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The Japan Times On Sundayの書評はオタク文化を取り上げたMoe Manifestoが選ばれていました。導入部分を読むだけでもメイドはFrench maid、美少女はcute cartoon girl、くりっとした瞳はdewy saucer-like Bambi eyesなど、表現の勉強にもなります(まあ、使い場所はそんなにないでしょうけど。。。)

Japan’s ‘Moe’ obsession: the purest form of love, or creepy fetishization of young girls?

Anyone who has visited Tokyo’s Akihabara district in the past decade will have run into countless images of cartoonish girls: in posters, in figurines and in the form of real women dressed up as French maids.

The cute cartoon girls, or bishōjo, are visual hieroglyphics in the language of otaku (obsessive) desire. Their dewy saucer-like Bambi eyes seem to encode an inscrutable message that can be bewildering to the uninitiated. Why the endless repetition of this waif? Is there some pre-”Sailor Moon” archetype they are trying to recapture? What does it all mean?

著者のPatrick Galbraithさんは前作Otaku encyclopediaではドラゴンボールのコスプレを披露していました。自分としては書評をした人が語っているTo me it is shorthand for moeru gomi (burnable trash)という部分、moeと言えば燃えるゴミだという方に近いでしょうか(苦笑)

Otaku scholar Patrick W. Galbraith has tried to decipher the semiotics by focusing on one keyword in the otaku lexicon: moe (for some reason written with a French accent over the “e” in his book, unlike “anime”). It’s from the Japanese verb moeru, meaning either to burst into bud or to burn, depending on the way it’s written. In geek-speak, it signifies the emotional attachment that otaku feel for their favorite characters. Galbraith’s “The Moe Manifesto” is a collection of 19 interviews with manga and anime artists and producers that aims to better understand what motivates otaku.

I confess that although I enjoy quality anime, I’m no fan of moe. To me it is shorthand for moeru gomi (burnable trash). But I read this book in hopes of gaining insight into what would make grown men — and many if not most otaku are such — obsess over cartoon girls. Is it a sexual fetish? A Peter Pan complex? Or some other unfulfilled desire?

The Otaku Encyclopedia: An Insider's Guide to the Subculture of Cool JapanThe Otaku Encyclopedia: An Insider's Guide to the Subculture of Cool Japan
Patrick W. Galbraith


Otaku encyclopediaの頃にMetropolisでも特集をくまれていました。O is for Otakuと題して、オタク用語を説明してくれています。O is for Otakuの表現については過去に記事にさせていただきました。

I is for infantの意味がピンとこなかったのですが、どうやらアルファベットの教え方の定番として(アルファベット文字)is for (そのアルファベットから始まる単語)という表現があるようです。児童英語をやっている方にはおなじみかもしれませんね。

O is for Otaku
A handy new guide covers Japanese subculture from A to Z
By: Patrick W. Galbraith | Jun 25, 2009 | No Comments | 3,454 views

As the author of Metropolis’ biweekly “Pop Life” columns, Patrick W. Galbraith gives Tokyo expats insight into Japan’s contemporary cultural landscape. Now, the 27-year-old Alaska native is reaching out to a wider audience. The Otaku Encyclopedia, released earlier this month by Kodansha International, is the most comprehensive look yet at Japan’s glorious geekdoms, offering a ground’s-eye view of the phenomenon that’s sparked worldwide interest. Here’s a taste of some of the fun between the covers.—Steve Trautlein

手塚治虫について語っているGalbraithさんを見るといたって真面目な人だということがうかがえますが、インタビューを読むと筋金入りのオタクであることが分かります。Life was exciting in comparison to back in rural Montana, and I got lost in it.と語っていますね。アメリカというとニューヨークやカリフォルニアを連想するので、モンタナの田舎の生活は想像できないですね。。。

Why Japan? I lived in Tokyo for six years. Ostensibly I came to study, but actually it was all about watching the freshest anime. Life was exciting in comparison to back in rural Montana, and I got lost in it.
Uber-fan obsessions? Maid cafés. I found my way to Akihabara and became obsessed with the whole phenomenon. Believe it or not I made a lot of friends there—regulars, not maids! —and keep in contact. Then I found the theater and my obsession shifted to AKB48. My obsessions continue to grow and evolve. Tokyo is exciting that way.
When did you realize you were an otaku? When I decided it would be better to finish watching Nadia: Secret of Blue Water than take a final exam in university. No, wait! It was before that. Looking back on it, probably the first time I tattooed an imaginary girlfriend on me was the end of my regular social life, when I began my journey into the dark heart of addiction.
Favorite otaku spot? I still buy all my bishojo games in Akihabara, so, yeah… All the politicking and promoting irks me, but I’m unable to keep my distance. Bad romance, indeed!
Where will you go when you return? Messe Sanoh in Akihabara.
Your ideal otaku-related day? It’s a Sunday, after a late night watching anime. Nakano Broadway at 11am, before the crowds. Strung out on anime, hungry, legs killing me—head to Akihabara to take in the energy. The sights and sounds, the people, the crush of bodies, as intimate as it is alienating.