Japan Shares How Being an “Otaku” is Different From the Past

The fun thing about languages is that certain words have evolving meanings. One example is “otaku”. The word has a completely different meaning today than it did in the past, which can lead to confusion between new and old fans.

Nyaruko: Crawling with Love

Goo Ranking as Japanese how “otaku” has evolved throughout the years.


10. Not as Many Cosplayers – 38 votes

Kizuna Ai Cosplay

Cosplay is one of the community’s favorite hobbies, but it wasn’t always that way. Only the most hardcore fans cosplayed in the past, but the internet has made it easy to share tips, ideas, and finished products.


9. Anime was Only on Video Cassette – 39 votes

Otaku no Video

This might be a case of “get off my lawn” by older fans. Rental stores only had video cassettes, which were more expensive than DVD and Blu-ray discs. You also had to record anime on blank VHS tapes if you wanted to re-watch it.


8. You had to Watch Anime on Prime Time TV – 40 votes

Squid Girl

Free time was centered around TV guide. If you wanted to watch an anime, you had to be home at a certain time. Now, otaku have to struggle with choosing an anime to watch!


7. There Were no “Otaku Idols” – 43 votes

AKB48 was marketed as the first “otaku idols” in that they loved anime and manga as much as their fans.

This is one of the biggest changes in the idol industry. In the past, idol singers were mysterious since they kept their private lives hidden. Modern-day idols are different in that they are open about they otaku hobbies or they play the role of being an otaku to draw more fans.


6. Doujin Artists Shared Their Contact Info – 44 votes

Otaku no Video

This is part of a multi-part answer, but doujinshi artists openly shared their public contact info with readers due to practical reasons. Phone numbers and home addresses were posted on the back of doujinshi covers.


T-4. Doujin Was Only Available By Mail Order – 46 votes


This ties-in with the previous answer. Doujinshi could only be obtained through mail order. It’s hard to imagine now, but you had to buy your smut directly from the person creating it!


T-4. People Thought All Anime Fans Were Weird – 46 votes

Wotakoi: Love is Hard For Otaku

Anime has become more mainstream in recent years, but there was a time when all fans were viewed as gross weirdos.


3. Fans Didn’t Call Themselves “Otaku” – 47 votes


You wouldn’t catch a fan calling themselves an “otaku” 10 or 15 years ago. In the past, “otaku” was synonymous with “autistic-anime watching loser with no future,” but people have reclaimed it to mean “passionate fan” of a hobby. Nowadays, “otaku” isn’t restricted to anime fans. Some people still use otaku as an insult, which can lead to confusion within the community.


2. Fujoshi were Different – 52 votes

Humanity Has Declined

Fujoshi” wasn’t really a thing 15 years ago, but it has evolved into a powerful beast.

In the past, all boys love was called “yaoi,” which was used to describe romance stories between two men. Now, “yaoi” is used for gay hentai while “boys love” is used for non-explicit male love stories.

Fans were also called “doujin onna,” which was used to describe women that read doujinshi regardless of their content. However, a lot of doujin onna loved reading yaoi, which led to the term “fujoshi.”

As a fun note, “fujoshi” is a self-deprecated word that means “rotten girl” and “yaoi” is an acronym that means “Yama nashi, Ochi nashi, Imi nashi” (No climax, no resolution, no meaning). Contrary to popular belief, yaoi does not mean “Stop, my butt hurts.”


1. People Thought All Anime Fans Were Depressed – 68 votes

That One Shitty Anime

In the past, people thought all anime fans were depressed, which is a bit odd when you speak to the current fan base. A lot of modern fans are open about being depressed and having social anxiety, which leads to two thoughts: modern fans either like to mock depression or depression is fairly common for anime fans.

SOURCEGoo Ranking
Ader Titsoff
I grew up traveling around the world with my parents who practice and teach medicine. We spent 6 years in South Asia, including Japan, and my anime obsession began there. Sports, horror, and Seinen are my favorite genres. Favorite quote: "Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does." by William James
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