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Don't Buy the Plastic

An interesting article from Mainichi Daily News about the Japanese anime and manga otaku's subculture ripped apart by consumerism. And an interesting discussion on the subject by non-Japanese self-professed fanpeople at Anime News Network's forums.

They raise interesting points, especially about the hikkomori vs. otaku argument. But you can see where the fans are trying to justify themselves as consumers vs. the shut-ins who are clearly mad that consumerism and near-paedophilia have taken over their subculture. In fact, lady arguing hikkomori is actually in the former, since, well. Hikkomori is a socio-cultural phenomenon that stems from an actual mental disorder. Hikkomori, the Japanese term for an extreme shut-in who lives in his Mom's basement and never goes out, is not restricted to people who like anime. They are a group of diverse, usually quite young, people who suffer from varying degrees of very real depression. The "otaku" on the other hand, is more akin to the Western RPG geek. They're not mentally unstable, just shy and fond of things that a large number of other people find odd. That's a generalization. Otaku as a term is a generalization.

And this is the point of the article: Not all otaku are obssessive collectors of underage plastic dolls. Although "going back into the closet" is an extreme, and in itself a mean generalization, the other meaning is that being a fan is also not equivalent to not having a life. That this subculture can be invaded by consumerism and sexualization too should remind everyone of that.


May. 16th, 2006 05:05 am (UTC)

This inspires me to go Google hikkomori elsewhere in Asia. It will be interesting to see the results...

My mother still openly sighs at people that I like cartoons. ;)
May. 16th, 2006 01:50 pm (UTC)
ive been watching alot of kdrama lately...it turns out i am a sucker for romantic comedies XD

it would...heh im sure there are legions of socially dysfunctional young adults out there; i wonder if there have been any serious studies on the matter?

heh well my parents think watching movies is something only children do...oh and going to concerts
May. 16th, 2006 02:12 pm (UTC)
I went off to Google, as I said. I'm probably not getting the keywords right, but pretty much all the hits for hikkomori were referencing the Japanese. It would seem that studies mentioned online also seem to revolve around specifically Japan. Of course, at the rate and amount that Asians stay with their parents (that includes me), it could be happening all around, and no one would know.

The kind of movies I watch, I don't think my parents could even dream of showing them to children. ;) I dare say they'd think the same about my "cartoons", if all the features I dare to play around them weren't Ghibli...
May. 16th, 2006 03:15 pm (UTC)
ill have to do some digging...i recall there is a term in korean, Yangachi, which is used for disaffected youth...those with no proper ambition, etc

although thats quite a bit different than a hikkomori shut in

my parents dont really want to know what i watch...which is good since i mainly watch horror movies :D

its mainly the idea of going to watch movies and attending concerts that they consider childish