Spotlight on the .Moe TLD
HEXONET announced that it has recently become accredited for the new .moe Top-Level Domain (newTLD). And no, it's not the character Moe from the comedy team of Larry, Curly and Moe; it's the newTLD that has specific and unique meaning that will resonate in Japan and abroad. Interlink is the Tokyo based Registry operator that is backing the newTLD for a very niche community of customers.
The word “moe” (in Japanese: “萌え”; pronounced as “moh-ay”) is a slang word in Japanese that has a deeper meaning than what the English definition of the word suggests. The word "moe" itself is not even a concrete term in Japanese, so to get the full and correct intent of the newTLD, we looked at Interlink's original application submitted to ICANN in an attempt to get the correct meaning.
"The word “moe” began as a buzzword for a subculture of “otaku” (most closely related English term: “geek”) in Japan in the 90’s. Originally derived from the verb “moeru” which means to bud, or to sprout, “moe” is often used to describe a feeling of excitement towards some object or character, mainly in animation, manga (Japanese comic books), and video games. It has often been used to mean a particular type of “adorable” or “cute” towards fictional characters and was originally used in relation to a type of fascination with fantasy.
The otaku culture in Japan is very relevant in today’s Japanese society, socially and economically. A look through Japan’s local and widely popular social networking website’s communities section (Mixi Communities) identifies over 10 million members of communities that can be recognized as part of the otaku culture. The otaku culture coupled with the boom of mobile Internet use in Japan has truly given life to the word “moe”, which in 2005, was named as a one of the top Japanese words of the year.
Today, the word takes on a more expansive meaning somewhat deviating from just the adoration of the fantastical. One can feel or experience “moe” or “burning passion” for all kinds of things, not just animation, or fantasy characters. For example, one can express a feeling of “moe” when looking at a cute puppy or kitten. In fact, there are even individuals who express their fascination with say architecture using the term “moe”. “Moe” is a very versatile word that can be used as a noun, a verb, and even an adjective.
Interlink intends to introduce the “.moe” top-level domain to self-identified otakus everywhere. The mission and purpose of “.moe” can be broken down into two key areas; creating a new online identity for users who identify with the otaku culture, and the operation of a safe, stable, and secure TLD for Internet users everywhere."
Anime in Japan and overseas has become a huge industry. In fact, anime/manga expos are held internationally. One of the largest, Anime Expo, is held every year in Los Angeles attracting over 45,000 attendees. There is even a publication based in the United States called Otaku USA, a full-color magazine featuring comprehensive coverage of manga, anime, video games and Japanese pop culture written from an American point of view. The term moe is expected to resonate very well with this audience.
So what are some actual examples of moe?
- 眼鏡 っ 娘 萌え (meganekko-moe): is a person who finds anime characters with glasses attractive.
- Someone could say that they feel very moe for HelloKitty
- Sailor Moon is so moe moe (Sailor Moon, a popular Anime character, is so very cute)
- A person who likes Captain America (thinks he's cool, hot, or maybe they just want to be like him) would be a Captain America "moe"
- Do you find people in uniforms rather attractive or cool looking? Then you are a "uniform moe!"
- Cosplayers are totally "cosplay moe"
- Remember Jessica Rabbit -- "moe moe!"
- Do you like trains? Then you are a "train moe"
Launch dates for .moe :
- Sunrise Period: 2014/5/13 (02:00 UTC) - 2014/6/13 (15:00 UTC)
- Landrush Period: 2014/6/17 (15:00 UTC) – 2014/7/18 (15:00 UTC)
- General Registration Period: 2014/7/22 (02:00 UTC)
*prior to Sunrise you can place a free Expression-of-Interest (EOI) in HEXONET's control panel.