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Title: The common sense that makes the 'otaku': Rules for consuming popular culture in contemporary Japan
Authors: Kam, T.H. 
Keywords: common sense
popular culture
rules of consumption
Issue Date: Jun-2013
Citation: Kam, T.H. (2013-06). The common sense that makes the 'otaku': Rules for consuming popular culture in contemporary Japan. Japan Forum 25 (2) : 151-173. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: In Japan, 'otaku' is a term used to designate certain consumers of popular culture. The conventional approach to the study of 'otaku' is to examine people participating in particular consumption, without explaining why they are called 'otaku'. I propose to look at 'otaku' as a label: people are called 'otaku' because they are judged by themselves or others to fail to keep certain rules. There is thus a necessity to examine the people who use the label 'otaku' and the rules they invoke in their judgments. This article focuses on the labeling process undertaken by a group of Japanese university students and the rules they invoked. My analysis of interviews with these students revealed that there are four rules which they use to determine who is and is not an 'otaku', and which I have named as the reality rule, the communication rule, the masculinity rule and the majority rule. The four rules constitute these students' common sense on consumption and play. In this context, 'otaku' is stamped on people who are perceived to have deviated from this common sense. Yet, conversely, the labeling process simultaneously reinforces this common sense. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Source Title: Japan Forum
ISSN: 09555803
DOI: 10.1080/09555803.2012.743481
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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