Self-Described Otaku

I was an “otaku.” I know that term has come to mean a great many things to a great many people, but for me it simply meant “outsider.” I know Americans, especially young ones, must feel trapped by societal pressure. All humans do. However, if I understand your culture correctly, individualism is something to be encouraged. You revere the “rebel,” the “rogue,” those who stand proudly apart from the masses. For you, individuality is a badge of honor. For us, it is a ribbon of shame. We lived, particularly before the war, in a complex and seemingly infinite labyrinth of external judgments. Your appearance, your speech, everything from the career you held to the way you sneezed had to be planned and orchestrated to follow rigid Confucian doctrine. Some either have the strength, or lack thereof, to accept this doctrine. Others, like myself, chose exile in a better world. That world was cyber space, and it was tailor-made for Japanese otaku.

I can’t speak for your educational system, or, indeed, for that of any other country, but ours was based almost entirely on fact retention. From the day we first set foot in a classroom, prewar Japanese children were injected with volumes upon volumes of facts and figures that had no practical application in our lives. These facts had no moral component, no social context, no human connection to the outside world. They had no reason for existence other than that their mastery allows ascension. Prewar Japanese children were not taught to think, we were taught to memorize.

You can understand how this education would easily lend itself to an existence in cyberspace. In a world of information without context, where status was determined on its acquisition and possession, those of my generation could rule like gods. I was a sensei, master over all I surveyed, be it discovering the blood type of the prime minister’s cabinet, or the tax receipts of Matsumoto and Hamada, 1 or the location and condition of all shin-gunto swords of the Pacific War. I didn’t have to worry about my appearance, or my social etiquette, my grades, or my prospects for the future. No one could judge me, no one could hurt me. In this world I was powerful, and more importantly, I was safe!


The term "Otaku" carries horrible connotations in Japanese culture, so it seems highly unlikely that a Japanese male would describe himself as such, but in Max Brooks' book, he has such a character. Posted here for the fascinating definition of Otaku that bares little relation to the actual definition.

Folksonomies: culture geek nerd otaku

/art and entertainment/comics and animation/anime and manga (0.593120)
/law, govt and politics/armed forces/army (0.403238)
/religion and spirituality (0.387359)

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Max Brooks:Person (0.761918 (neutral:0.000000)), prime minister:JobTitle (0.562499 (positive:0.287182)), Matsumoto:Person (0.493125 (neutral:0.000000)), Hamada:Person (0.478863 (neutral:0.000000))

Prime minister (0.930687): dbpedia | freebase
Education (0.806776): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Japanese culture (0.681166): dbpedia
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (0.661060): website | dbpedia | freebase | yago
Pacific War (0.641379): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Cyberspace (0.637159): dbpedia | freebase
Otaku (0.627417): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Individualism (0.622987): dbpedia | freebase

 World War Z
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Brooks , Max (2011-09-27), World War Z, Three Rivers Pr, Retrieved on 2012-01-03
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: fiction science fiction zombies