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Sustainability of Japanese culture AND plans to spread otaku lifestyle across the globe

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On 30.10.2017 at 12:58 AM, Narcosis said:

Otaku is a distinctively japanese pejorative. Call yourself a fan if you want. Do not ever use the word otaku, tho.

Western fandom always had huge issues with that word. We're well known for being unable to differentiate between the negative value it carries and misuse it at every single opportunity. There's nothing to be proud of by being an otaku.

Sorry for answering an old post, but I feel like I need to protest this notion a bit. Obviously otaku has a negative connotation "at source", but these kind of subcultural terms don't have fixed meaning regardless of context. I use "otaku" for myself because it's the quickest way of saying "a devoted fan or manga/anime and related media" and I don't find it in any way self-deprecating, no matter what it would mean in "original" context, in Japan. For most people in the west it's simply descriptive.

Also, even in Japan the meaning is changing. Many subcultures like to hijack pejorative terms for their own use, basically stealing ammunition from those that would want to debase them (like what LGBT+ community did with the word "queer", very offensive in the past). They make it part of their identity and their pride. I think "otaku" is heading in that direction, even if the social stigma is obviously still there.

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I mean, as far as I know, once upon a time "silly" meant "blessed". Semantic drift is a thing, and sometimes words go through elevation or degeneration in time. Some examples taken from "The language construction kit" - Mark Rosenfelder:

Degeneration:

Old English cnafa 'boy' -> knave

OE ceorl 'commoner' -> 'rustic' -> churl

Middle English villein 'rustic' -> villain

ME huswif 'matron' -> hussy

disease (discomfort -> illness)

Elevation:

OE cniht 'boy' -> knight

OE praettig 'cunning' -> pretty

ME fonned 'foolish, infatuated' -> fond

Old French mareschalc 'horse handler' -> maréchal 'high military official'

Latin casa 'hut' -> Spanish, Italian 'house'

 

So, don't be surprised if in the near future the word 'otaku' ends up being a compliment.

Edited by Thyndd

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