So begins what is our most ambitious project so far, the Otaku Diaries. The Otaku Diaries is a peek into the minds and lives of a diverse selection of members of anime fandom. We asked for their stories of what makes them fans and how has their anime fandom effected their lives and loves. We asked what do anime and manga fans have in common and what makes them individuals. We have asked how they feel about anime and manga, their fellow fans , and themselves. I am sure anyone who has ever been a part of an anime club or gone to a convention has wonder what is up with that guy or what is that girl’s story. The people who responded to fill out the survey come from a wide of variety of backgrounds from all over the world. We had participants of all ages, genders, ethnicities, professions, and backgrounds. The only requirement that was a necessity was a love of anime and manga.
This idea came up quite suddenly and almost as suddenly it became a reality. Maybe we are just a curious duo, and since we paint ourselves as sleuths maybe this is no surprise, but we just plain wanted to know about the growing hordes of otaku out there. People involved heavily in a hobby have something that bonds them to their fellow connoisseurs. However, it becomes increasingly clear the more people you meet that there is no one story that is the same and many don’t seem to deem their peers as equals. But maybe, just maybe, there are more things to relate to than previously thought. In fact, one of the reasons I was curious to do this is the sweeping diversity and sometimes fracturing of anime fandom.
We asked 40 anime fans for a brief self-description along with 125 questions broken into in three categories. Questions asked about the user’s relationships, self-image, and views of otakudom. We tried to pick questions that gave us a detailed look into the lives of each of our participants. Through these answers we hopped to gain a better understanding of how each participant dealt with their friends, families, lovers, fellow anime fans, and themselves.
Any good research should start with some basic statistics of your group! So before diving in to the more telling answers in coming posts we wanted you to have any idea of just who our participants are:
Our goal was never to view fandom as a whole because our sample size is just too small. It would be nice to do so but we just don’t have the man power and time for that sort of experiment. We would need at least 1,000 participants to make any sort solid conclusions. Instead we focused on getting a more intimate look at a smaller sample size. So when we makes observations it is important to remember that we are only basing our observations on the people included in our survey. We are not as foolish as to assume that a sample of 40 people necessarily fully represent of all of anime fandom. If we were to do that, just by our statistics only we would conclude that there are no gays or lesbians in anime and manga fandom. Which is clearly crazy talk. Such a small sample size will also lead to some amount of skewed results due to the roulette of chance. This does not mean that there is nothing to be gained other than entertainment for the experiment. There are truths and revelations in our participants answers. They are just more likely to be personal answers rather than universal ones.
I don’t think we have aspired so high as to make any concrete observations here. Heck, we are missing the entire non-English speaking world of anime fans! But there is something to be learned from any one person, let alone having 40 telling you their stories. I was looking forward to seeing the varying degrees by which all fans live but also to see how their stories relate to my own. Perhaps that sounds incredibly self-serving but I think everyone, us included, will walk away from this venture with a bit of a better understanding of their fellow anime neighbors.
21 thoughts on “Otaku Diaries Part 1: Lies, damn lies, and statistics”
I don’t know if I would ever consume any food item made by otaku “dairies.” One dare wonder where the “milk” originated.
Hm, the piece of data I found most interesting is that 74% of those surveyed did not follow an organized religion. I assumed the number would be high, like 40-50%, but not almost 3/4 of the poll. Then again, as stated, it’s a pretty small sample size. Still, was surprising to me.
I do wonder if there were any expectations on how many people you wanted to see participate, or things like that.
Argh, now you’ve hooked me and left me with a MONSTER of a cliffhanger! I’m very interested to see what you’ve come up with. Next Monday couldn’t come soon enough.
Is it really “next Monday”? The end of the post says “the first Monday of every month,” which would be August 3rd. If that really is the schedule, this’ll take years to get through! Also, I’ll forget it exists after the 13th.
Ah, you’re right Daryl. I guess I misread the post. Yeah, so it’s going to be quite a long time before this whole thing is finished, unless each post is incredibly long.
The schedule is once a month. At this point that isn’t going to change for a number of reasons. First being that we have time sensitive posts, especially during the con season, that cannot wait or would be foolish to push back in favor of this project. Second the data compiling for each post is not mere regurgitation of what was written in the surveys. Each post will have a theme that will cover multiple questions/sections of the survey. Also we won’t be posting about things we didn’t feel have interesting results. So not every question will appear or get its own post. But this takes thought and theory to be thrown around making the posts an undertaking. And last, we just plain don’t want to ONLY write about this project.
It is possible in the fall months when things slow down as far as events go that we may change the format to twice a month. Until then, thanks for your interest in the project.
Interesting results already…I can’t wait to see how this turns out.
As much as I understand why, once a month is gonna KILL me waiting for more….
One question though is will the ‘Thieves’ be going to any conventions in the coming months and will it be possible to meet with them?
Unless tragedy strikes one or both of us we should be attending Otakon and New York Anime Festival this year. I don’t think that either of us had planned to attend any other anime cons or other cons for that matter. I can’t say would would not be interested in going to other cons but neither of us is rolling in the cash.
If we are attending any cons we usually throw any such events in the events section at least 2 weeks to a month in advance.
I’m surprised by the gender ratio myself. Were this taking place 5+ or so years ago, I would find it perfectly normal, but the amout of female otaku has increased over the years, so the numbers being that drastically far apart surprised me. Also the overwhelming number of heterosexuals kinda surprised me at first, then I looked at the fact that there were so many more males answering the survey, and, in my experience, guys tend to have a harder time admitting that they like other guys than girls do admitting they like other girls, even anonymously.
It’s an awesome thing you’re doing here.
When I spent time (several years ago) talking with anime fans of all types, I found the experience to be eye-opening and inspiring.
I really look forward to hearing the personal stories you collected!
Huzzah for a most excellent and thorough start! Definitely will be interested to read what follows. And hooray for the “2D Only” section of the sexual orientation chart *lol*.
I think this would be really interesting if you increased the pool of those interviewed. The more data, the better, I say!
The main problem is we don’t get paid for this nor is it part of a scholarly paper. It is something we did for fun. If we did the professionally we would have gotten at least 100 people. If we do another project we will try to increase the number of people we use by greatly narrowing the scope of the project we do. But I think it was a good first attempt.
Oh I completely agree. If you ever do it again, I’ll be more than willing to be interviewed for this. My views are a lot different than the norm observed.