‘Otaku’ is a sensitive word?


Scene 1

“ I’m an otaku,”

“Oh my God oh my God oh my God! Don’t you know that otaku is actually an insult in Japan?!”

“Yes but…,”

“And yet you still use this word? You’re a total disgrace to the society! You have no life whatsoever and all you do all day is watch anime,”

“That’s not really true actually…,”

“Get the hell out of here you freaking weaboo!!”


Scene 2

“I’m an otaku,”

“Oh really? You really think you’re an otaku? Do you know who Akane Riko is?”

“Well, since you mentioned it, I guess she’s a voice actress?”

“WRONG!!! She’s a voice actress, a singer and a dancer. She also draws a little bit of manga,”

“Whoa that’s cool!”

“But you don’t know her right? I bet you don’t even know even one character she plays and yet you call yourself an otaku? You’re a total disgrace to all ‘real otaku’ out there’!!”

“Sorry then, I didn’t mean…,”

“Get the hell out of here you false otaku!!”

Of course these scenes are a bit exaggerated and I just made up the name but you get what I mean right? These situations are pretty much the more obvious situations and one of the first things I’ve seen entering the anime culture.


When I wasn’t into anime yet, I knew the word otaku (because it is very popular) and thought it was just a Japanese term for ‘people who are into anime’. But when I started watching some anime and thought I was one of those who are into anime, I didn’t consider myself as an otaku because my understanding about the word had evolved to ‘someone who is really really into anime’ or ‘a hardcore anime fan’ who watches a high amount of anime on a regular basis. I thought I was not really that obsessive to be called an otaku so I refrained myself from identifying myself as one. In other words, I thought I was not good enough to be called that. Yes, I think it is not a horribly negative word. I stick to this definition until today.

After some time I found that there are some people who really hate this word for one reason or another. I divide them into two most common types (for me at least). The first type, scene one, is the one who thinks that ‘otaku’ is a terrible insult. Yes yes, I know otaku is basically an insult in Japan but let me ask you, are we in Japan? The word is an insult in Japan but it is not in everywhere else. The meaning of the word has evolved over time and in this case place and people generally accept it as not an insult. I believe we should follow the local and general understanding of the word instead of the original meaning. However, this is not really the main issue here. The issue here is to them, whoever identify themselves as otaku is automatically a weaboo because they don’t have a single clue about the ‘real meaning’ of the word.  I find it very annoying when someone forces me to acknowledge the real meaning of the word and automatically labels me as a weaboo everytime I use the word. I mean, if you really believe that the word as an insult, then so be it. Don’t label people as a weaboo just because they use the word damn it!

Think of the word otaku as the word anime. The meaning of the word anime too has evolved. The ‘original’ meaning is well, cartoon. To the Japanese, every single cartoon in the universe is anime. That’s the original meaning. But do we see Tom and Jerry as an anime? Do we see Danny phantom as an anime? Do we see Adventure Time as an anime? No we don’t (if you do that means you’re a Japanese…simple). We see them as cartoons. Anime to us who are not living in Japan means Japanese cartoons or cartoons that have the art style of an anime. Choose either, I choose the former.

I am an otaku and I'm proud of it

The second type, scene two, is the one who thinks they are more otaku then everybody else, since a person needs to memorize at least 500 seiyuu (or Japanese voice actors/actresses because I’m automatically a weaboo if I use Japanese Language such as ‘kawaii’ or ‘dayone’) not yet included the characters they play in order to become a ‘real otaku’. I have to admit this type is actually quite funny. I was interested in this type of otaku after reading a blog post about this (I can’t remember where I read it). The blog post basically talks about how annoying the writer is for witnessing people who does not qualify to identify themselves as an otaku identify themselves as one. The writer hates people who proudly call themselves an otaku without having much knowledge on anime in the first place let alone the things happening behind the scenes for example the seiyuu or the animation companies and all that. To them, the word ‘otaku’ is a really powerful word which can only be used by someone who has chosen by the divine…something. This type doesn’t annoy me as much as the first time annoys me. However, they need to know that when I call myself as an otaku, it doesn’t mean that I know every single thing about anime, it just means that I’m into anime. Why do they take this word so seriously? I mean, why? Don’t they have a life to live? More importantly, why do they think they are more superior to others in the first place?

I think what I’m trying to say is, the word ‘otaku’ is a really sensitive word to some especially the two types I have already stated. So, be more careful when you use the word I guess? I don’t know. What’s the point of me making this post anyway I wonder? I guess to tell you my opinion on this matter. My opinions might be flawed. So, if you think that I’m wrong in any way, just comment. I’ll be sure to acknowledge it and maybe even change my overall view. By making this post I’ll be able to know if I’m right or wrong.

Again, I’m stressing that I make this post so that I can know if my opinion on this matter is right or wrong.

6 thoughts on “‘Otaku’ is a sensitive word?

  1. I consider a part of myself as an anime & manga otaku, but not all of me. 100% of people wouldn’t know that I’m even one when they personally meet me for the first time. There are many people who have many stereotypes in their minds regarding those who call themselves otaku. I’m not ashamed that I am one, but I don’t openly flaunt it, either. I just like to enjoy myself, and to discuss it with like-minded individuals.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The reason for Otaku being…well… Offensive to the japanese is for this reason. In Japan just watching anime wouldn’t necessarily make you an Otaku because many people there watch it. The word Otaku there simply means nerd. And many people get offended when being called a nerd everywhere in the world especially in their own language because the know their own language. I mean seriously would you call someone who watches Family Guy, American Dad, King of the Hill, or The Simpsons a nerd… No… But many people would say that about Young Adults who watch childish cartoons. Well it works the same way in Japan and everywhere else for that matter. Think about this… A popular Guy in school was talking to some of his friends in school about yesterdays episode of Family Guy then someone walks up and says “your a nerd” when in fact he isnt. 90% chance he is going to be offended. But with all that being said it almost still have the same meaning in the US except instead of it meaning nerd, it sort of changed to anime nerd. Btw im an otaku. And when i say im an otaku, i mean I love not just anime but video games, board games, and childish cartoons. Also i think of myself as a hardcore Otaku but as an Otaku Gamer. I can name loads of anime but few VAs but when it comes to gaming i keep caught up on everything i can.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I understand what it’s like for Japanese people to feel offended when someone calls themselves Otaku. But it’s not about that. As I said in the post, I don’t like or rather hate people who label a person as weaboo when that person identify himself an Otaku. Like you identifying yourself as an otaku, some people might automatically label you as an annoying weaboo just because you consider yourself as well, an otaku. That’s what bothering me. I don’t like it.


      • I agree. But with that all i can say is that those people are stupid and should look up what Otaku really means. Lolz and unfortunately for them them there is no cure for stupidity XD. And im not one to judge people but when it comes down to people labelling me as a weaboo i do tend to get very judgemental XD

        Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly. Stupidity has no cure. Actually there is though… by learning or studying. But yeah, I usually just ignore people like that but still, they still bother me to some extent. I think I just have to endure it.


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