The Boy seemed considerably less impressed with the maids than with the ensemble of dorks that had picked the same time to visit the café. Among the more amusing anecdotes he told me was that of the guy who showed one of the maids his four huge binders full of photographs of him with different maids (it should be added that most places charge at least $5 for a photo pose with the guest so this guy had invested considerable amounts into his collection), and that of the guy who wanted his maid to do a special pose for the photo like that of his favorite character in some obscure anime and getting alternatively pissed off at the maid when she failed to capture the pose “no, not like THAT, like THIS” and talking to himself when she again failed to get it right “heh, Azuka would never do THAT (chuckles at the absurdity of Azuka doing it like that)” and quite a few other interesting characters.
In any case, the discussion led us into a market sizing of the Japanese dork population and as I was applying a rationale taking into consideration the adult male population of Japan , % living in metropolitan areas and then applying a % to that around ~1% to get a potential dork population. I think the estimation we ended up with during this exercise was somewhere around 50,000 dorks nationwide in Japan . But as any good management consultant and/or market researcher will tell you, you also need to check for external sources to see if there is data supporting the estimate and remarkably we found this page (in Japanese). Since I assume that most readers of this blog cannot read Japanese, let me give you some highlights from the article.
The article presents some research findings from 2005 done on the “otaku” market and the different segments of Otaku that exist. Market research company Nomura Research Institute are described as “Otaku market analysis pioneers”, it should be added that, up until today, I had great respect for NRI since the research from them I have used in the past has been of very good quality.
They estimate the total Otaku population of Japan to be close to 2 MN people/dorks and the potential market, in terms of money they spend on their obsession to ~$4.5 BN USD. Frightening figures… However, there is some consolation in that this does not only take into account the classic "Akiba otaku" (Dork usually found in Akihabara focused on Manga, Anime and computer games) but a broad spectra of otaku, including fashion, cars, computer hardware etc.
And yeah, when you add up the manga, anime and gaming dorks, you end up with almost the exact figure that me and the Boy came up with during our soft market sizing exercise. What can I say? I’m a pro.