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Otaku

An otaku is a variety of geek specializing in Anime and Manga. Whereas some apply this term derogatively, some otaku have adopted the term (much like geek itself) and proudly use it.

The word is borrowed into English from Japanese. In that language, otaku means roughly the same thing as geek; to convey the English meaning, one would have to say anime otaku or manga otaku. Japanese culture has many other varieties of otaku, such as the pasocon otaku (personal computer geek).

The word is derived from the Japanese o (honorific) + taku (house, home). It was used in the 1980s as a second person singular pronoun among hobbyist photographers. As it gained familiarity, the word was soon used by others to refer to hobbyist photographers. Since the photographers were seen as socially unskillful, reclusive, and obsessed with their hobby, otaku picked up those negative connotations and eventually was used to refer to any reclusive, obsessive hobbyist. Otaku has stronger negative connotations in Japanese than it does in English, although it can be used either positively or negatively in either language.

Japanese loanwords Otaku culture outside Japan often makes extensive use of Japanese loanwords. This can create an effect that is similar to Engrish, where the otaku will use Japanese phrases in conjunction with English. This usage is sometimes dubbed "Japanglish[?]".

Examples of loan words include:

See also: fanboy; anorak.

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