Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Thu Jun 28 01:12:58 UTC 2001

>    Actually, 'otaku' is second person and extremely rude/informal.

I think "otaku" is a polite old-fashioned form of "you" -- now uncommon and
'stilted', I think -- and perhaps supplanted in certain contexts by the new
noun "otaku" = "geek"/"fan".

The "o-" is apparently an 'honorific' prefix, and "taku" = "house", so I
suppose this would be glossed "honorable house" = "your house/family", used
(obliquely/impersonally) as a formal/polite "you" (could be singular or
plural, and could also actually refer to the household/family of the
addressee). [I defer as always to any expert.]

The story (which I find believable) is that certain "geeks" or manga/anime
fans (maybe circa 1970-80) took to addressing each other as "otaku" as a
self-conscious archaism ... perhaps analogous to fantasy-fiction or
role-playing-game fans using "thou" among themselves in English ... and so
the "geeks" became known as the "otaku people" or so.

["Boku" is a common informal "I"/"me". "Yo" is an 'emphatic' terminal
particle. "Boku otaku yo" would be an elliptical version of "I am otaku!"
(with a double-entendre "otaku" maybe, as previously suggested).]

-- Doug Wilson

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