OTAKU--n. From the Japanese, literally meaning "house". In Japan, the term refers to someone with a heavy, ans sometimes near-religious interest in something....Many Anime fans in Western cultures proudly call themselves Otaku, using the term to describe themselves as "hard core", or knowledgeable, Anime fans. --From www.animeinfo.org
OTHERKIN--A soul or body of non-Human origins...Otherkin...are people who have had past lives as non-Humans. And for most, it has affected them enough for them to now consider their soul, their essence, other than human. "Other than Human", of course, can have many different meanings, and it is because of this that the Otherkin community is so diverse...given that reincarnation knows no bounds of distance or space, it is reasonable to assume that many humans are of less than pure pedigree, so to speak.
Fantasy cratures are by no means the only type of Otherkin...Different types of Otherkin include 'onworlders' (as opposed to offworlders), who have originated on Earth as non-Humans; these are comprised mainly of various types of animals, or creatures from history--including the Tuatha De Dannan. Of the Offworlders, those that have originated elsewhere, the groups are too varied to possibly list, from Angelics to Zeitgeists and everything in between...there are a...number of Otherkin who claim to be, at least in part, other than Human in body as well as soul.
It (Otherkin-ness)...often sparks a yearning toward other, unexplainable things, a fascination with things beyond the norm...since by definition, Otherkin are greatly influenced by their non-Human side, many of their actions or personalities are coloured in kind...keep in mind that the great diversity...makes it nigh impossible for any sort of universal categorising of labelling.--Saau Hatshepsut
You've Come This Far, Now ACTUALLY READ THE THING. Thank You.
Otakukin-a combination of the words otaku and otherkin--was coined to specifically refer to those otherkin who are heavily influenced by, live with/in, deal with, or are otherwise intimately connected to an Anime/Manga/Live-Action/VGM or related 'dimension', 'world', or paradigm. The initial concept of a supposedly 'fictional' paradigm and/or cosmology having partial or complete basis in an alternative reality is not uncommon among otherkin.
Sections of the community accept as reasonable extrapolations of fact Tolkien-esque elves and fae, Pernian dragons, and other phenotypes resembling or derived from fictional sources. There are numerous theories behind the acceptance of such a concept, ranging from the creators of such fiction's unconcious 'tapping' of these alternate realities to repeated 'imprinting' on the Collective Unconcious (Dreaming, Astral Plane, et al) lending energy and therefore reality to said paradigms. I find either equally potentially valid, as well as many other related and offshoot theories which are too numerous and complex to list here with any hope of being accurate or comprehensive.
Suffice to say thatAnime/Manga/Live Action/Games/etc., which draw heavily upon Japanese/Chinese/Eastern mythology/cosmology/mysticism in general, appears to have one way or another made its 'imprint' known upon the metaphysical world. I've come to accept this through my own personal experiences with these paradigm, as well as an increasing number of unsolicited encounters and external confirmations by and with otherkin experiencing similar influences and shifts.
There seems to be a certain amount of resistance to the idea of Anime and Anime-related paradigms being as valid as the various other 'accepted' 'Kin paradigms/pheonotypes, a somewhat disconcerting and ironic contradiction in an alternative community that accepts everything from therianthropes to extraterrestrial fae. The subsequent apparent lack of acceptance expressed toward those who are influenced by this paradigm is what ultimately led to my decision to build the Temple. It's intended to be a small resource and recourse to those 'Kin dealing with this emerging paradigm, as well as a place for them to learn more about 'Kin-relevant aspects of Anime, Manga, VGMs, etc., as well as providing some links to the general Otherkin community. In the future I hope to have some relevant links as well as an image gallery, information exchange, media recommendations, and the like.Overlaps On A Venn Diagram
(Or, You Enjoy Your "Delusions" and I'll Enjoy Mine.)
This Essay And Its Footnotes Are Under Construction.
I found it very interesting. to say the least, when I first met someone who claimed to be a physical incarnate of a fictional character. Interesting and daunting in that all-too-Eastern sense.
One would probably think that once one accepted that fictional characters could in theory function in capacities from Spirit Guide to Soulbond that:
a) most people will immediately deem the individual making such a claim to be, not to put too fine a point on it, bug-fuck crazy (discounting the all-too-obvious notions that most religions are based on what could kindly be termed poetic allegory)
b) Taking the above into account, that the walk from "Invisible Friend/Spirit guide/etc." to fictional reincarnate, though improbable, should not be all that long a trip.
It did however come as something of a surprise.
For those reading--in particular the joyless types who apparently staunchly refuse to recognize a tongue placed firmly in one's cheek (possibly due to lacking a tongue making contact anywhere *else* on their bodies in an inordinate and frustrating period of time, but that's just a jaded opinion)--the term otakukin was originally coined as something of a *joke*.
The 'joke', such as it is, as stated above, directly references the members of the Otherkin and related communities who find a certain aesthetic identification (the joyless of the world, *including* those in the Otherkin community, should *especially* keep these two words in mind) with Western-centric-mythology-inspired material such as Lord Of The Rings, the novels of Charles De Lint and Laurell K. Hamilton, and other fantasy fiction of similar inspiration.
Not everyone finds their aesthetic identification in Western terms. Some of us are likely to find our 'rightness' in other places. One should also have a healthy sense of humor about themselves in my humble opinion.
Incidentally, unless one is, say, a native of ancient Jerusalem, they too lack any kind of quantifiable 'cultural connection' to, say, Christianity. By this token, the ever-popular Invalidation-Bargaining-Coin #1--that of not being a born native of a given culture--starts to dent once one puts it to the figurative 'bite test'. (This frankly racist and, in blunt terms, retarded concept runs rife in pagan circles, especially that of Asatru.)
A bit of digression.
The concept of "mythification" of fictional characters is not only not new, it could not even by any means classed as uncommon.
Nor is that of a real historical personage being over time imbued with supernormal or 'dieific' traits and abilities. It happens, quite frankly, all the time. It's how Siddartha got there. It's how Jesus and Mary got there. Whether or not He reached enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, or She gave birth to Him in an immaculate conception, is a matter of Faith and personal interpretation, when it comes down to it.
Here's one common and (hopefully) well-known example: Sun Wu Kung (1), the beloved Monkey King of Chinese myth.
Sun Wu Kung did not 'start out' as a God, though he is now *commonly* and *ardently* worshiped as such, especially, interestingly enough, by the Taoist 'lay practitioners' and spirit mediums of Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and Shanghai.
Sun Wu Kung was, originally, an entirely fictional creation from a fictional allegory called Journey To The West, also known as Saiyuki.
This particular fictional allegory, in case one is unfamiliar, examines the conflicts and ultimate tentative resolution of said conflict between the Taoist and Buddhist faiths. It would be difficult to count how many times, and in how many different mediums, this tale has been transmitted and re-adapted.
A conservative estimate of the breadth of Monkey King veneration in the East would undoubtedly put him on a level plain with other common religious figures and icons, such as the Virgin Mary and Gautama Buddha. (In fact, the striking resemblance that the Medium's relationship with a "fictionally drawn" diefic figure bears to many descriptions of the Soul-bonding phenomena and similar 'fictional muses' is one I find fascinating.)
From a (decidedly narrow and not universal) Judeo-Christian perspective, all but the Virgin Mary would be considered 'superstitious idolatry'--but a sizable chunk of the world is neither Christian or Jewish, nor are they particularly interested in becoming either or espousing their particular ideologies.
From a more logical or 'realistic' perspective, it is either *all* superstition, or all something else. If one's basic view is that it is all superstition, it's easy to see how all such things would be categorically and summarily discarded.
Obviously my view is that it is all something else.
What this has to do with aesthetic identification is the already-established notion that Eastern pop culture (encompassing a truly astonishing breadth of modern media, from literature to film to graphic novels and video games) commonly and frequently draws its inspirations directly from a large and complex 'pool' of folklore and mythology.
Diefic/mythological figures major and minor are commonly revamped, modernized, and presented as protagonists and antagonists in modern fictionalizations--either re-tellings of old stories, or brand new situations with similar underlying thematics. This happens again and again, often with the same sets of mythic representations, folk heroes, and diefic figures. From Wong Fei Hong and General Kuan Ti (both historical personages who have been elevated to either dieific and/or folk hero status) to Hattori Hanzo and the Tokugawas of Japan, many thematics, though overlaid with fiction and allegory, remain oddly consistent.
When one examines what a profound influence Chinese culture has had upon Japan, with systems, pantheons and deities frequently grafted wholesale onto more indigenous mythologies, it's not terribly difficult to draw a line straight through to the present.
Even the most cursory research into Chinese and Japanese pop culture representations, along with that of their myths and legends, quickly shows a trend apparently peculiar to the East, which is that of a strong tendency to stick much more closely--more "accurately" if you will--to the letter of their myths and legends. This is also true of their portrayals of metaphysical practices and occult traditions. This is not to say that 'poetic license' is not taken with many of these subjects; good storytelling is frequently not possible without such.
This brings us back to the 'revamping' of European, Nordic, and other myths and legends that are the common basis for a good deal of the fantasy fiction so beloved of Otherkin--persons who believe themselves to be, one way or another (the methods of which are so varied that I will not even *begin* to get into them here--a Google Search does a body good), spiritually/socially/culturally identified with the persons, races, and beings portrayed in ancient world mythology.
Belief in Elves, Faeries, Dryads, Sylphs, and other mythic races is , then and now, as much a cornerstone of both ancient and modern Pagan belief systems as the belief in Angels, Saints, Dorje, and Buddhas is to Judaism, Christianity, and Buddhism.
Belief in the potential physical incarnation of such a being in a human body, especially in the East, is not only considered possible, it's considered more than slightly *common*. The information is out there, waiting to be researched, if one is interested. (if one is not, and discounts all such things as superstitious hogwash to begin with, I would be tempted to wonder what possesses one to even pursue such a line of questioning as I would consider it a cataclysmic waste of time in their position, but, to each their own.)
This brings us back, in a roundabout fashion, to a physical incarnation of a fictional character.
When the rather flip otakukin was coined, it loosely and lightheartedly encompassed those Otherkin, Therians, Metaphysical practitioners, etc. whose aesthetic identification, metaphysical practices, belief systems, and the like leaned toward a more Sino- or Nihon-phile meme.
Just as many martial artists worldwide have been inspired to seriously pursue the fighting arts by pop culture figures such as Bruce Lee, there is a not inconsiderable number of people who have been introduced to the serious pursuit of Chinese and Japanese culture and spirituality by first having been exposed to it through Pop Culture.
Contrary to some rather illogical beliefs, there would seem to be no more or less wrong with this than someone's inspiration to seriously pursue a career as a professional athlete due to sports "fandom".
Jaunting quickly back to the realm of the metaphysical (and again, atheists and 'realists' need not apply nor waste their time), it does not after some minor examination seem terribly farfetched that Sun Wu Kung might take on the appearance of one of the sixty or seventy pop culture portrayals of him to communicate with a devotee, in much the way that "guardian angels" are commonly believed to take on the appearance of a human being or a benevolent loved one for the same purpose.
If he, for instances, wanted to get the attention of a Japanese child, it does not seem outside the realm of possibility that he might represent himself as Dragonball's Son Goku--as Goku is based upon the Monkey King's legends. It's how he might be most readily recognized, and in practical terms, might manage to least frighten the living shit out of the subject.
People have been 'talking to' 'invisible people' for thousands of years. People have also been talking to fictional invisible people for years. This is absolutely nothing new. The "Great Sage Equal To Heaven" is but one example. Interested parties are encouraged to use this as a springboard, if they will.
Otakukin was not intended to represent someone who believed themselves to be the incarnation of a fictionally represented character. As the word got out, it came to include it. In fact, the swiftness with which people adopted the terminology once it was put out there was more than a little daunting, as was the sheer number of people who shared similar, unvoiced, beliefs.
Having said that, there is an entire series of worldwide subcultures and indeed major world religions that believe, in a myriad of variants, in some form of reincarnation.
Contrary to the completely erroneous yet ever-popular Invalidation Coin #2 that all who believe in reincarnation claim to be Princesses, Kings, Statesmen, and Holy Men, many commonly believe in previous incarnations of everything from Atlantean Commoner to European Serf, to Chinese Merchant, to Drug addict, to disgraced spouse, to Egyptian Slave. To them, it's no stranger than God or Angels and is just as much a fact of life.
If so many fictionally represented characters are in some way based upon or inspired by some connection with history and/or myth and folklore, it would seem inevitable that at some point some believers in reincarnation might eventually come up with some pretty eerie aces on the fictional front.
The Soulbonding phenomenon (another popular chew toy for people who are obviously so normal, well adjusted, and of social worth that they feel compelled to ridicule someone whose experiences differ from theirs) may or may not be some manifestation of this; many of the resemblances are quite striking and interesting.
The Otherkin subculture has more in common with these situations than they would often like to admit, by and large, in a huge and in my opinion tragically mistaken bid for 'legitimacy'. The same goes for Therians, NeoPagans, Lifestyle Vampires, and more spirituality-based subcultures than can be counted. This is where the concept of the overlaps on an extremely complex, dynamic, and diverse Venn Diagram comes into play.
A sizable chunk of organized religion also has more than a little in common with these concepts, from Christianity to Shinto--unless you are one of those who believe each and every word of poetic and allegorical doctrine is the literal truth.
In which case, frankly, you should probably shut up twice as fast as you've taken that all important step into hypocrisy.
Contrary to Erroneous Knee-Jerk Invalidation Coin #3, the majority of people who experience Spirit Contact, Soulbonding, Past Life Memories, and the like are not the large faceless slab of daylight-fearing Fan-boys and Girls who have lost touch with (that all too subjective catchall) reality that self appointed internet commentators are so fond of pointing fingers at and claiming--often without actually examining the material detailing the beliefs. It's easy and requires little effort, but it does not make it *correct* by any means.
The overwhelming majority of them raise families, commute, live, die, serve your food, sell you airline tickets, fix your computers, sell you your cars, run your insurance companies, perform surgery major and minor, wear a gun and a badge, make the music you listen to, pull you and your loved ones from a burning building, or jam a Ringer's Lactate drip into your arm if you've gods forbid been injured in a car wreck.
This is a statistically-provable fact, not just an idle supposition.
All the finger-pointing and misrepresentation will not erase it, though people will do their best and, as far as I'm concerned, are free to occupy their time as they wish, just like anyone else. We all need ways to feel signifigant.
There is always going to be the socially retarded, spiritually and mentally unhealthy contingent of any cultural or subcultural group, or belief system. This is also a fact of life. This is also not a statistical majority in any case.
There is and always will be a personality type which will take anything and everything to its least beneficial extreme, either through personal dysfunction or deliberate exploitation and malice.
The fact of the matter is that they exist in every sector of the populace imaginable.
You can easily find them in any belief system extant worldwide. Application of the concept of an easily dismissed faceless crowd of crazies falls apart under examination, unless of course one is willing to dismiss for instance the entirety of Christian belief due to its fairly common instances of disturbed cultists. (Some disavow religion in general because of such occurances; Their reasons for doing so are often compelling and though I am often sympathetic, I don't share the point of view.)
This is not by definition because of what they do or do not believe; this is because they are most likely fundamentally abberent.
The two are not any more inexorably linked than that of Christians broad-brush advocating the bombing of abortion clinics and espousing White Supremicist doctrine in actual reality.
A common, secular, and familiar example: The stereotype of the obese homebound Sports junkie cheering on his favorite teams in front of the tube.
Strangely enough, entire mainstream markets actively encourage, subculturalize, and profit from this sector. Few run about self-righteously raving that they need to be locked up for reasons of mental illness or be wiped from the face of the earth . We continue to gleefully sell them 4X sports jerseys and cheer them on as long as they buy the product and pay exorbitant ticket prices, even if one could argue that their lifestyle is hollow and actively harmful to their health.
Go figure, huh?
Attempting to dismiss each and every single subcultural group that subscribes to an 'unorthodox' belief and consign them to a similar stereotype is not just flawed if you really wish to prove your point, it's again statistically disprovable.
In fact, none of the ideas, thoughts, and postulates stated above are particularly revolutionary, unusual, or even uncommon. In fact, in one form or another, its been around for far longer than you or I. And, whatever bent we wish to put on it, from organized religion to fringe subculture, chances are it has touched your life in some way, no matter how small.
In fact, if one takes a minimal amount of time to look into the rich tapestry of belief systems that make up the world we live in, it comes off in the end as downright passe. So passe that I'm personally a little confounded that anyone, especially the die-hard realist who has no belief or interest in the metaphysical or 'superstitious' would be so moved to devote so much energy one way or another to disliking, debating, disproving or insulting it.
You are as welcome to yours as I am to mine.
(1) A good deal of Sun Wu Kung's characteristics are likely drawn from an actual diefic figure, namely, the Hindu Hanuman.
(2) "Mediums derive their inspiration from quite a wide variety of sources. One medium may consider that one particular Deity speaks to him--The hero Monkey, one of the characters in the Chinese classic novel "A Record of The Journey To the West" or "Monkey", seems to be a favorite of mediums throughout Chinese communities in Southeast Asia and is usually politely referred to as "the Great Sage Equal To Heaven". It may seem strange that a fictional hero can become an actual divinity, rather as if a Spanish medium claimed to be guided by the Hero Don Quixote. However, many of the characters of early Chinese writings had long been popular folk heroes anyway, and Monkey is undoubtedly drawn from the Monkey King, Hanuman, of Hindu epic."--Frena Bloomfield, The Book of Chinese Beliefs, Ballantine Books