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Is there a polite word for オタク?

julian_s

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From what I understand (?) if you call someone 'otaku' that would often be considered offensive. Is there a more neutral equivalent in Japanese? Or does ギーク or ナード have any existing meaning in Japanese?
 

Lothor

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I get the impression it's not necessarily offensive. In the same way that gay people have reclaimed the word 'queer', which was often used pejoratively, many otaku are happy to use the word to describe themselves. What do others think?
 

nice gaijin

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What's offensive in otaku? it's got 美化語 built right in!
 

Kraise

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I guess you can use ファン

By the way, I dont think the word itself is offensive. Its the very status of being a maniac for something and having such lifestyle that isnt very desirable for most people
 

ineedauniquen

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As counterintuitive as it is, マ ニアック would be more polite, or as noted above, fan. If you're just getting to know someone and asking about their interests, it would be best to say something like "oh, so you're an anime fan?" rather than otaku or even maniac. If you know someone reeeallly is an otaku, but still want to be nice, you could say "maniac" instead, and also it would probably seem more normal if you referred to yourself as a "maniac" rather than "otaku" if that's the case.
 

ineedauniquen

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oh and unless the context is really clear, it should be modified as like "anime maniac, idol maniac/fan," or whatnot, not just "maniac/fan" on it's own
 

Toritoribe

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マニアック is an adjective (a na-adjective) also in Japanese, e.g., 彼のアニメに関する知識はマニアックだ, 彼はアニメに関してマニアックな知識を持っている. Thus, we don't say 彼はアニメマニアックだ instead of 彼はアニメマニアだ.
 
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