otaku

Otaku pro wrestler Tomoyuki Oka makes no apologies for blurring the nerd/jock boundary

Otaku pro wrestler Tomoyuki Oka makes no apologies for blurring the nerd/jock boundary

Tomoyuki Oka, Japanese pro-wrestler and all around tough guy, has already captured the hearts of an unlikely otaku audience by being very open about the fact that, despite appearances, he’s actually one of them. He’s recently released a promotional video where we can see the contrast between his  tough, physical side and his completely nerdy, anime-obsessed personality, but also find that there’s more synergy between the two aspects than might be expected.

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Five reasons nerds make great boyfriends: Japan’s geeky otaku list their pros

Five reasons nerds make great boyfriends: Japan’s geeky otaku list their pros

As cultural attitudes continue to evolve in Japan, some groups that have spent decades being socially ostracized are finally seeing the tides turn in their favor. For example, while the covers of most men’s fashion magazines are still plastered with photos of incredibly slender guys, the country has recently been showing some love for heavyset males as well.

One demographic that still tends to have a hard time landing a date, though, are the otaku, Japan’s catch-all term for obsessive fans of anime, video games, computers, and anything traditionally geeky. But could the popular image of otaku as the bottom feeders of the dating pool be a case of women overlooking their hidden merits as boyfriend material?

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The new product for all Japanese men who wish they were little girls

The new product for all Japanese men who wish they were little girls

Are you a guy wanting to try out makeup for the first time? Well Japan, the land where anything goes, has just the thing for you. Allow us to introduce the ‘my first makeup set’ especially for otokonoko! Otokonoko is written with the kanji character for ‘man’ and ‘young woman’ or ‘daughter’, and is a word used to describe men who look and dress like women.

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Pizza Hut’s ita-campaign has people lining up around the block

Pizza Hut’s ita-campaign has people lining up around the block

The above picture was the scene outside a Pizza Hut shop in Chiyoda, Tokyo at 11:00 am on 24 February. The line stretches well around the block on the morning of a weekday with people looking to buy some pizza. The chain has certainly done collaborations with popular franchises before but none have generated this level of attention. So, what has Pizza Hut done to generate this kind of buzz? The answer is kind of painful.

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Take a glimpse into the natural habitats of female Japanese otaku 【Photos】

Take a glimpse into the natural habitats of female Japanese otaku 【Photos】

While we here at RocketNews24 have no shortage of stories on geeky men in Japan, it should be noted that there are plenty of women that fulfill the otaku stereotype of being obsessed with anime, manga and video games. The recently published photo book Corrupted Rooms gives readers a peek inside the cramped living quarters of 50 self-professed otaku and shows the extreme level of dedication these women have to their hobbies. From rooms packed with action figures to racks of cosplay outfits, click below to catch a glimpse into the world of the female otaku!

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Are you otaku? Roughly 40 percent of Japanese college students say, “Yes!”

Are you otaku? Roughly 40 percent of Japanese college students say, “Yes!”

There seems to be a bit of a debate these days centered around whether or not being an otaku, the term used in Japan to describe people who obsess over a variety of hobbies, is a socially healthy one. In extreme cases, the otaku lifestyle can limit romantic opportunities, and even renowned anime director Hayao Miyazaki has grumbled about their effects on the industry he earned his fame in.

With all the negativity and marginalizing, you’d think the number of people the label could be applied to would be small, and the number of individuals who’d choose it for themselves to be smaller still. Surprisingly enough, though, in a recent survey of college students, nearly four in ten identified themselves as an otaku.

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Survey reveals that more than 70 percent of otaku would choose their hobby over love

Survey reveals that more than 70 percent of otaku would choose their hobby over love

Over the years, the term “otaku” has, as well as being accepted into the English language, come to mean not just computer or anime fanatics locked away in their bedrooms, but any person who shows above-average fondness for any given hobby or pastime. Crazy about pop idols? You’re an otaku. Can’t get enough cosplay in your life? Same for you. Have a collection of video games so large that your friends casually refer to your house as “the library”? You’d better believe you’re an otaku.

But is your passion for your hobby so great that you would willingly choose it over love and romance? A recent survey asked a group of otaku that very question, and found that 70.1 percent of them said they’d shun love in favour of their hobby if it came down to it.

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Train enthusiasts gone wild! Are Japan’s train photographers losing their social graces?

Train enthusiasts gone wild! Are Japan’s train photographers losing their social graces?

Back in the day you might have called them “train otaku” but they would have preferred “tetsudo fan” a Japanese translation of the British “railfan” label for those who enjoy riding, viewing, and appreciating everything about railway transportation.

Around the turn of the millennium a new Japanese term for train buffs arose: tetsu (iron).  The name also has many derivatives such as “tetsuko” for a female train enthusiast, and “hitetsu” (non-ferrous) for people who are train laymen. Two main groups of tetsu are noritetsu (iron riders) and toritetsu (iron filmers).

The latter of these two are the focus now, as there has been an increasingly troubling trend of rude and dangerous behavior from what many would assume to be the tranquil hobby of train photography. The following are five examples.

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Taiwanese online game’s Christmas campaign comes with real girls!

Taiwanese online game’s Christmas campaign comes with real girls!

It’s the time of the year when shops and online retailers switch to full battle mode, rolling out Christmas promotions and year-end sales to attract customers, showering shoppers with free gifts and lucky dips that tease a chance of winning luxurious prizes such as cars and getaway vacations. This is all great, but a game otaku who spends most of his free time in a virtual world might not care much for a shiny new car…

Now, popular Taiwanese online game, Nu Shen Lian Meng (League of Angels), ups the ante with a chance to win a candlelit dinner date with three of the six lovely real-life “angels” pictured above! More photos of the campaign babes after the jump!

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New manga magazine for virgins guarantees your continued virginity

New manga magazine for virgins guarantees your continued virginity

In a turn of events that isn’t doing any favors for those refuting the “Sexless Japan” media blitz of late, a recent survey by the National Institute of Population concluded that a frighteningly large percentage of males across the age spectrum were quite literally sexless.

The survey found that 68.5 percent of 18-19 year-olds, 40.5 percent of 24-24 year-olds, an 25.1 percent of 25-29 year-olds in Japan were still virgins.

So what’s an aging manga publisher trying to reinvent its image to do with this information? Why, publish an overtly sexual new manga magazine that is apparently custom tailored to the “0-sexual-experience” crowd.

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Miyazaki in the sky with Gundam: Japan’s astronomical otaku have been naming our asteroids

Miyazaki in the sky with Gundam: Japan’s astronomical otaku have been naming our asteroids

When a new asteroid is discovered and its orbit is established, the right to name that floating chunk of matter is given to the astronomer who found it. And, somewhat unsurprisingly, a lot of the people who dedicate their lives to astroscience exhibit other nerdy hobbies as well! At least, we have to assume so given the number of space rocks with apparent ties to anime, manga, and other mainstream media. Who would have thought that the heavens are so full of otaku references!?

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“You’re an otaku!” Defining Japan’s nerdiest word

“You’re an otaku!” Defining Japan’s nerdiest word

What would you say if someone were to call you an otaku? These days, people’s responses would likely fall into one of two extremes: “Hell, yeah! I’m a huge [insert hobby here] otaku!” or “Screw you! I have a life!”

Some might argue that the latter response is more likely to come from a true otaku, but very rarely do you hear someone admit to being an otaku with the nonchalant cadence of someone saying, “I’m a claims adjuster.” There’s always at least hint of bias in their tone whether its pride or embarrassment.

And yet such an emotionally charged label is still in debate with regards to its definition. To try to make sense of what an otaku is and whether it’s a good or bad thing, let’s start by looking at reasons people might say they aren’t an otaku. The following are four types of denial you might hear when calling someone an otaku as concocted by Japan’s Excite News.

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Japan now has Evangelion-themed electric car chargers, and they are awesome

Japan now has Evangelion-themed electric car chargers, and they are awesome

As waste gasses from fossil fuels continue to choke our planet and money-grubbing businessmen propose plans to frack (and that’s not some coy euphemism) the very ground we walk on to get at even more of the stuff, more and more people are doing their bit to be kind to the environment. Solar panels can be seen up on the roofs of residential buildings, people separate their waste so that as much of it can be recycled as possible, and more consumers than ever are choosing electric or hybrid vehicles.

And now, Japanese motorists have another reason to go green: Evangelion-themed electric car charging stations!

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Why do otaku walk so fast? “They are bound for the future!”

Why do otaku walk so fast? “They are bound for the future!”

The Japanese stereotype for otaku is far from pretty. Hardcore fans of anime and video games are largely regarded as social outcasts and are characterized as unkempt men in button-up plaid shirts, high-waisted pants and running shoes, carrying around backpacks and shuffling quickly through the streets of Akihabara on the hunt for the latest game, hardware or erotic 2-D merchandise.

The Japanese text board 2channel appears very well acquainted with this skittish sub-section of society, so when someone asked why it is that otaku walk so fast, the anonymous responders had a lot to say, and it certainly opened our eyes!

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Mom hangs son’s “dirty towels” out to dry

Mom hangs son’s “dirty towels” out to dry

Moms are the best, right? No matter how old you get, your mom will still be there to cook you a heartwarming meal and get your clothes clean like no one else can. But sometimes, your mom tries to “help” too much. Like this one who went through the trouble of washing her son’s dirty towels. But even though these towels are little too dirty to be seen in public, this mother decided to hang dry them outside for the neighbors (and Twitter users) to see. Oops!

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Vocaloid’s fandom evolves beyond the music and becomes the face of young Japanese otaku

Vocaloid’s fandom evolves beyond the music and becomes the face of young Japanese otaku

Last month, we posted an article capturing the changes in anime art style over time. These adjustments in overall style can come on so slowly, but when laid out side-by-side, they become so blatantly apparent, it’s amazing that such a large breadth of drawing styles could all come under the umbrella of Japanese anime. It would seem that with every passing decade there comes an attraction to a different art style.

In the special interest magazine, Febri volume 19, there is an interesting report called Portrait of a Modern Otaku, which classifies these trends in popular Japanese anime according to “generations,” starting with Space Battleship Yamato and all of its fans falling into generation one. Generation two is represented by Gundam, while fans born of Evangelion and erotic dating simulators belong to generation three. Today’s twenty-somethings likely identify with the fourth generation of fans frontlined by The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. And finally, the youngest bunch, teenagers and below are classified together with none other than Kagerou Project.

But wait. How could it be that an offshoot of Vocaloid, the computer voice simulator, is the poster child for this most recent generation of otaku? The development of Vocaloid fandom itself, holds the answers.

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Elitism divides otaku culture as the popularity of Japanese pop idols expands

Elitism divides otaku culture as the popularity of Japanese pop idols expands

Japan’s idol industry is a unique beast of a moneymaker. The girls who succeed on this cut-throat career path are supported entirely by their fanbase. While they may sing and dance, their live shows have more to do with their idol image than their actual talents, and it is ultimately their popularity which determines their level of success. These girls are famous for their popularity, rather than popular as a result of their fame and talents.

Supporting this industry at its core are the idol otaku, men and women who are obsessed with the girls in idol groups. Functioning as a sub-set of otaku culture, which is already criticized by greater Japanese society, one might expect these idol fans to band together tightly, and share in harmony their mutual love for miniskirts. But, this has not been the case. In fact, a large rift has apparently formed between long-time supporters of the idol industry and newcomers to the scene. According to the old-timers, it would appear that these fresh, new fans don’t understand what it really means to be an idol otaku. Just look at what they had to say about these newbies infringing on their turf!

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11 unique experiences for tourists to Japan

11 unique experiences for tourists to Japan

If you’ve been scouring the net looking for ways to experience the most unique things Japan has to offer, then dock your wireless device and hang up those bunny ears because we’ve found the list for you. These 11 experiences are so unique you’ll be amazed they even exist. From crazy, subculture adventures to mystical, secret classes, now you can fill up on a unique blend of pop and tradition thanks to the activities on offer from new travel website Voyagin. We’ve picked the best courses for you to enjoy.

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How nerdy are you? Use this handy formula to calculate your “otaku coefficient”

How nerdy are you? Use this handy formula to calculate your “otaku coefficient”

Originally a particularly polite way of saying “you,” the Japanese word otaku evolved into a label for anyone with an obsessive, passionate devotion to their hobby. While most commonly associated with anime fans, the term is also applied to hardcore video gamers, technology buffs, and even auto enthusiasts.

Much like “geek,” otaku was initially a derogatory term, but has lost a lot of its sting and become largely co-opted in recent years. Still, it’s important to not let yourself get too wrapped up in your hobbies. Conveniently, there’s now a mathematical formula to determine if your otaku-ness has become too much for your own good.

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Akihabara-based magazine blasts past Kickstarter goal, aims to bring otaku culture to the world

Akihabara-based magazine blasts past Kickstarter goal, aims to bring otaku culture to the world

The word “otaku” in the Japanese language is a general term for anyone who is passionate about a hobby. But in English, “otaku” has become a term that refers to people who are obsessed with Japanese culture, particularly anime and manga. But the world of the otaku is sometimes misunderstood. That’s where JH Lab, a group of “otaku of the highest caliber” comes in, hoping to demystify the world of anime and manga fans and bring the culture of Akihabara to people everywhere.

To do this, JH Lab has created Akiba Anime Art (AAA), “a brand new pop-culture magazine from Akihabara, featuring cool OTAKUs, advanced technologies, kawaii-cosplays, Dojins and much more!” They’ve started a Kickstarter campaign to make their dream a reality and have quickly surpassed their initial goal, raising over US$42,000. Supporters of the project will receive special edition illustrations from featured Japanese artist, John Hathway, and have a chance to be drawn into his amazing Akihabara picture jockey cityscape. Let’s take a closer look at this rapidly growing magazine’s “ultra otaku power.”

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