What Does Otaku Mean In Japanese?

What Does Otaku Mean In Japanese?

For ten years, the terms Otaku, Weeb, Weeaboo, NEET, Hikikomori, etc. circulated a lot on the Internet. It is normal not to understand what’s Otaku meaning. Anime Troops is here for you!

Otaku, Week & Weeaboo Basic Definitions

What does Otaku mean?

An Otaku is a person who devotes most of his time to an indoor activity. He is passionate about it, but not to the point of making himself sick and not leaving his house.

This corresponds more to the term hikikomori. The meaning of the word otaku in the West is reductive, as it basically refers to a person who loves the culture of Japanese anime and manga. This also applies to the various communities that surround these two fields.

The term “weeb” is derived from “weeaboo”, and was coined by Nicholas Gurewitch. It is a term widely perceived as pejorative. However, its initial meaning designates a Japanophile person.

In other words, an individual foreign to the Japanese nation who loves, adores or idolizes one or more cultural and civilizational aspects developed by the Land of the Rising Sun.

As you will have understood, an otaku and a weeb can be passionate about the same field (for example, anime, manga, cosplay, etc.). In 2022, the main difference is considered to be the degree of involvement of Japan as a nationality.

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Otaku Vs Weeb

What Does Otaku Mean In Japanese?

In fact, an otaku is not a weeb. The term “Otaku” has been around for a long time, even before the existence of the anime industry.

What does otaku mean in English?

The word otaku can be translated as “to study intensely” or “expert”. In Japan, an otaku is someone who has spent a lot of time studying a specific subject. He is usually defined as an obsessive fan of, for example, manga or anime culture .

The definition of the term “weeb” is uncertain. The notion of otaku is however much broader, because a person who is a fan of technology can be called an otaku. On the other hand, the word weeb only refers to a unique type of person who idolizes certain aspects of Japan.

of “weird people” that we use in the West to twist and through when a hobby or a passion is out of the ordinary.

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Otaku Vs Hikikomori

Hikikomori (hiki: to withdraw, komori: to be inside) is a psychological disorder used to describe young adults who barely have any social contact. It is an acute withdrawal symptom from social life and interaction.

Actually, a Hikikomori is different from an Otaku because an otaku does not necessarily have social withdrawal symptoms and cuts themselves off from the outside world. 

Otaku vs NEET

Anime and manga fans are often accused of being NEET. In Internet parlance: neck-beards, otaku, slacker, hobo. But what is a NEET? NEET is an acronym for an English expression: Not in Education, Employment, or Training.

The typical media image of a NEET is an overweight young man living in a basement covered in Cheetos dust with a shrine to his favorite anime waifu and a long-running World of Warcraft subscription.

Otaku Vs Weeaboo

Weeaboo is used to describe a non-Japanese (some say non-Asian) person who is excessively obsessed with Japanese culture to an unhealthy extent.

Weeaboo will consider Japanese culture “better” than their own culture, and most of their knowledge about Japan often comes from pop culture such as anime and manga.

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The use of the term “Otaku” outside of Japan

What Does Otaku Mean In Japanese?

On a purely technical level, the term “otaku” is reserved for people of Japanese origin. Calling yourself an otaku isn’t a problem, but we already have English words that can be used, like “nerd” and “geek” are quite equivalent to “otaku”.

Just being an anime fan doesn’t make you an Otaku. Similarly, if you are a big fan of Japanese culture, you do not become an otaku or even a weeb, but a Japanophile. The latter can be defined as the appreciation and love of the culture, people and history of Japan.

Is Otaku an insult in Japan?

The term Otaku can be used as a pejorative term in Japan. Its negative connotation results from a stereotypical view of otakus as outcasts and the media coverage of Tsutomu Miyazaki, “the murderer of otakus”, in 1989.

However, the results of studies published in 2013 indicate that the term has become less negative and that a growing number of people now identify as otaku, in Japan and elsewhere. Of the 137,734 teenagers surveyed in Japan in 2013, 42.2% identified as some type of otaku.