Join Date: Nov 2003
I've already explained this thing in detail in another thread...but I'll re-write a touched up version of it here.
Yes, I am Japanese. Yes, I am an otaku.
There, that will instantly make me shunned from my co-workers, women, and society if I go out into the street and proclaim that.
Why? Where did this stigmatism for being an otaku come from?
There are numerous of reasons, but most Japanese will have one distinctive and infamous crime that makes them equate "otaku=psycho" in the heads.
The Tsutomu Miyazaki Case (also known as "The Saitama Prefecture Multiple Child Rape-Murder Case)
Between August 1988 and June 1989, four pre-school school girls became missing in Saitama Prefecture. Here is an overall review of what happened:
August 22, 1988 - Imano Mari (age four) was kidnapped, raped and murdered. Video taped Mari-chan's corpse and vagina. (video tape found at his house as evidence). Dumped and buried body in forest.
October 3, 1988 - Miyazaki asked Yoshizawa Masami (age seven) for directions, and promised her to take her somewhere "nice." Masami started crying inside Miyazaki's car, and Miyazaki: "I had no choice but to strangle her to shut up." After she took her final breath, Miyazaki: "I took her clothes off and put my finger into her vagina, but her body moved even though she was dead...I became scared I left the body in the forest"
December 9, 1988 - Namba Erika (age four) kidnapped, raped, and strangled. Dumped body in a forest.
December 15, 1988 - Erika's body found in forest by police investigators.
January, 1989 - Miyazaki returns to Mari-chan's burial site, took her skull back home, burned it to ashes at his home incinerator. Sends Mari-chan's ashes to her parents in a cardboard box with a letter enclosed with newspaper letters of 「真理・遺骨・焼・証明・鑑定」 (Mari, Ikotsu, Yaki, Shoumei, Kantei / Mari, Body Ashes, Burned, Evidence, Proof)
February 10, 1989 - Miyazaki sends additional letters to Asahi Daily News and Mari-chan's distressed families (once again with newspaper letters) explaining in vivid detail how he killed and raped little Mari-chan.
March 11, 1989 - Miyazaki learns of Mari-chan's funeral. Sends another letter to the Imano family and Asahi Daily News "I deeply appreciate the proper burial that you were able to provide her that I could not." Public anger explodes.
June 6, 1989 - Nomoto Ayako (age five) kidnapped. Miyazaki: "after she kept on repeatedly inquiring about my deformed hands, I became frustrated and killed her." Body (minus legs and arms) dumped in forest. Video taped himself masturbating (once again, video tape found at his home later) with Ayako's hands, then ate them.
July 23, 1989 - As Miyazaki was video taping a crying naked girl (age six) in a forest, he was apprehended by the girl's father. He was taken to the police station for attempted kidnapping and rape. Miyazaki confesses to his crimes.
Police searches Miyazaki's house:
over 6000 video tapes of anime, lolita videos, and horror films
numerous photos and video tapes of himself committing the crimes (used as evidence)
Miyazaki Tsutomu - Sentenced to death in 2002. Currently appealing to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, he had published an autobiography with proceeds going to the victims' families. Victims' families refuse such an outrage (duh).
The above mentioned case was so notorious and shocking to the Japanese public that it set an image that loners and otakus are all fucked up in their minds.
Yes, the act that Miyazaki Tsutomu did was indeed a heinous and atrocious crime...and I support his death as do the majority of the Japanese populace. However, is it fair to say:
"Otakus cannot get real girls, so they settle for 2-dimensional girls and go after little innocent children"
"All otakus are loners because they cannot fit in with society"
because of one otaku who couldn't distinguish the obvious between right and wrong? No. He was a fucked up loser who just happened to be an otaku. What if he happened to be a biker? Does that mean all bikers are fucked up? Or, the most possible scenario which is the scariest of all - what if he was a socially amiable neighbor who would go out and drink beer with his neighbors?
Unfortunately, people like to label each other as being "with us, our against us." Hence, thanks to Miyazaki Tsutomu they associate it as "Miyazaki was an otaku, hence all otakus are fucked up." Congratulations Mr. Miyazaki Tsutomu, you are hated even more since us Japanese otakus despise you because you are the reason that caused us to be branded as "fucked up losers."
So going back to the question with this aside..."how do Japanese view people who watch anime/manga?"
As your Japanese friend has mentioned, yes we are considered to be "childish losers." Why? Because of the above mentioned incident.
And of course, Japan is an image conscious society. As I said earlier, the Japanese philosophy of social harmony (or, "wa") is basically an euphemism in saying "you are with us, or you are not - and if you are not, tough luck." Hence, I do not openly say that I am an otaku nor avidly remark that I love to watch anime and play ero-games - for the risk of being cold-shouldered by my co-workers and that it may infringe on my advancement...or even worse, being laid off for any reason the corporation may decide to utilize upon me just to get rid of "a psycho that disrupts the harmony of our company." Perhaps there are several other co-workers in my company that share the same interest in anime and ero-games as I do...but since they don't go out and proclaim themselves as anime fans and neither do I, we will never know.
Manga is a different story. Manga has been with us since the pre-war days, and were popular back then as four-blocked comics on newspapers spreading propaganda. Later on, Haseda Machiko's "Sazae-san," and the Fujimi-sou members mangakas (Tezuka Osamu, Fujiko A/F Fujio, Akatsuka Fujio, Ishinomori Shoutaro, and Tsunoda Jiro) would revitalize the whole manga scene altogether. These people are considered to be national heroes by the populace, and gods by otakus. It is more than enough to say that without them, the multi-billion-yen publishing industry (mainly through manga sales) will not exist today. For otakus, without them, there wouldn't be the abundance of manga and anime that we see now.
Hence, stigmatism against manga are more relaxed. You see them all lined up on shelfs at bookstores all across Japan. Genres exists aimed at little kids (Koro-Koro Comics) to elementary (Sunday, Jump), middle school and high school (Magazine, Young Jump) to the adult (mangas about playing mahjong and golf, mangas about office life, mangas about dating and getting laid, mangas about how to keep a stable marriage, etc. etc...)
But so do anime - they offer variety. Unfortunately, not all mangas are turned into anime, and not all anime are shown on "normal time." Compared to the amount of published manga and anime that is shown on TV, manga beats anime handsdown...hundred fold. Compared to 60-70 different anime shows each week...there are over 600-700 different manga being published - from the obviously popular such as Naruto to extremely minor manga on how to taste wine. Manga is more easily accesible and offers a vast amount of variety that it includes genres that even men in their fifties and sixties can enjoy (like how to keep a good posture when playing golf). Manga has assimilated into Japanese literature as it is.
But then, there are exceptions to what society perceived which anime is acceptable to be watched even when you are an adult.
C. anything by Miyazaki Hayao and Studio Ghibli
Reason being, both A & B are animes based on mangas done by national heroes and gods of the manga world - Hasegawa Machiko and Fujiko F. Fujio. C is because Miyazaki Hayao has established himself as a major internationally accepted (and makes very great films too!) director.
So anime is gaining popularity outside of Japan. Even the Japanese government proclaimed that "anime and manga are an important part of Japanese culture." So several Japanese anime films won kudos at Cannes and Venice. Still, the Japanese populaces' stance is "anime is for kids, if you still are watching anime as an adult - you are fucked up."
Once again, thank you Mr. Miyazaki Tsutomu. I hope you have an excrutiating death at the hanging.