The Japanese term "otaku" can actually mean having a near obsessive level of interest in any hobby, although it's now commonly used around the globe to refer to anyone who is a super fan of anime, manga, and/or video games. While being an otaku is much more in fashion and even somewhat openly celebrated in 2020 than it was back in the day, there still remains a bit of a stereotype regarding how an otaku might appear aesthetically given the time they dedicate to their largely sedentary hobbies.

While not a deliberate counter to that, a current hashtag and subsequent "before and after" photos trending on Japanese Twitter shows a contrast between how otaku used to be viewed and how they are today. It's called #オタク垢抜けた選手権2020 (Otaku akanukeru shenshuken 2020), or roughly "The otaku styling up 2020 championship." ("akanukeru" means to refine or polish up, so essentially how otaku have refined themselves.) It's being used as a way to show how dramatic a transformation some otaku have made in terms of how they present themselves.

Here's a roundup of some of the current highlights. You can always search or participate on Twitter with the hashtag #オタク垢抜けた選手権2020. Who knows, maybe you'll be declared the winner?

By - grape Japan editorial staff.