September 7, 2007 at 3:53 am (otaku word)

 I am not sure who made up this term, but I think this is well put, and I really want to appreciate it. Yes, normally it should be written as 一般人[ippanjin] which means “general” people. But actually this kanji [itsu] stands for deviation. Techinically it could be said like 逸脱[itsudatsu]. So the first kanji shall be replaced by 逸, this term was made up…See what I mean? If non-otaku folks are 一般人, otaku folks are 逸般人. 逸般人 means those who live outside the general society…literally. And then those 逸般人 can say those who live outside otaku circles are 一般人. I guess some otaku people might find this so insulting, but personally I like this term. Yes, I am a 逸般人.^^

 Also, how can a 逸般人 be a 一般人?  Yes, there’s one appropriate term to answer it. That’s 社会復帰[shakai hukki]. It simply means rehabilitation, to return to the society. But actually, in 逸般人 circles, 社会復帰 means to stop being a otaku in order to be a 一般人(general person). Again, some otaku people might find it insulting…because all the otaku people are not those who really need to rehabilitate such as Sato-kun in Welcome to NHK! in the first place. If you don’t want to say 社会復帰, you can also say like カタギになる[katagi ni naru, “to stop being a yakuza to be a general person”] or 足を洗う[ashi wo arau,”wash one’s feet”] to mean to be a 一般人. Both stem from yakuza terminology, but are already common among general people.

 Having said that, in 逸般人(or doujin) circles, they seem to say like 一般禁[ippankin] to keep such 一般人 out of their circles. 禁[kin] stands for forbiddance. It could be said like パンピ禁[pampi-kin] or P禁[p-kin]. パンピ is a more casual form of 一般人, and P stands for “p” of パンピ[“p“ampi].  Some real 一般人 would say like otaku people often draw a line to quarantine themselves by using such a word, but personally I don’t think so.

 Well, mostly 一般禁 can be labeled on a fan-made comic(同人誌), especially BL manga. In such a big otaku event(like Comic Market), some 一般人 would join. So in order to warn this kind of thing contains something 一般人 dislike, it is supposed to be labeled. Or else, it is used to inform that you don’t understand what this fan-made comic talks about unless you know the original of it so well. So that’s why I think 一般禁 is not used to keep 一般人 out…What if a 一般人 picked up a BL manga not knowing what it is? Neither 一般人 nor 逸般人 feel good…At any rate, they just implore those who are not intersted(or dislike) in their genre not to take it by using 一般禁.

 I am hoping both of the two societies could mutually esteem more than ever and have fun. (´・ω・`)


  1. w said,

    Yeah, it kind of saddens me that some otaku get so defensive when “ordinary” people are involved. It’s like some kind of retaliation… “You people keep ostracizing us, well we don’t want to have anything to do with you either” sort of mentality. I dunno. I can kind of empathise with it, but it’s all negative emotions…and it just causes a greater rift which results in more misunderstanding and it’s a vicious cycle.

    Some people say that it’s this insularity which is leading to the downfall of anime as more and more pointless moe series get produced for ultra-niche audiences, and they’re not even that good. Apparently.

  2. bi said,

    I wanted to comment on this, but w-san already said all what I wanted to write 😀

    I agree with your last sentence, I hope both worlds will come to better understand each other 🙂

  3. bangin said,

    w-dono&bi: Everytime the press focues on otaku culture, they always pick up such an itai otaku, and seem to exaggerate otaku culture is quite extraordinary. In fact, there are not much such stereotyped otaku (like a 電車男), though…I assume this would be one factor which makes a barrier between the two societies.

  4. khursten said,

    I guess years of traumatizing and ostracizing otakus has finally backfired towards the general people. Strangely, this is true for every ‘specialized’ culture. I mean abroad you have nerds and geeks who are just annoyed at normal people who get mad at ’em. So it’s a social reality more than anything.

    On one end, I wish they get along, but I do know that the best that regular people can do is pity or sympathize the otakus something, which I know will only piss off many otakus.

    But this term is still polite, I think. I mean, when I firs read it. It is just a general term after all. :3

  5. Neohybrid_kai said,

    Eh, this post make me remember of photo taken from Akiba usually has the person’s face blurred (or replaced with “the laughing man icon”) its kind of makes otaku’s image like a criminal, I think ^^

    But I know that there are many “level” of otaku, do people in Japan tend to generalize any otaku as extreme one? and what about otaku themselves, do they care about their reputation’s image in society or they just keep silent?
    I think if both side won’t cooperate the problem won’t be solved

  6. bangin said,

    khursten: I have heard otaku has a more positive status abroad than here Japan. I really wonder how people overseas feel about otaku. In USA, being otaku is more acceptable, I heard…

    Neohybrid_kai: Well, we have been told about some real extreme ones who set up fire just because their beloved idol was insulted. I think such otaku is very rare, but general people tend to believe otaku people are quite scary especially when such incidents happen. Everytime things like that happen, otaku people really wish the press could leave them alone. So I think both, I mean they care about thier reputation in spite of being quiet. 😦

  7. Nick said,

    bangin: It is my understanding that the word otaku has more positive status in the U.S. than it does in Japan, but only because some anime fans use the term as some badge of honor. The general populace here would at most call them obsessed, freaks, nerds, or dorks instead… 😉

    Seriously, being an anime fan is generally accepted in the USA in my experience, but it seems that, culturally, the US is more tolerant of non-conformists than in Japan. One possibility is that the US tends to create it’s own “enemies” to focus on (I.E., “liberals” (or at least the common straw man of liberals created by many neo-conservatives) or Muslim extremists these days. In the past, it would be communists, indians, or blacks), and if it wasn’t for those factors, anime fans would just be as ostracized for being different. Sometimes, the cynical side of me says to resolve some conflicts between two groups of people is to create a third common enemy that both groups can go against…

  8. bangin said,

    I am envy of that, in Japan, being different from others seems to be difficult, mostly gets ostracized. Most Japanese fujoshi do care about this. They seem to try to hide who they are because they are aware of how general people think of fujoshi. Otaku people are good consumers, there’ s no reason to be ostracized from the society, I think.

    That might be a resolution, if there’s a third common enemy for these two societies, things might change somehow…

  9. w said,

    I think it’s the whole thing that the public has about “stereotypes”. No matter how hard Japanese otaku try to be good people, it’s those underside tendencies that people remember – horrible things like Tsutomu MIyazaki – and they therefore form a bad image of otaku. It’s also a matter of taste, I guess… at least from an art-perspective, a lot of people I know who are well-versed in art or are artists of some sort are skeptical of anime because the anime-style is so pervasive and they think a good amount of it is artistically stunted. They can’t accept the kitschy taste of most anime with those inane moe denpa songs…

    The thing is to the general public I’m sure everyone has these “bad” tastes as well – so many people like watching those crappy neverending melodramatic Korean dramas and others buy the most ridiculous clothing, some people spend way too mcuh time watching a bunch of people kick a ball, others splash thousands on buying gourmet food for their pets… but I don’t see people getting such a negative image of these even though there are extreme situations when a few of them go overboard.

    I guess it’s cos those few, highly publicised negative cases of dangerous otaku involve hurting *other* people as opposed to being an idiot or wasting precious money or hurting yourself. And people like to find excuses to look down on others so it’s very easy to say that anime fans are man-children – adults who haven’t grown up and are stuck in a juvenile mindset.

    Which is a rather insulting stereotype, but that’s how it goes I guess… I think it’s more acceptable in America/the West not just as Nick has described it but also possibly because there’s generally higher levels of violence from other causes and there’s not been any widely publicised cases of otaku murdering others or something. I also think it’s a habit not to be so protective and shy about what you like so people are quite fine telling others they are fans of anime. (This may change though if some child rapist is found to have stacks of lolicon manga in his basement or something.)

  10. bangin said,

    It reminds me of what I have heard in Welcome to NHK where Misaki said, People try to find someone to look down, and with doing so, they feel they are better than others. Anime fans or otaku can be easily targetted consequently…It saddens me.
    Whenever I see a bunch of people at party or something, I can’t say I like anime and manga so much when I introduce myself as a matter of fact.

    That’s true, I don’t hear such news lately, but we have been told some otaku criminals such as a Maid-Hunter. I must say Japan has a higher level of otaku incidents…how should I accept it though I live in Japan?

  11. w said,

    Actually, you know this whole thing reminded me of that “Akibahara Liberation Demo” where a bunch of akibakei people went and protested on the street. What do you think of things like this? Just curious. I’m surprised it even happened, really.

  12. w said,

    Oh! Great timing – I just came across this article http://textfiend.net/zerohero/?p=469 which talks about a recent controversy in Taiwan where local otaku were getting insulted and ridiculed on a TV show. You definitely should read that. Even if Taiwan’s media circus makes it all par for the course…

  13. bangin said,

    Oh God…I don’t believe this happened in Taiwan where I thought people are more thoughtful. And as a big fan of Haruhi, this is a serious insulting. The common point is, Japan’s media also tries to make otakus look as geeky as possible even if they are actually sociable.

    A while ago(before White Day), me and my English friend witnessed a Demo on the street of Ikebukuro (near Otome road). It wasn’t Akihabara Liberation Demo, but Anti-White Day Demo. More than ten of masked akibakei people were shouting like “What’s wrong with being an otaku?” Even some policemen were watching them. My English friend were perplexed, but said “Why don’t they try to do better to get a chocolate instead of doing this? I think they can make it because they can do this Demo.”

    I know how they feel when they’re insulted. But even if they did it, the media would treat them as a joke again. And it makes things worse…When does it stop?

  14. Neohybrid_kai said,

    w: reading that post makes me want to scream “zetsuboshitaa” likes Itoshiki-sensei ^^;

    bangin: its happen everywhere, likes Misaki-chan said, the easiest thing to comfort yourself is by watching other people who are more miserable than yourself. It just that in Japan otaku is the easiest target, while in other country where otaku doesn’t exist (or doesn’t have a big negative image) the victim would be another minor community.

  15. Avplaya said,

    bangin-dono, about that post regarding Taiwanese media making fun of otakus, well, please don’t read too much into it. Otaku culture in Taiwan is probably the biggest outside of Japan. The anime/manga shows here attracts upwards of 100,000 people and a lot of cosplayers. Every major media outlets has a full anime section, and many famous “electronic towns” like Akiba are stock full of anime. A lot of manga gets translated in Taiwan when it’s not found anywhere else (for example, Taiwan is the first foreign country to publish Lucky Star). The biggest newspaper in Taiwan has a Anime/Manga section on its website; you can’t even find that in Japanese news sites. There are 3 channels dedicated to Japanese programming in Taiwan, and Animax is one of the highest rated channels. There’s a great love for anime culture in Taiwan.

    The show depicted here, one of worst show in Taiwan, is hosted by a host with a pretty awful reputation. In fact the biggest news about him recently is how people are shooting toward his house at night. He’s a scumbag. What he did was to make fun of the otaku, which is termed “宅男” in Taiwan. This is people are confused by this term. It doesn’t mean “anime fan” but more NEETs or Hikkomori in Taiwan – basically young people sitting at home wasting life. A lot of story was done about them but it has nothing to do with anime or manga in general. You can safely ignore that crappy show as something as representative of how Taiwanese treats anime. In fact, since there’s really no real “shame” to watch anime as an adult, plenty of people watch shows like Haruhi and do not identify themselves as “otaku”. When I get people to watch anime, I don’t have to worry if it’s an “otaku” anime or a regular anime. It’s all just Japanese animation to them.

    So please just ignore people like Jacky Wu. The asshat has a house near where I worked in the US – I should throw a flaming, poop-coverd brick through his window. ^^

    BTW, that site is written by and caters to Mainland Chinese; they usually haven’t a slightest real clue about Taiwan.

  16. bangin said,

    Neohybrid_kai: Zetsuboushitaaaa! Yeah, I feel like itoshiki-sensei. Don’t let him kill himself!
    I agree. Even if the insulting toward otakus stops, another minor community would be the next target. That’s how the world works. 絶望した~. (つд`)

    Avplaya-san: In fact, I went to Taiwan in June to pay a visit my Taiwanese friend. And yes, he showed me Japanese anime by the chunnel, Animax(but I didn’t know there are two more chunnels). Then I found loads of Japanese anime or manga in the shopping outlets…even a maid cafe in Taipei. This means, I thought, anime/manga is generally favorable in Taiwan. So that’s why I was so shocked to see this…

    But, I have decided not to believe it too much as you said.^^ I seriously hope this kind of thing never happens again…

  17. Avplaya said,

    bangin-dono: You have been to Taiwan? That’s great. Then you know what I am talking about. Believe me, this show is the ONLY one that does this, a LOT of on-line protest, petition, and official protest from Kadokawa Shoten Taiwan to the show and the host. Many have swore not to watch anymore of his shows and those ugly Momusu-wanna-bes. That host has underestimated the extend of otaku reach among young people in Taiwan and he’ll pay for it for years to come. So I believe you’ll never see this kind of thing again.

  18. bangin said,

    Yes, that was before I started this blog.
    And I have a Taiwanese friend here in Japan, and he showed me his guidebook for Japan. Even in his guidebook, it picks up not only Akihabara but Otome road(乙女路)…That would mean those spots are acceptable to travel, I supposed so. 🙂

  19. Avplaya said,

    bangin-dono, just an update for you. About 100 otaku in Taiwan staged a protest yesterday in front of the TV station which aired the show which made fun of Haruhi. The host was out of the country but the VP of the TV station went down and accepted their protest letter. They said they won’t be making fun of otaku anymore. Taiwan’s internet community is, like the one in Japan, dominated by so called “ACG fans” (anime, comic, games) and they started an online petition, destroyed the online forum for the show and every person who made bad remark about otaku on the show, and now staged a RALLY for Haruhi’s sake. Hope you feel a little better. ^^


  20. Avplaya said,

    A TV report on the sitting protest:

    Over 150 otaku showed up from 10AM to 3PM. The host and the VP both apologized informally, so I guess it was worth something. I wonder how the J-ota feel about this? Let your otaku friends know about this; Taiwanese don’t take shit from anyone, so even otakus will fight in the name of SOS-Dan. ^^

  21. bangin said,

    Ah, I feel better! Thank you for telling me this, Avplaya-san.
    I will let my otaku friends know about this and ask how they feel! 😀

  22. bangin said,

    Avplaya-san: My otaku friends said, “OMG, Taiwanese otakus are very awesome! This means they are proud of being an otaku.” 😀

    I wish I could understand what they are speaking in this video.

  23. Anime Diet » Tsundere Banana 7 – the Lover of Anime said,

    […] and he proceeds to discuss one of the reasons he started watching anime, his reluctance to let the ippanjin into the circle and his desire to make people on the Anime Diet Staff into managers and his […]

  24. Benjamin Montrella said,

    Wonderful article here. I’ve learnt something new from your post, each day can be a school day.

    • bangin said,

      Thank you very much! Please come again.

  25. DocWatson said,

    In English-speaking science fiction fandom, to leave SF fandom is called “to gafiate” and “to fafiate”, from “Getting Away From It All” (GAFIA) and “Forced Away From It All” (FAFIA). These are old terms, and not much used today.

    Also, as Nick said, I take the word “otaku” as a badge of honor. I’m aware of the negative connotations of the word (I’ve been an anime and manga fan for over twenty years, though long before that I watched Star Blazers (Uchū Senkan Yamato), and the either version of the theme song still brings tears to my eyes and makes want to salute (`-´)>). However, I use the word in the spirit of Toshio Okada, and with the intention of “taking it back” from people such as serial killer Tsutomu Miyazaki.

    I am proud to call myself an otaku, and mean it in the best possible way. If someone feels otherwise, well, “It is a proud and lonely thing to be a fan” (Robert Bloch, and also attributed to Rick Sneary).

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