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.

In Japan, otaku is generally regarded as an offensive word, due to the cultural perception of social withdrawal from society. However, the philosophy of living has gained traction among Japanese youth and adolescents, likely caused by the intense work and academic culture put in place.[2][3] Despite these negative perceptions, Otaku has evolved to mean geek or nerd, almost always in a positive tone in the West. In the West, the word usually describes an anime or manga "fanatic" and is not typically perceived as vulgar.


  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.