Conversation with elementary school otaku provides encouraging insight.

Despite Japan pumping out more animated works with mature content than any other country on the planet, it hasn’t always been easy for Japanese anime otaku to be open about their passion for the medium. That’s been slowly but steadily changing over the last decade, though.

Once considered to be almost invariably loners, otaku are now more socially connected than ever thanks to a boom in fan events, online communities, and even matchmaking services that connect them to others with similar interests. It’s all quite different than it was when Japanese Twitter user @sato3794 was still in school and felt the need to hide his otaku-ism from his classmates, out of fear that they’d make fun of him for it.

A chance conversation, though, showed the adult anime fan that maybe it’s not that kids these days have it easy, but that they’re making it easy for one another, as shown in a pair of tweets he recently sent out.

“Seeing kids between the ages of 10 and 19 say ‘Because I’m an otaku…,’ I thought ‘Wow, it’s really easy for young people to come out as otaku now.’ But today I talked to an elementary school girl, and she told me ‘At first, I thought people wouldn’t like me if they knew about my [anime] hobby, so I kept it a secret. But then one day, I decided to be open about it, and everyone has been really supportive’”

“So it’s not that more people are finding it easy to identify themselves as otaku, but that more young people have become capable of not ostracizing others for their interests, even if they themselves don’t understand the appeal of those hobbies.”

While this is just one isolated incident, there’s no denying that Japan’s animation enthusiasts have become more confident in wearing their fandom on their sleeves than ever before. So as long as those anime-loving kids grow up to be good otaku, it sounds like a positive step for society as a whole.

Source: Jin
Top image: Gahag

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