Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Folk Studies and Anthropology

Document Type



There is a population of people that refer to themselves as otaku, which has come to mean someone who is a fan—to the point of adoration, in most cases—of Japanese media. For otaku, going to Japan is a journey of zealous force—almost a pilgrimage—to the Mecca of the otaku experience. I have undertaken an autoethnographic study that observed a few American otaku traveling in Japan. I recorded the events of each day and the behaviors that I and the otaku with me exhibited during these events, attempting to pay special attention to the tensions between otaku subjects and specific aspects of Japanese culture we recognized from referential encounters in America. What I came to recognize is that our journey resembles a story of growth and cultural maturation. It is my hope that my analysis of our experiences can tell cultural studies about the nature of the otaku subculture and international relationships between culture groups.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Kate Hudepohl