Japanese term for fans of a hobby, especially anime, manga or video games.

Otaku is a Japanese slang word, deriving from the honorific "おたく[1]" (otaku), meaning "your house", that has come to mean someone who obsessively exerts time, money, and energy into a hobby. Otaku have a deep, complex knowledge around a particular subject or area of study, and is oftentimes (esp. in the West) used to refer to avid consumers of anime and manga. The term can be compared with Hikikomori.

The Akihabara district in Tokyo is a popular gathering site for the otaku-subculture.

In Japan, otaku has generally regarded as an offensive word, due to the negative cultural perception of withdrawal from society. However, the otaku philosophy of living has gained traction among Japanese youth and adolescents, likely as a reaction to the established culture of intense work and academic studies. Under 30’s have developed a neo-otaku identity with more positive associations of being a geek or nerd.[2][3] In the West, the word usually describes an anime or manga "fanatic" and is not typically perceived as derogatory.


  1. "おたく - Wiktionary". en.wiktionary.org. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  2. "Why Japanese Youth Want to Be 'Otaku' and What It Means | Guest Colum…". archive.is. 2017-03-27. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  3. McCurry, Justin (2015-02-22). "Clocking off: Japan calls time on long-hours work culture". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-03-27.