This Sunday, two individuals tragically lost their lives in a senseless attack. And yesterday, a well-known Japanese journalist tried to connect the stabbings to otaku (geek) culture. Well, that didn't take long.
On TV Asahi's Super J Channel, freelance journalist Akihiro Otani said, "The location where the stabbing happened is close to a known otaku district, Nipponbashi." (Nipponbashi, which is known as Den-Den Town, is the Osaka equivalent of Tokyo's Akihabara.)
Continuing, Otani added, "It's necessary to investigate to see if there isn't a connection to otaku culture."
This is not a throwaway remark. It's another example of Otani's feeble attempts to draw connections between otaku culture and crime—something he's been trying to do for years.
Back in 2004, Otani tried to connect a grisly crime to otaku figurine collecting on the rationale that collecting plastic figurines was like collecting corpses—or something. The killer, who was not an otaku, murdered a young girl, and Otani incorrectly labeled him a figure collecting otaku. While Otani said he wasn't blaming otaku, he did say all otaku could be potential criminals because they lost themselves in anime and video games. (Keep in mind, Otani has authored several manga!)
Online in Japan, people took to Twitter, voicing their disapproval of Otani and the latest garbage he spewed and pointing out that Kyozo Isohi, the attacker, was already proven to be a former biker gang member and not an otaku. That isn't saying all bikers are bad (they are not!), but what does otaku subculture have to do with anything?
Drug addiction, money problems, a criminal record, and a deeply troubled individual are in play here, not the Japanese nerd culture sold in nearby Nipponbashi.
To add insult to injury, one of the deceased, Shingo Minamino, worked for a game company. He worked on otaku music. His company churns outs entertainment tailored specifically for otaku. Yet, this is also unrelated to the attack. It is related to Minamino's life and work. Otani's attempt to connect the attacker's motive and otaku subculture isn't only misguided, but it's an affront to the work and memory of Shingo Minamino.