Japan hosts world’s first ‘Otaku’ (Anime geeks) summit

Japan hosts world’s first ‘Otaku’ (Anime geeks) summit

 Expo visitors dressed as their favourite anime characters pose for photographers yesterday. Photo: AFP

Japan opened what organisers are billing as the world’s first “Otaku” summit yesterday, drawing visitors from around the globe as the country looks to boost the international fan base for Japanese comic books and anime.

So-called Otaku – usually translated as “geeks” – from at least 18 countries and territories, many dressed as their favourite anime characters, were converging on the Otaku Expo at a convention centre near Tokyo for the two-day event.

The expo is part of a special comic book fair held every five years, which attracts about half a million visitors. However, this year’s event marked the first time that groups from outside Japan were invited. About four dozen overseas Otaku groups were expected to attend.

Briton Katie Carter, 23, was dressed as Usagi Tsukino, a character from the popular Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon – a television series based on the Sailor Moon manga created by Naoko Takeuchi.

“This is amazing. There are so many people of different cultures coming together,” she said.

The culture of Otaku has grown into a major industry in Japan. The term is commonly used in the country to refer to people obsessed with Japan’s unique take on comics and animation.

While it once carried a negative connotation, many Otaku are now proudly displaying their love for two-dimensional heroes – while the number of foreign fans is also soaring.

“The number of foreign visitors has been increasing over recent years,” said Kahoru Yasuda, co-chief of the organiser, Comic Market Committee.

Otaku culture is spreading worldwide “like a big snowball picking up a pace”, Carter said.

Another expo visitor, Valentino Notari, 28, said of the Otaku culture outside Japan: “In my country, Italy, currently it’s a very big thing.

“It used to be much smaller. We used to be sort of outcasts when we started back then about 10 years ago, and now it’s becoming massive,” Notari said.

“It’s quite fun and nowadays everybody accepts it.”

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Robert Chaen

Global CEO-Founder of ChangeU and Movsha Movers & Shakers, Hero-CEO Whisperer, Writer, The #1 Alpha Change Expert, Father of Asian FireWalking Robert Chaen is an International Keynote Speaker, writer, researcher, and corp games designer. He is famously known to be the “Hero-CEO Whisperer”, 1-on1 coaching with many CEOs and Celebrities for corporate strategies, staff & office political issues, personal branding, and even public figure OSHA safety drilling called Drager Defense. He has transformed CEOs and managers in Coca-Cola China, TVB Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airport Services, VADS, TM, Public Bank, Auditor General's Office Maldives, etc. He is the prolific creator and online Author of innovative management tools such as DragonCEO, Diamond Leader, Papillon Personal Effectiveness, OSHA Drager Defense, KPI Bank, etc. He is also the Founder of Movsha, an international networking with monthly mingles with MOVers & SHAkers, Angels, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Celebrities, HR-PR-CSR, HODs, and the Most Influential IDEA people. ​Chaen is widely considered as one of the top International Platform Keynote Speakers for Resorts World Genting Senior Management Conference (Manila), 7-Eleven HK, Samsung, Coca-Cola China Mini-MBA @Tsing Hua University, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Jockey Club, The Story Conference where he interviewed Datuk Kamarudin (Chairman of AirAsia) and Siti Nurhaliza. He has been widely featured in TVB, AWSJ, CNBC, SCMP, The Star, and Sin Chew. As “The Father of Asian FireWalking”, he coached TVB celebrities (Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin) to walk on 650°C fire; and raised HK$68M in the world’s 1st and only live TV Charity FireWalk (TVB Tung Wah Charity Show), before Tony Robbins even came to Asia. If Robert can get you to walk on 650⁰C fire, he can inspire you to be THE BEST. He champions CN-HK-EU-US Tycoons to be philanthropic, and to be angel investors to support the next generation of Jack Mas, Steve Jobs, Richard Bransons, Steven Spielbergs, or Barrack Obamas. With some slick motivational speakers with fake doctorates out there, graduates often describe Robert to be "the most credible, empowering, truthful Coach" who believe in his graduates to believe in themselves. ​However, clients have described Robert as "The #1 Cool Badass Alpha Change Expert". He has the coolest first class stature, rapport and trust from clients. He will not hesitate to tell the badass truth ever so gently because clients are paying him big bucks to reveal the truth, find solutions, persuade the hostile HODs, and align cross-teams within the organization. Originally based in Hong Kong for 20+ years, he had worked with top Branding/Ad agencies at J Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett, and was a certified FranklinCovey (7 Habits) in USA, and NLP MasterCoach (USA). His warmth is known to soften the most hardened, resistant sceptics. He will inspire your team to Go for Top 1, or to be a Dragon CEO. With boundless energies, Robert owns 15+ successful business Joint-Ventures, and created unique products under his global VC network called Chaen's Angels VC. He is deeply passionate about ChangeUTH Youth CSR, Science-Based Medicine (vs. quackery), short films and Reality TV. Touched by a personal tragedy through the loss of his HK-born Portuguese wife, co-coach and business partner, Brenda José of 18 years, Robert explores the many ways in which the spirit world is communicating with the living with real scientific studies and evidence. He gives inspiring conferences on The Secret Afterlife.

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