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1.72 Million Otaku in Japan

posted on 2005-10-10 11:39 EDT
Survey Finds Japanese Otaku Market to be Worth ¥411 Billion a Year

The Nomura Research Institute has published a survey of the Japanese otaku market. According to the survey, there are 1.72 million otaku in Japan and the market for otaku related products and services is worth ¥400 billion (US$3.6 billion) a year.

The otaku are not limited to anime and manga otaku, but include those obsessed with electronics, computer games, idols and so on. In all, the study breaks otaku down into 12 different groups, based on their obsessions.

Manga otaku were identified as the largest group, numbering 350,000 and spending ¥83 billion a year on manga and related products.

The second largest group, dedicated to idols and other celebrities, numbers 280,000 and spends ¥61 billion a year.

Travel lovers were fewer but spent more, numbering 250,000 and spending ¥81 billion. Next were computer otaku, numbering 190,000 and spending ¥36 billion, followed by video game otaku who number 160,000 and drive a ¥21 billion market.

The remaining groups were:

Cars: 140,000 otaku, ¥54 billion market
Animation: 110,000 otaku, ¥20 billion market
Portable IT Equipment: 70,000 otaku, ¥8 billion market
AV Equipment: 60,000 otaku, ¥12 billion market
Cameras: 50,000 otaku, ¥18 billion market
Fashion: 40,000 otaku, ¥13 billion market
Railroad: 20,000 otaku, ¥4 billion market

The study also identified a number of different behavioural categories of otaku. The largest group, accounting for some 25% of all otaku, were "closet otaku," people who have little time or money for their obsession and often keep it a secret. Many of the closet otaku are married and have children, so their family lives leave them with very little time to devote to their hobbies.

Other categories included "Internet otaku", those who devote time online to their hobbies and "proselytising otaku," those that try to get other people into their hobby.

While otaku are generally looked down upon in Japan (the word itself is somewhat derogatory) the report suggests that companies market directly to the various otaku markets, "The otaku who lavish as much money as possible in the areas they are particular about are a group that should not be ignored in making corporate marketing strategies."

The Study was conducted over the Internet using a sample of 10,000 Japanese citizens.

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