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Kendo in Japan, Are we Otaku ??

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  • Kendo in Japan, Are we Otaku ??

    This is question toward to student in Japan. Does Kendoka also considered as Otaku? Are we considered as Geek? Is it good to say I am practicing Kendo on my resume to Japanese company ??? Just curiosity.

  • #2
    Originally posted by rainmaker
    This is question toward to student in Japan. Does Kendoka also considered as Otaku? Are we considered as Geek? Is it good to say I am practicing Kendo on my resume to Japanese company ??? Just curiosity.
    I put up an e-Bogu calendar in my cubicle, and two days ago a pair of engineers from Japan were walking down the hall - it stopped them dead in their tracks and they spent the next ten minutes talking with me about kendo in the US, how they used to do kendo in school and wish they could do it now. We even had a bit of a laugh over not being able to practice suburi or iai in the new company gym. I think it will help make a connection, not hurt yoiur chances.

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    • #3
      Otaku is an interesting word. Kendo could fit under that category, but it depends on the connotation of how those people around you use the word. Some people use it strictly for anime/manga otaku, although that is just the most common use of the word. Otaku literally means in the house. An otaku would in theory just stay inside reading manga and watching anime all day. It can have a very negative connotation here to some people. Back in the states, I have seen people use the word proudly though because it just describes their interest, but the word lacks the nerdy in the house connotation back home.

      It also has an expanded meaning though to mean super big fan of something. There are sports otaku and game otaku and ___ and ___ and ___, etc. It can mean that you are a super big fan of whatever kind of otaku you are.

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      • #4
        I think you want the term "kenkichi".
        As to what it means on a CV - just as there are people who would receive a positive impression from seeing that you do rugby, and people who would think you were a boorish brute, it really depends upon whoever's reading the CV. By and large, I'd say that most Japanese people think that people who continue kendo for a long time are a little strange, and probably a bit staid and conservative, although they're not going to tell you that in most cases.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by nodachi
          Otaku is an interesting word. Kendo could fit under that category, but it depends on the connotation of how those people around you use the word. Some people use it strictly for anime/manga otaku, although that is just the most common use of the word. Otaku literally means in the house. An otaku would in theory just stay inside reading manga and watching anime all day. It can have a very negative connotation here to some people. Back in the states, I have seen people use the word proudly though because it just describes their interest, but the word lacks the nerdy in the house connotation back home.

          It also has an expanded meaning though to mean super big fan of something. There are sports otaku and game otaku and ___ and ___ and ___, etc. It can mean that you are a super big fan of whatever kind of otaku you are.
          You're interpretation of the word 'Otaku' is a little off target. It's a nice explanation, but the origins of the word are different from what you are suggesting.
          I did a massive amount of research on this on another forum and I'll see if I can drag it up.

          I trained with the Ichinikai mob on Saturday and there were plenty of otaku among them. But these are a bunch of people who's common interests are kendo and the internet, so what do you expect?
          Where I normally train there are hard arse kendo players but not too many otaku. But then again I guess to be able to survive kendo into adulthood you need a slightly obsessive personality so there might be a tendency towards otaku-ness.
          As Kingofmyrrh said you're more likely to be seen as conservative.
          Stick it on your resume. It's probably not that big a deal, but I'm quite sure you wont be discriminated against because of it.

          Note: never, ever tell a Japanese girl you are interested in that you play kendo. This will without fail send her packing. Take some advice from one who's tried.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Nanbanjin
            Note: never, ever tell a Japanese girl you are interested in that you play kendo. This will without fail send her packing. Take some advice from one who's tried.
            Is that the whole "smells bad", "spends all his money on kendo stuff (not me)", "comes home late, tired and drunk" thing?

            I don't understand, where's the problem?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Paikea
              Is that the whole "smells bad", "spends all his money on kendo stuff (not me)", "comes home late, tired and drunk" thing?

              I don't understand, where's the problem?
              I think it's more a matter of 'having a foreign boyfriend is really cool and everything, but the kendo thing just doesn't match my Louis Vuitton handbag. Couldn't you just lie like all the other white guys and say you're a surfer? That'll sound better when I tell my friends'.

              Otaku

              From the Goo Dictionary

              おたく【▽御宅】

              (Noun)
              1. A word used to show respect when referring to someone's house or household.
              As in 「明日―に伺います」

              2. A word used to show respect when referring to someone's husband.

              3. A word used to show respect when referring to a company or organisation that someone belongs to.
              As in ―では新製品を出されたそうですね」

              4. A slang word used by young people to describe a person who is knowledgable to an abnormal extent regarding a certain field.
              As in 「漫画―」

              (Pronoun)
              A pronoun used in the second person to express light respect in relation to someone of a similar standing with whom one does not have a close relationship.
              「―の御意見はいかがですか」



              The usage you are referring to is as in 4. in the above.

              This term was first coined by Nakamori Akio in the 'bishohjo manga ( 美柔女漫画 ) 「 漫画ブリッコ」 in a series of satirical articles written after he visited a 'comic market' (コミケット) . Articles in the series included 「おた・」の研究(1)、「おた・」の研究(2) and お宅の地域に迷い込んだんで (A study of 'Otaku' (1), A study of 'Otaku' (2), Lost in the Land of Otaku).
              The articles are amusing but extremely cruel and their inclusion in 「漫画ブリッコ」 is interesting as the articles seem to be in part an indictment of the audinece of this magazine.

              To translate a section of the first article:

              If you think about it these people aren't just confined to Manga fans and Comic Markets. You find these people lined up at the opening sessions of new Anime films, nearly getting killed on train lines for the sake of getting a photo of the 'Bluetrain' with their favourite camera, with their bookshelves brimming with SF magazine back editions and the SF series 金背銀背 by Hayakawa, young science buffs gathered in PC shops with milk bottle bottom glasses, or gathering in the early hours of the morning to get the best position at book signings of their favourite idols, ( couldn't translate this bit 有名進学塾に通ってて勉祇取っちゃったら単にイワシ目 の愚者になっちゃうオドオドした態度のボクちゃん ), and people who go on and on about audio technology. You might usually call these people マニア or 熱狂的ファン or maybe even ネクラ族 (Interestingly this refers to 'necromaniacs'), but these terms seem somehow inappropriate. I can't help but think that to date there is yet to be a term coined that accurately describes these people, or the phenomenom that they embody. Because of this I have, with some degree of reason, decided to call these people 'Otaku' (オタク)

              I'm sure you get the picture.

              The second article explains the decision to use the word オタク

              In the last edition I explained that I had decided to give the name 「おたく」 to the swarms of young necromanics we are seeing increase at the end of this millenium. The origin of 「おたく」 is, I'm sure you've worked it out already; I mean, doesn't it make you feel ill to hear the way junior high kids at Comic Markets and Animation Fairs call their friends 「おたくらさぁ」 ?

              From the articles by Nakamori you can see that he is trying do describe something that there wasn't really a good Japanese word for until he came up with his own. It's little wonder that it's hard to translate this one into English. Maybe we should just use the Japanese word, or and anglicised version of it.

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              • #8
                Interesting note

                I remember that when I travelled interstate for a kendo competition the lady I was staying with came to watch and said 'it seems like rugby for nerds'.
                The description hurt, but looking around I couldn't help but agree. That was about ten years ago and while things have gotten a bit better since then I still think that outside Japan kendo tends to attract otaku - often rejects from other sports tried and failed, or those wanting to put an extra bit of flavour into their fighting fantasy role playing games, fascinated with militarism but physically weak, uncordinated and socially inept. Kendo nerds.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Nanbanjin
                  I remember that when I travelled interstate for a kendo competition the lady I was staying with came to watch and said 'it seems like rugby for nerds'.
                  The description hurt, but looking around I couldn't help but agree. That was about ten years ago and while things have gotten a bit better since then I still think that outside Japan kendo tends to attract otaku - often rejects from other sports tried and failed, or those wanting to put an extra bit of flavour into their fighting fantasy role playing games, fascinated with militarism but physically weak, uncordinated and socially inept. Kendo nerds.
                  You are so right...
                  http://www.kendo-world.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9439

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Well,, I thought Otaku started with Manga and Animation. But now, it it understood as someone who is obssesed at something. It could be new gadget, sports or even Kendo.

                    How does kendkoka treated in Japan ??? Are we just old fart ? How does it percieved in Japanese youngsters ? Not so cool sport ??

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rainmaker
                      How does kendkoka treated in Japan ??? Are we just old fart ? How does it percieved in Japanese youngsters ? Not so cool sport ??
                      ... I always think of kendo as an activity zealous parents drag their kids into. Considering the amount of children starting, practising 7 days a week, and then dropped out at University... Which is much like other sports or even playing musicla instruments. Only a minority gets really good at kendo and can pursue a career out of it.

                      I'll let those living in Japan to elaborate...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mingshi
                        ... I always think of kendo as an activity zealous parents drag their kids into. Considering the amount of children starting, practising 7 days a week, and then dropped out at University... Which is much like other sports or even playing musicla instruments. Only a minority gets really good at kendo and can pursue a career out of it.
                        At our dojo we get a number of adults who fit the above profile that come to NYC and somehow find us. They start kendo again, this time willingly and they have a much better appreciation.

                        Some years ago I was coming back to US from Japan and had my bogu and a large number of shinai. At the airport the police came up to me while I was going through security and asked about the shinai (He asked if I was fishing) I answered that I was there for kendo. When I went to pick up my luggage he stopped me and called over two other police. They took my gear and told me to follow them. They led me to the international departure lounge and had the airline open up a new check-in line just for me. The airline upgraded me.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mingshi
                          ... I always think of kendo as an activity zealous parents drag their kids into. Considering the amount of children starting, practising 7 days a week, and then dropped out at University... Which is much like other sports or even playing musicla instruments. Only a minority gets really good at kendo and can pursue a career out of it.

                          I'll let those living in Japan to elaborate...
                          it's really hard to appreciate something when one is foced into something. i remember from when i was 3 until i was 10, my father who loved to play ice hockey would take me to skating every winter. i used to sit on snack bar and just gorge myself with 'duk-bok-ghi' and 'oh-daeng'.

                          then when i was in grad school, i picked up a hockey skate and learned how to skate. i do have much better appreciation for skating now.

                          tho.. for life of me, i can't appreciate golf which my father tried to have me play for decades.

                          and i think i did same thing with my son who is now 4 yrs old.. he hates TKD with passion.. lol

                          pete

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by rainmaker
                            How does it percieved in Japanese youngsters ? Not so cool sport ??
                            Some years ago a guy from our dojo had visitors from Japan. He invited the youngsters to watch a kendo tournament and they said that kendo is boring and it stinks.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Ha! Ha!

                              Originally posted by Stefan
                              Some years ago a guy from our dojo had visitors from Japan. He invited the youngsters to watch a kendo tournament and they said that kendo is boring and it stinks.
                              Well the stink part certainly is right. But everyone here likes to categorize it as "couleur locale" or something.

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