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Defining the Heisei Era: Examining the rise of otaku culture

The Japan Times

Born in the city of Nagoya in 1970, he spent his teenage years devouring popular anime series of the time, including "Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam," the sequel in the well-known Gundam franchise that first aired in 1985, and "Dirty Pair," a sci-fi adventure featuring a sexy female duo working as "trouble consultants." This was the heyday of the VHS cassette, and Goto would spend his allowance renting anime tapes, many of which were made specifically for release on home video format to meet the period's surging demand for anime content. It wasn't a hobby he could openly share with his classmates, however. This was years before the otaku image underwent a makeover of sorts, thanks to the popularization of the fan culture and its global acceptance as a source of soft power. "Otaku of our generation were typically way down in the'school caste' system, and girls tended to look at us with disdain," he says, referring to the invisible hierarchy in the classroom determined by different status symbols.


Fans Appraise Geek Cryptocurrency Otaku Coin With Suspicion

Forbes - Tech

Otaku Coin says it wants to help fans support the anime industry. A cryptocurrency developed specifically for the Japanese industry and its fans sounds like something anime viewers would be happy about. However, as new details come out about Otaku Coin, fans in Japan and the west are increasingly skeptical. Otaku Coin is a digital currency under the purview of Tokyo Otaku Mode (TOM), a shop and anime news site with 20 million Facebook fans. According to a concept paper TOM released in May, Otaku Coin will be a derivative of open-source cryptocurrency Ethereum.


Bitcoin for otaku: Tokyo startup to launch cryptocurrency to serve anime geeks

The Japan Times

Cryptocurrencies may be making worldwide headlines as high volatility assets that have seen dazzling stretches of growth and stunning falls, but the CEO of Tokyo Otaku Mode Inc. believes they have a different kind of potential. Naomitsu Kodaka says cryptocurrencies can serve as cross-border digital cash for smaller communities, such as hobbyists, that can be used within the group to build closer bonds and exchange assets. The startup's plan is to target hardcore anime, manga and game lovers -- or otaku (geeks) -- with a new cryptocurrency called Otaku Coin. "We think this is going to be quite an experiment," Kodaka, who also co-founded the firm, said in an interview last month. Tokyo Otaku Mode runs an e-commerce site selling goods related to anime, manga and video game titles.


Despite challenges, young Cubans being drawn into world of anime, manga

The Japan Times

HAVANA – Cuba may be one of the world's least connected countries but that is not stopping the Japanese subculture of animated movies, manga comics and video games from spreading feverishly among its youth. More than 1,000 otaku (geeks), or fans of such fantasy worlds, descended on Havana last week for the country's third otaku festival, defying the sweltering heat to sport the costumes of their favorite characters. Some performed scenes from animated movies on stage, while others belted out songs in Japanese with Spanish subtitles projected in the background. Others did role-playing dance choreographies. A prize was awarded for best cosplay, or role-playing in costume, and for best manga drawing.


Sundance review: 'Tokyo Idols' paints a creepy picture of J-pop super fans

Mashable

There's a scene in Tokyo Idols where Rio Hiiragi, a pop star trying to make it big, bikes to small provinces as a publicity stunt to meet her fans. She's wearing a cute yellow helmet and live streaming her trek. Trailing behind her are a handful of older men. They are her biggest fans. The documentary premiering at the Sundance Film Festival spotlights the world of young female performers -- "idols" -- who dress like anime characters and sing and dance for adoring crowds, even though many aren't very good at singing or dancing.