Otaku in Juarez

Urban tribes are defined as a group of young people who share habits, customs, ways of dressing, speaking, etc. But, today I want to talk about a particular urban tribe, the so-called “otakus”.

The word “otaku” refers to lovers of Japanese culture, in its most palpable manifestations, such as anime and manga. According to the origin of this word, which derives from Japanese, it serves to refer to people who have a “hobby” for something. However, over time it became more concrete for anime and manga fans.

According to some sources, the term was first used in an essay by Akio Nakamori, in the 1983 Manga Burikko magazine. Back then the term “otaku” – which was little known – was used in a pejorative and stigmatizing way. However, it was in 1989 when the term became widespread due to a serial killer named Tsutomu Miyazaki, who was dubbed “the otaku killer” by the media, given his obsession with anime and manga.

Despite how dark the history of this term may sound, the reality is that today the people who come to be considered as “otakus” have been characterized by being quite calm and cheerful, because within their behavior, they try to reproduce the discipline , perseverance and improvement; qualities that are present in Japanese culture.

Between 2009 and 2011, the “otakus” began to make themselves present at the border and to take possession of various spaces in Ciudad Juárez. But, there is one in particular, which has become the favorite geometric point for fans of Japanese culture, the iconic Plaza de las Américas.

To speak of the Juarez of those years (2009-2014) is to speak of bitter memories, since it was a time when violence reigned right and left in our city (still, but we have gotten used to it). Executions at any time of the day, kidnappings, extortions, and others kept many businesses sunny, so several businesses began to decline. Without a doubt, it was the otakus with their particular event, the “Otaku Bazaar”, who gave hope to said Plaza to continue operating.

Events such as the “Otaku Bazaar” have been a great respite for the young people of this border who have found a way to have fun in a safe and healthy way, expressing their joy and fascination with anime characters, in such a way that when one walks through In the corridors of the mall you can see how adults and children parade displaying their magnificent costumes (cosplay) of anime characters such as Dragon Ball, Naruto, Shingeki no Kyojin, Kimetsu no Yaiba, One Piece, Tokyo Revengers, Jujutsu Kaisen, among others. .

But the positive things do not end there, because the “Otaku Bazaar” has proven to be very respectful and inclusive, since people who like the culture of superheroes and villains from Star Wars, Marvel, DC Comics have joined the costume parade. , among others, that are not part of Japanese culture. For this reason, they have managed to consolidate themselves as an event for all ages, and all tastes, thus generating a positive reference for our border.

So, if your child, partner or family member identifies as “otaku”, don’t panic, learn how to make good sushi, ramen and/or onigiri and enjoy the anime and manga with them; go to the “Otaku Bazaar” that takes place in Plaza de las Américas and have fun with a very particular style.