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OtapediaOtaku Culture Worldwide and Vocaloid

The otaku culture is a Japanese subculture born around 1980. It is one of the biggest and more diverse subcultures in Japan. Those who take part in this culture are known as otaku, people with obsessive interests, particularly in anime and manga.
Some publications classify otaku in distinct groups such as anime, manga, idol, electronics or automobile otaku. Inside these groups, there can be subgroups. For example, the Vocaloid otakus inside the idol group.

Otaku culture worldwide

Otaku culture started spreading worldwide thanks to popular anime shows like One Piece, Dragon Ball, Naruto or Bleach, making what started as a niche culture in the west grow into a great phenomenon.
Nowadays there are thousands of anime conventions and millions of fans worldwide who are interested in all kinds of aspects of Japanese pop culture like anime, manga, idols, etc. This has made it such that the anime industry in North America is worth $2.74 billion, twice the worth of their comic book industry ($1.03 billion).

Otaku culture and Vocaloid on the west

Vocaloid became a whole phenomenon in Japan around 2007 and didn’t take much time until it extended to the rest of the world with Hatsune Miku at the center. One of the most well-known videos that helped to its popularization is one in which Hatsune Miku held a Welsh onion and sang the Finnish song “Ievan Polkka.”
Even today Vocaloid is still being a huge phenomenon in the west. One of the biggest Vocaloid-related events worldwide is the HATSUNE MIKU EXPO, a world concert tour organized by Crypton Future Media focused on Hatsune Miku.
Vocaloid otaku are a subgroup of idol otaku and concerts aimed at this kind of audience are usually different. Glow sticks and chants are a fundamental part of idol concerts. In these concerts, the audience will chant together and shake their glow sticks to the beat of the music to show their excitement for their idols.

East Meets West

Vocaloid fans from all around the world celebrate their passion for Vocaloid by attending global events. Language barriers can pose an issue for communication but, in general, Japanese fans attending overseas events want to learn English and other foreign languages and English fans want to learn more about Japan and its culture.
After major events sponsored by Crypton Future Media, many attendees will organize offline parties (オフ会, off-kai). Originally titled offline to denote friends who meet from the Internet, these parties are traditionally held in restaurants where fans can further cement new bonds and friendships with people they meet overseas. Fans bring their favorite Vocaloid figurines and dolls, including the Dollfie-branded ones, to the restaurants and take many photos of them all gathered in a single place.
Many of these parties can last all night, culminating in an unofficial music and DJ event. At these music events, professional and amateur DJs alike play Vocaloid music in a multitude of genres and fans bring their glow sticks, usually purchased at events, and dance throughout the evening.

Moreover, outside of the event days, fans worldwide will hold offline parties to celebrate their favorite Vocaloid's birthday. During these events, merchandise from only the Vocaloid being celebrated is brought and gathered together. These can include plush toys, but also pin badges and hand-made crafts. Cards and flowers are organized and sent to the Vocaloid's company's offices as well as presents.

For new game releases, many fans will stream their gameplay online and thousands of comments from viewers will be written, many of them typing out the lyrics to songs that are being played. Others may not even play the game at all but instead sing along to songs featured in the game, akin to karaoke, but with a far broader audience.
Finally, a popular type of meeting was done during the Vocaloid Boom, from 2008 to 2013, where fans would gather on the corner of major intersections and dance along to their favorite song. As many as one thousand fans would gather at these dancing events. Many of them were recorded from a higher vantage point and uploaded to Nico Nico Douga and YouTube, and quite a few of these "dance-off" videos have reached millions of views.


Wikipedia - Otaku
Miku Expo
Wikipedia - Japanese pop culture in the United States

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