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[TOKYO] Japan is set to hold what organisers are billing as the world's first "Otaku" summit this weekend as the country looks to boost the international fan base for Japanese comic books and anime.
So-called Otaku - usually translated as "geeks" - from at least 18 countries and territories will converge on the Otaku Expo from March 28-29 at Tokyo-area convention centre, according to organisers.
The Expo is part of a special comic book fair held every five years, which attracts about half a million visitors, but this year's event will mark the first time that groups from outside Japan are invited. About four dozen overseas Otaku groups are expected to attend.
The term is commonly used in Japan to refer to people obsessed with Japan's unique take on comics and animation.
While it once carried a negative connotation, many formerly in-the-closet Otaku are proudly displaying their love for two-dimensional heroes - while the number of foreign fans is also soaring.
"Japan's manga and anime have grown into a culture that can be presented to the world proudly, and the number of fans is increasing overseas," organiser Comiket said on its website.