I’m labeled as an otaku because I like an idol group

The Yomiuri Shimbun Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a male company worker in my 30s. I like a certain female pop idol group. When I told people at my workplace, I was labeled an otaku geek. I was shocked.

My family is not well-off, so I have to use most of my salary to support my household. I learned about this group at a time when things with my family situation were really tough for me. Watching the tireless efforts of the group’s members on TV helped push me to work as hard as them. I don’t have much money, so I can’t go to their concerts or meet-and-greet events, or buy their CDs. But honestly, I’d love to be able to do these things.

When I talked with colleagues about their favorite music and artists and mentioned the group’s name, they described me as an otaku. I have no idea why they said that. I’m sad because I just like the group and its songs, which have encouraged me.

People have their own favorite artists, and I happen to like that particular group. What’s so wrong with that?

A, Tokyo

Dear Mr. A:

I don’t know exactly what the word otaku means, so I must first ask you about that. Is it that rude to call someone an otaku?

To tell you the truth, I like collecting specific items. When I tell others about my hobby, I’m often described as “otaku-kei” (being of the otaku type). I don’t think it’s a compliment to refer to someone as an otaku, but I believe the word is used with affection to describe people like you or me. Perhaps it should bother me more.

I have one more thing to disclose. You might not believe this, but I also like a certain pop idol group — I’m just short of being an enthusiast. Although I haven’t gone to meet-and-greet events for fans, I truly like the group’s music.

I also think the group’s members have outstanding qualities as human beings. It’s enough that these young women are attractive, but they also make all-out efforts to improve. They can sing and dance, and they’re quick-witted. Some of the members are so talented, I think they are even geniuses.

In addition, the members have gone through hardships. I get a sense of drama from these young women. My feelings toward the group are probably shared by their fans. The members have an appeal that certainly deserves such praise.

So, I totally agree with your statement: “I happen to like that particular pop idol group. What’s so wrong with that?” Need more be said?

Soichiro Nomura, psychiatrist

(from May 21, 2017, issue)Speech

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