Book

How to Solve Problems in Subculture

  • Create new markets
  • Serve new customers
  • Pay it forward to other fans

Subculture is a marketplace. To solve its problems, we build businesses.

Otaku Entrepreneur tells the stories of five of the most influential businesses in the anime subculture, and how they found success solving problems in the fandom.

Creators are important to subculture. Everyone knows that.

But equally critical are the people who build and maintain the business infrastructure behind subculture.

Publishers, distributors, retailers, and those creating new opportunities.

Otaku Entrepreneur explores the stories behind these important problem-solvers, as well as the mindset and unique aspects of subculture that motivate them.

Enthusiasts understand what other enthusiasts want, on a deep level. It’s difficult for large companies preoccupied with scale to cater effectively to hardcore enthusiasts.

Otaku entrepreneurs exist to fill those niches in the subcultures they inhabit by rejecting scale and catering directly to other otaku, even if it means the businesses they build might be smaller and a little more old-school.

-Otaku Entrepreneur – Chapter 11

From the Preface:

Shortly before print time, I contacted AnimEigo to get the proper permission for the Otaku no Video screengrab in the first chapter. This led to an interesting exchange.

The folks at AnimEigo contacted Gainax to make sure it was okay. Their contact at Gainax was apprehensive. He had gotten a bad impression from past American books on anime.

Particularly, he wanted to be sure I wasn’t unfairly putting otaku in a bad light, or misquoting people.

I don’t think he’s wrong. In many ways, we’re still doing damage control about past narratives surrounding otaku, many of which stem from old, incomplete, or biased information.

As a result, media in the US is not always fair to otaku. I don’t want to contribute to that. The story behind Gainax and anime like Otaku no Video and Genshiken are personal inspirations to me, and my intention writing Otaku Entrepreneur is to present an image similar to what originally inspired me. This is what I said to my contact at AnimEigo, along with explaining the context of the screengrab and the concept of the book.

Afterward their contact at Gainax replied, greenlighting the screengrab and providing proper attribution details.

The exchange gave me an interesting insight into the perceptions some anime industry professionals might have when people overseas operate off of misconceptions.

The internet has contributed a great deal to the democratization of knowledge around anime and otaku, and I believe books such as The Moe Manifesto and Otaku Spaces have the potential to give even further insight into otaku culture while also treating otaku fairly.

-Otaku Entrepreneur – Preface