Why is the word for geek (おたく otaku) and the polite for you (お宅 おたく otaku) the same?

They could just be homophones, something which Japanese has a huge number of, but one explanation link the two. One sign of the lack of social skills of otaku was using overformal language like お宅 with each other, so much so that it eventually became their name for each other

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2 Comments

  1. Dagbert said,

    February 9, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Actually, I think it comes from the other Japanese homophone “otaku,” the polite deferent for “home,” as many otaku spent all their time in their rooms, or at their parents’ house.

  2. alexcase said,

    February 10, 2008 at 3:40 am

    Thanks, I hadn’t heard that theory. The word for your house and you are actually the same (in the same way as 内に帰る uchi ni kaeru = go home and 内の会社 uchi no kaisha = our company use “uchi” to mean me or us and my our home), but the derivation of visiting each other’s houses was a new one on me. All explanations welcome here!


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