Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Wotaku ヲタク

So, this season there seems to be an anime called Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii ヲタクに恋は難しい, a romcom between an otaku and a fujoshi, literally "for an otaku love is difficult." And, despite me saying the word otaku over and over, you can see that in Japanese the word is wotaku ヲタク, not otaku オタク. After all, what's the difference between otaku and wotaku? What does wotaku mean?

To begin with, in case you didn't know this already, otaku お宅 means "you" in Japanese. But it had been turned into a slang used to refer to people who liked anime, games, and science fiction, a.k.a.: "nerds." And then the word spread to be used for people with weird hobbies like gun enthusiasts, gun otaku, train otaku, and so on.

As the usage of the word spread, normies and the media started using it. And that's obviously bad. I mean, how dare normies use this word? It's our word! Using the word devalues the hipster value of the word. It's like how a meme dies when it makes it to Facebook. It just... becomes worthless.

So, basically, as the word otaku had its meaning stained by normies and non-fans, the fans, absolutely disgruntled by such travesty, decided to stop using the word otaku and started using this other word to refer to themselves: wotaku.

At first glance it means the same thing, but there's a nuance in this: wotaku is obviously superior.

That's because the word otaku used by normies means NERDSsssssss!!! no, wait, what?! When otaku is used by normies it has positive connotations?! WTF?!

Yep, that's right. Since anime is part of the Japanese culture, the media ends up having to report it. And consequently they have to report on the otaku, which support that culture. So they gradually painted the otaku in a better light, which means the meaning of the word got diluted. People who called themselves otaku then didn't identify with this new type of otaku.

So the hardcore otaku came up with the word wotaku, which isn't used by the media, or the public, or normies, and is pretty much exclusive to the otaku themselves, specially in Japanese boards like 2ch. So if someone writes wotaku, it's likely they're an otaku.

Furthermore, the otaku writing wotaku is such an otaku he even knows about the word wotaku. This implies wotaku is more otaku than otaku. Like super-otaku, extra-otaku. And so you can assume the wotaku wastes more money supports the anime industry buying blurays, doujinshi, and other stuff more than your average otaku.

As for why wo is used, some people (「オタク」と「ヲタク」はどう違う?仲間はずれ「ヲ」の役割とは) say that it's because the katakana wo ヲ is "isolated" from the rest, *ahem*, "unique," like otaku, I guess?

That'd be because the hiragana wo を is pronounced like o for reasons, one of them being it's only ever used as a Japanese grammar particle, (almost) never in words. Since katakana words are loan-words katakanized, there's no need for this grammar particle (wo) in katakana, because loaned words and phrases are not Japanese so they wouldn't have Japanese grammar particles inside of them.

So this would mean the katakana wo ヲ is one of the rarest kana in the Japanese language... it's... different. Like wotaku? (I think that reasoning a bit of a stretch, though.)

2 comments:

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  1. exactly what i needed to know, cheers d00d ;w;b

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  2. A good, clear answer! Thanks for this post!

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