public to use (of course, we still have to pay for it), so that everyone can access them, and not just certain organization.

All we have to do is input the lyrics and the melody, and that's it. The AI will sing for you. There are several vocaloid characters, but the most popular singer among them is "Hatsune Miku." She even has her own concerts where she will be projected as a hologram. She also has a lot of fan followings and is featured in over 1,316 songs. She has even managed to become one of the most famous J-pop stars, although she is just a hologram.

Maid Cafe:

Maid cafe

If there is something, that excites an otaku fanboy, it is a maid cafe. Maid cafes are known for their beautiful maids, and their supposedly cute gestures. In Akihabara, there are many thematic maid cafes where girls in maid costumes cater to customers as though they were masters. Maid cafes have become so popular through several references in various anime and manga (Japanese comic). In some cafes, the maids sing and dance along with their customers to entertain them, which is kind of bizarre and weird for non-otakus because we all know that it isn't how a cafe is supposed to be, but for some reasons it is popular with the otakus.

Here's how a normal, non-otaku kind of person describes a maid cafe: "It's not a restaurant, although you can get food. It's not a bar, although you can buy a stiff drink—and you'll need one. It's not a theatre, although there are performances. And it's not a fetish den, although the appeal is vaguely sexual."


A crossdresser

What do you do when you love a movie character so much? You start acting like them, right? It's the same thing here, but they take it to the next level and change their attire to that of their favorite anime character. This is yet another form of fun for the otakus. They dress like their favorite anime characters and participate in photo shoots and anime conventions. This is pretty normal to what I'm about say next.

A lot of people in Akihabara are cross-dressers. Yes, males dress as a female and work in maid cafes, etc. These cross-dressers are also known as "traps." This is yet another thing that was made popular by anime, and manga, because it is natural in anime for a boy to look like a girl, and for a boy to look like a boy. This cross-dressing is just another form of cosplay.

Otaku Coin:

Otaku coin

Otaku Coin is a new form of cryptocurrency that is specially meant for the otakus. It is something similar to bit coins, which is being planned to be launched this summer. It has not yet been confirmed, but the idea is being processed as of now. This idea is backed by Tokyo Otaku Mode which is quiet a popular company on social media. Moreover, Tokyo Otaku Mode delivers original merchandise to over 130 countries worldwide, so there is a huge possibility for this idea to pan out successfully. This idea is also being supported by the rising star of YouTube and a virtual YouTuber, AI-chan and other popular anime fanatics.

The main theme of Otaku Coin is to be able to directly connect the creators and the fan. With Otaku Coins, fans will be able to directly support their favorite creators by donating, or indirectly supporting them by buying their anime merchandise using the Otaku Coins. But, unlike Bitcoins, Otaku Coins do not have any value outside the otaku culture. It cannot be converted into any other form of currencies. That is the only downside to this revolutionary idea.

So, how do we earn them?

Earning Otaku Coins is pretty simple. All we have to do is watch the anime, share the content, and review the content. We can literally earn them by doing the thing we love the most. It's simple as that.

The very fact that such idea is being considered shows how much influence the otaku culture has. It initially originated in Japan, and then spread all over the world, and now it stands before us trying to get its own form of currency. It is also because of this culture, anime industry has become a billion dollar industry. As far as I know, this is the only culture that has influence over such wide range of things from comic to music, cafes to cryptocurrency, and all this in just a matter of couple of decades. Maybe as the meme goes, otakus might take over the world some day, instead of AIs and robots. Who knows?

pop culture

About the Creator

Otaku Writer

Hiya! Am a 20 year old anime enthusiast, who writes stuff about anime and Otaku culture~




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