Mainstream Japanese fiction doesn’t normally fall within the purview of HD, but given the recent furor over Hating the Otaku Wave we today make an exception. What follows is a translation of its preface and opening pages, flagged with illuminating hotlinks and emphasis where appropriate; I have taken artistic liberties with certain passages but have tried to remain true to the original intent of the piece. Note to communists: I am so very, very sorry.
EDIT: This is NOT a real translation of Hating the Otaku Wave. It is a parody based on the opening passages of the Communist Manifesto. I apologize for any confusion this may have caused.
Hating the Otaku Wave: Introduction
A spectre is haunting Japan – the spectre of moe. All the powers of old Japan have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Kogal and Yankee, Emperor and Yakuza, Hello Kitty and Horiemon.
Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as moetic by its opponents in power? Where is the opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of moetism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries?
Two things result from this fact:
I. Moe is already acknowledged by all Japanese powers to be itself a power.
II. It is high time that Moerers should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Spectre of Moe with a manifesto of the party itself.
To this end, Moerers of various nationalities have assembled in Tokyo and sketched the following manifesto, to be published in the Japanese, Korean, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portugese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Hebrew, Flemish and Danish languages, etc.
Otaku and Other People
The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.
Queen and Slave, Ushio and Tora, Miko and Nurse, Master and Servant, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.
In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank. In ancient Edo we have ninja, samurai, robots, pirates; in the Heisei Period, cram school students with harems, cram school students with robots, cram school students with lascivious inlaws, cram school students with more robots, cram school students with ninja, cram school students with even more robots; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinate gradations.
The modern Heisei society that has sprouted from the ruins of Edo society has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones.
Our epoch, the epoch of Heisei, possesses, however, this distinct feature: it has simplified class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other — Otaku and Other People.
From the ninja of Edo sprang the Otaku of the earliest towns. From these Otaku the first elements of the New Otaku Wave were developed.
The discovery of Lolikon, the rounding of the prepubescent breast, opened up fresh ground for the rising Moerers. Exploitation of the East-Indian and Chinese markets, the colonisation of America, trade with the colonies, the increase in the means of exchange and in commodities generally, gave to commerce, to navigation, to industry, to pirated R2 DVDs, an impulse never before known, and thereby, to the revolutionary element in the tottering Edo society, a rapid development.
The Edo system of pornography, in which ero production was monopolised by pink films, now no longer sufficed for the growing wants of the new markets. The two-dimensional system took its place. The porn directors were pushed on one side by the eromanga artists; division of labour between the different corporate porn labels vanished in the face of division of labour in each single doujin circle.
Meantime the markets kept ever growing, the demand ever rising. Even manufacturer no longer sufficed. Thereupon, steam and machinery revolutionised pornographic production. The place of manufacture was taken by the giant, Modern Other; the place of the doujin-crafting middle class by doujinshi millionaires, the leaders of the whole doujin armies, the modern Other people.
Modern 2D porn has established the world market, for which the discovery of America paved the way. This market has given an immense development to commerce, to navigation, to communication by internet. This development has, in its turn, reacted on the extension of industry; and in proportion as industry, commerce, navigation, P2P filesharing extended, in the same proportion the Otaku developed, increased its capital, and pushed into the background every class handed down from Edo.
We see, therefore, how the modern Otaku is itself the product of a long course of development, of a series of revolutions in the modes of production and of exchange.
The Otaku, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his “natural superiors”, and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous “cash payment”. It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom — Free Mastubration. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.
The Otaku has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage labourers.
The Otaku has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation.
The Otaku has disclosed how it came to pass that the brutal display of vigour in Edo, which reactionaries so much admire, found its fitting complement in the most slothful indolence. It has been the first to show what man’s activity can bring about. It has accomplished wonders far surpassing Egyptian pyramids, Roman aqueducts, and Gothic cathedrals; it has conducted expeditions that put in the shade all former Exoduses of nations and crusades.
Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the Otaku epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.
The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the Otaku over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere.
And it shot my dog, the bastard.