Otaku and otaku

Once again I face the end of Sunday night having written nothing, and with an exam due tomorrow. If I try to work on one thing, I’ll feel guilty about the other. Then I figured: why not post about the exam contents? 一石二鳥!

The reason I never did this before is, naturally, that exam matter typically isn’t very interesting. This one’s a vocab and kanji quiz, based on some random “Otaku level test” someone found in the Internet. I suspect that’s not very fascinating for most of you, but it’s not entirely devoid of cultural value: I think it’s perhaps illuminating about the difference between the ideas of “otaku” here and there. Most questions below would be either absent or peripheric in an equivalent quiz for the Western-style otaku (cf. 1, 2, 3, or search the web for tons more). Nonliteral translation follows:

Otakuness meter (psychological test)

This diagnosis will determine the extent of your “Otakuness”. Please try to answer the 10 questions without thinking too deeply.

  1. Tell what “otaku” means to you:

    of the characters he loves

  2. Are you of the kind who, when you have an interest, immerse yourself in it?

  3. Do you know about dôjinshi?

  4. Did you ever go to the Comiket?

  5. How much money do you devote monthly to hobbies or things you like?

  6. Have you searched the Internet for the community of your hobbies?

  7. If I say “otaku”, what kind of person comes to mind?

  8. Do you think being an “otaku” is shameful?

  9. You see an “otaku” walking closer…

  10. Speaking frankly, do you think you’re an “otaku”?

Some points to note: It doesn’t even mention anime; manga is the only concrete hobby cited, with dôjinshi appearing to be deeper fandom than regular manga, and dôjinshi authorship the peak; most questions are about personality traits perceived as negative in the society, often excessive behavior that violates proper demanor; in particular, otaku are defined as unreasonably consumeristic; this quiz seems to be avoiding the thorny sexual issues; as expected, “characters” (kyara) appear to fulfill an emotional need.

The results are given in four variables: 二次元妄想度 “2d delusion”, 自己顕示創作度 “conspicuous production”, 強迫性知識欲望度 “forceful intellectual appetite”, and 客観的冷静度 “objective coolness”. For the record, I scored 97% 【知識欲求型】“intellectually thirst type”, making me a Professor Otaku おたく博士。

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