Moe (translates to 'bud' or 'sprout' and is a word used to describe the level of intensity experienced by otaku for fantasy characters or representations of them. Japanese philosopher Honda Touru considers it in terms of 'imaginary' or 'pure' love, in that a relationship with a character may be preferable to a real interpersonal one. At the same time this supports the industry through frequent and reliable consumption ('love capitalism'). Otaku began to collect and create fan-made contributions in order to create and affirm their own identities and sense of self. Additionally it allows moe-otaku men to become 'feminized' by making it socially acceptable to love without dating (esp. in a down-turn economy), and pay lavish attention on Hello Kitty products for example. They become shoujo or 'little girls'. Azuma Hiroki focused on the specific constituent parts of the fantasy, deconstructed and removed from context (like how young men may have been conditioned with a erotic response to girls in maid outfits or cat ears). Love has been separated from reality. These fetishistic collections of 'design and personality points, characters and situations that can produce moe' are referred to as 'the database'. Fans began to even desire character materials in the absence of a story. This emphasis on fantasy ('a body without organs') is liberating in a way, because authors are free to imagine scenarios divorced from realistic considerations and consequences (the young cute eroticized girl popular with a male audience, or Yaoi/Boy Love, the homosexual men genre popular with women); these archetypes are not part of the 'real' world and their consumers need not be "socially mature and responsible adults".
- Azuma, Otaku: Japan's Database Animals
- Freedman, "Train Man and the Gender Politics of Japanese 'Otaku' Culture: The Rise of New Media, Nerd Heroes and Consumer Communities", http://intersections.anu.edu.au/issue20/freedman.htm
- Galbraith, "Moe: Exploring Virtual Potential in Post-Millenial Japan", http://www.japanesestudies.org.uk/articles/2009/Galbraith.html
- Murakami (moderator), "Otaku Talk", http://www.japansociety.org/content.cfm?page=otaku_talk
- Slater and Galbraith, "Re-Narrating Social Class and Masculinity in Neoliberal Japan; An examination of the media coverage of the 'Akihabara Incident' of 2008", http://www.japanesestudies.org.uk/articles/2011/SlaterGalbraith.html
- Galbraith, "Akihaba: Conditioning a Public 'Otaku' Image", http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/mec/summary/v005/5.galbraith.html