Sons and Daughters of the Virtual Age
Otaku is the honorific word of Taku (home).
Otaku is often associated with an extremely negative image as it is used to refer to someone who stays at home all the time and doesn’t have significant social or love life. They are seen a someone who pass the time by watching anime, reading mangas, playing videogames, surfing the internet (otaku is also used to refer to a nerd/hacker/programmer), or being a fan of a band, an actress, a singer or anyone who has achieve a certain popularity in one way or another for very various reasons. They are perceived as someone who become very specialized in one domain without making a living out of it. They are also perceived as someone who will be or hasn’t been able of making it to adulthood.
In the Western culture, people confuse otaku to be something positive like “Guru”. If you think about it, it’s not really good to be called a guru if it means you are a total loser who can’t socialize with other people except through the Internet.
Other Japanese words which have been confused by Westerners also include but not limited to: Anime, Manga, etc
otaku no jinsei ha yabai na! (it sucks to live the life of an otaku!)
The word Otaku is very related to one of an idol. A Japanese girl answered when asked ”What is an idol?” answers: ”For a guy it is someone to protect, for a girl it is someone she would like very very much to be friends with”. Hum… Right there it says a lot… I think this young lady tried to make it look like it’s a lot worst to be a male Otaku than a female Otaku. I felt listening to this that she wanted to make it look like male Otaku are much more and in a perverse way, addicted to their idol(s) than a girl who just ”wants to be friend” with her idol(s). If you watch the way the girls react when in presence of one or more of their male idols, I wouldn’t say that this way of describing the matter is accurate….
Otaku, meaning probably “venerable house,” refers to someone who has a devotion to a subject or hobby (not necessarily anime) to the point of not leaving home. For instance, an otaku fan of a particular movie star could quite possibly know all of the films s/he has been in, their birth date, time of birth, shoe size, favorite toothpaste, etc. Generally speaking, calling someone an otaku in Japan is an insult, implying that their social skills have atrophied or never even developed, due to their manic involvement in their chosen fandom.In America, the term is used to denote a zealous fan, usually of anime and/or manga. Due to its introduction to most people’s vocabulary through its tongue-in-cheek use in Gainax’s film, “otaku” tends to have a much less dire definition overseas.When dealing with Japanese people, however, it may be best to keep in mind the modern Japanese image of an otaku — Someone who only leaves their home to eat or shop, if at all, with an overwhelming and unhealthy obsession about something. It can as easily refer to a stalker or sociopath as it can to a harmless anime buff.