How does a free market capitalist get rid of a growing social problem?

April 14, 2009 at 8:26 pm 3 comments

a.  Deny that the problem exists.

b.  Exploit it, commodify it, and expose it to the free market, in the hopes that it’ll market itself to death.

If your answer is b, congratulations. That’s how Japan is trying to deal with the otaku problem.

(Note that I have no idea how free market capitalists solve social problems.)

Now, I’m going to ask a question.

Why would Taro Aso, Prime Minister of Japan, inheritor of big bucks, owner (debatable) of a fairly successful company, and all-around ELITE OF JAPAN want with a bunch of people the Japanese refuse to even acknowledge it’s existence?

Worse stil, why would Aso go to the extent of associating with a bunch of freaks who, in polite Japanese society, would be better off dead?

I don’t know why. But I can offer conspiracy theories.

1. Aso needs votes.

It’s the most logical thing for a politician.. We don’t know if ANY of the otaku vote, or even contribute to Japanese economy. Maybe in his completely misguided and boneheaded notions, he’s actually trying to get them to invest in Japan’s future. Which would mean he’d be actually doing something good, something I loathe to think about. But he doesn’t need the 2-3million votes, he’s got the election in the bag, since his only opponent seems to be crippled by a single scandal.

2. Aso is trying to commodify the otaku in some crazy Japan-only attempt to destroy them, or at least drive them so far underground they cease to be a problem.

I dunno about you guys, but I’ve read up enough on Japanese history and culture (read: very little) and have read on how Japan treats outsiders enough to know that the otaku are not a well-liked minority, and the anime we rant and rave about is treated like dirt. Japan doesn’t like the otaku, and through the evil magic of the Internet, it has revealed the deep dark secret that Japan has desperately sought to hide from the world. So what does one do with a problem they clearly have no solution for?I dunno about you guys, but if I was a Japanese businessman, I’d be going all out to market the problem, in the hopes that they will eventually send themselves so deep underground some sort of deployable measure would be enough to seal them off forever. Or at least until the problem ceases to be one. (Think Great Firewall of China. Hey, IT WORKS.)

I am screwy, I am angry, and I need a huge dose of aspirin to cure my cold. Probably will link articles later.

Entry filed under: Anime.

I’m not a fan of the mainstream Gundam shows. So you say Yui is an EEJIT.

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. moritheil  |  April 15, 2009 at 5:35 am

    Isn’t it possible that Aso is trying to challenge the placement of otaku in conventional Japanese mores by pointing out that they could conceivably be of economic benefit? I’m sure that he vastly overstates the benefits of otaku tourism and the like, but the point he seems to be making is that as long as they contribute to the economy they are benefiting society (and, by implication, deserve some small measure of respect.)

    • 2. drmchsr0  |  April 15, 2009 at 6:32 pm

      Possible, but I highly doubt that. Any politician worth his salt would never go against any sort of social norms, unless your name is Barack Hussein Obama. And even Obama would have to fight voter apathy and draconian laws if he campaigned anywhere BUT the US of A.

      And by golly gee, even Obama seems to be backtracking a bit. Though it’s been barely six months since he got the job, so I can afford to give him some slack.

  • 3. Hectotane  |  April 15, 2009 at 9:12 am

    On the one hand, the otaku industry STILL makes a lot of money. (Why the money isn’t going to the people who really deserve it is another story entirely.)

    On the other hand, what the otaku do and love are still culturally unacceptable. Moreso in the West. Kodomo no Jikan, anybody?

    Geeks as politicians aren’t the problem. Geek politicians who continue to be geeks out of the sake of being a “supergeek” is where I start handing out petitions for impeachment. Our government had left Hollywood alone; basically a worthy enemy. Japan’s government should do the same with the otaku.


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And the prophet spake, saying: "Frak this, for my faith is a shield proof against your blandishments!"

- Alem Mahat, The Book of Cain, Chapter IV, Verse XXI

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