In the midst of Islamic State (ISIS) insurgence with Japanese citizens as their latest casualties, people in Indonesia seek to bridge two different cultures that seemed impossible to reconcile, Islam and anime culture.

Being accustomed to having many different cultures imported since the fifth century, Indonesia have had a history of infusing wayang show with Islamic messages and mosques designed with cues from Hindu temple. And today, there are people with fondness for Japanese anime, who adapted their cosplay costume to be syar’i compliant with long sleeves and decorated hijab.

Speaking to KAORI Newsline in an anime event last January, Rio, leader of Islamic Otaku Community (IOC) explained how they came to create an anime community that accommodates Muslim fans.

“Since I was a child, I love watching anime, and the same time, being a Muslim, I want to meet friends who have the same idea as me. I am sure it’s not just me who experienced this situation.”

Founded in April 2014, IOC initially accomodated hijab cosplayer, but it is also open to anybody who is a Muslim and a fan of anime. Their activities include costume making, monthly gathering, and uploading news and reviews about current and past anime deemed proper to watch in their Facebook and Twitter.

Rio also points how community support may implicate personal decision to wear hijab. “Some members initially still in doubt to use hijab, but they became confident to wear it after joining, even in their everyday lives.”

But even in Indonesia where Islam is majority faith, that doesn’t mean the community gets spared from  discrimination. For Rio, they are used to getting harassed, whether by other anime fans or other cosplay communities.

“I wonder why when people invent something new here, they should be prepared to get harassed, It can’t be helped.”

Noticing the community has predominantly female members, KAORI asked about fujoshi members who like boys love contents. He thinks it’s normal.

“That’s because regardless of your faith or how compliant your hijab is, if you are into anime convention, you are an otaku.”

Speaking about the nature of the contents loved by fujoshi, he leaves it on the person itself. The community can only provide guidance.

“They are changed after joining IOC, but we can’t exactly know for sure what preference someone has deep inside.”

Opinion: I’m an Otaku, and Also a Devout Muslim

The Indonesian Anime Times | original Indonesian report and translation by Kevin W


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