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Fictionkin (formerly called 'otakukin'[1][2][3] or 'mediakin'[2][4]) are people who identify as a fictional character or species. The object of one's identification is called their fictotype. Generally, being fictionkin is involuntary, long-term, and intrinsic to one's selfhood.[3][5] Fictionkin commonly believe their identities are spiritual in origin and involve reincarnation, but this is not always the case.

Experiences[edit | edit source]

Fictionkin find self-recognition in fictional characters and species - seeing the character or species in question may feel like looking in a mirror.[6][7] Many experience a sense of deja-vu when watching their fictotype's source material.[5][6] They frequently feel a strong sense of homesickness and lack of belonging;[6] an old iteration of the From Fiction website calls it "one of the heaviest and most common experiences fictionkin share".[8] This can include missing specific characters in the source.[6] They may have memories, noemata or dreams about being their fictotype,[6][9] which can often include traumatic material.[6] Additionally, they might have otherwise unexplainable fears or urges related to the experiences of their fictotype.[8]

Because fictionkin are typically human or humanoid characters, their dysphoria can be over more subtle differences such as height and eye color.[8] Fictionkin are also capable of experiencing shifts. Clumpy describes the voice of their inner monologue becoming their fictotype's voice and the instinct to identify themself with their fictotype's name as examples of a fictionkin shift.[9]

Many fictionkin state that they had these experiences before their source material was even published.[5][10][11] Some report having had memories of past lives which they only later discovered match up with a piece of media.[10][11]

History and Etymology[edit | edit source]

Individuals identifying as fictional species have been present in the otherkin and dragon communities since their inceptions. Prior to the coining of a specific term for fictional identification, three members of the Elf Queen's Daughters, a group of elves, realized they identified as Hobbits in 1979. Later, in 1995, users of the website, Alt.Fan.Dragons, described themselves as Pernese dragons, a fictional species from Anne McCaffery's Dragonriders of Pern. However, fictionkin began as a separate community under the label 'otakukin' during the early 2000s.[2]

The term otakukin comes from the now defunct website, Temple of The Ota-’Kin. Kinjo Ten, the creator of the website, explains that the term originally jokingly referred to otherkin and therians whose beliefs and "aesthetics" incorporated Chinese or Japanese influences. The term almost immediately expanded to encompass those who identified as fictional characters, and eventually, exclusively referred to such.[1] Though 'otaku' is associated with anime and Japanese media, the term was originally inclusive of all who identified as entities from fictional sources.[1] Kinjo Ten referenced the existence of Tolkien elves and Pernese dragons in the communities in his description of the concept.[1][2] In the mid-2000s, the terms 'fickin' and 'mediakin' were used interchangeably with 'otakukin'. The shortened forms 'otakin' or even simply 'ota' were also used.[12][13] However, the term was eventually considered by some to only apply to those from Japanese media, with 'mediakin' becoming the all-inclusive alternative.[4] In 2007, when members of the otakukin LiveJournal community renamed the community to from_fiction, they cited its derogatory origins as further reason to move away from the term in general.[14]

The original fictionkin symbol[15]

In 2010, the LiveJournal community, We are Na’Vi [Na’vi Reborn] was created, aimed at those who had identities related to the Na’vi from the movie Avatar. This community garnered attention from therians and otherkin, as well as those who were not alterhuman. Some in alterhuman communities began to debate if being fictionkin was a valid identity and question if the Na’vi were trolling.[2] Na’vi fictionkin were briefly mentioned in Joseph Laycok’s article “The Pandora’s Box of James Cameron,” in conjunction with others who felt that they had a deep connection to Pandora, the fictional world in which the movie takes place.[2][16]

A simple drawing of an ink pot with an eye on it and a quill above it.
Page's fictionkin symbol[17]

On the now-defunct forums, a discussion was started around creating a symbol for fictionkin in July 2015. After some months, several variations of the symbol were created, with all of them depicting rings surrounding what could be interpreted as either a key or the letter F. The website created a poll that was shared on social media to determine which variation the wider fictionkin community preferred.[2][18] A final symbol was chosen,[2][15] but it was not accepted by all community members, who often critiqued the symbol’s design.[2][18]

A pride flag with a green stripe, a white stripe, and a purple stripe. It has a white circle in the middle with Page Shepard's fictionkin symbol in black.
Page's fictionkin flag[17]

In 2017, the term 'otherhuman' was proposed on a French alterhuman forum. The term was described as such: "An otherhuman is a person who feels that he belongs to another species of the human race that may be fictional or real". Fictionkin, along with other alterhumans who identify as human or human-aligned, may feel represented by this term.[19]

In 2022, Page Shepard posted another fictionkin symbol and corresponding flag to Tumblr. He also proposed the character 🖋️ be used to indicate fictionkin, the same way ⎇ is used for alterhumans and ΘΔ is used for therianthropes.[17] Page later went on to talk about the meaning of the eye in the symbol, stating that for fictionfolk, "fiction examines YOU." The eye represents "introspection, speculation, knowledge, windows into the soul– and a million more different meanings."[20]

Relationship to fandom[edit | edit source]

Fictionkin must contend with the subjects of their identity being interpreted by fans in various ways.[21] They may have difficulty distinguishing memories and noemata from headcanons, often concluding that there is no real way to tell.[22][23][24]

Dinocanid critiques the admittance of "fandom drama" into fictionkin spaces, describing people who let their fannish opinions color their perception of real fictionkin. He specifically calls out those who condemn real people for the (percieved or actual) "problematic" behaviour of their fictotypes, the nature of their source, or the actions of the source's creator. He also mentions the tendency of some to assume they know an individual fictionkin just because they are familiar with the character.[25]

Reception[edit | edit source]

Lupa's book A Field Guide to Otherkin is critical of fictionkin. It states that many otherkin consider fictionkin to be "going too far", with some questioning the logistics of the identity. Lupa questions if fictionkin intentionally change aspects of themselves, like personality, to align with their fictotype.[4] Willow Rosenberg states that the book's depiction of fictionkin is outdated. They believe Lupa comes to undue conclusions about the entirety of the fictionkin community based on the actions of a few members. They also argue that fictionkin who appear to be changing themselves may be unmasking traits they previously hid or making new discoveries about themselves.[26]

Lupa also questions if fictionkin belong under the otherkin umbrella, considering that identifying as an individual is different than identifying as a certain species.[4]

In Naia Ōkami's 2016 survey of the otherkin community, 19.13% of respondents stated that they "strongly agree" that it is acceptable to identify as a fictional character, while 24.32% of respondents stated that they "strongly disagree", on a scale of one through ten.[27]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Kinjou Ten. "Temple of the Ota-'Kin" (Archived version)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 House of Chimeras. (June 21, 2021) "A Timeline of the Fictionkin Community"
  3. 3.0 3.1 overlord_mordax. "Fictionkin Basics"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Lupa. (2007) "A Field Guide to Otherkin" Megalithica Books.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Azaphaer. "Fictionkin"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 overlord_mordax. "Are you fictionkin?"
  7. mord (vagabond-sun). (March 7th, 2021) "fictionfolk for the nonhumans who don’t understand them"
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Felix of From Fiction. "What Kin Experience – What Makes People Kin" (Archived version)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Clumpy (clumpywoods). (August 30th, 2022) "Shifting (a brief introduction, and my experiences)"
  10. 10.0 10.1 fromfiction. (March 15th, 2022) "Kintypes turning out to be fictotypes" (Archived version)
  11. 11.0 11.1 Jonathan (angelic-polar-fox). (July 23rd, 2018) "“If fictionkin is real, then why do people only start being kin, after the source becomes popular?!”"
  12. Selebis (sletia). (August 24th, 2006) "Help me."
  13. Flyboy (flyboy_fox). (October 26th, 2006) "Question. o.o"
  14. Flyboy (flyboy_fox). (September 24th, 2007) "Community rename, Y/N?"
  15. 15.0 15.1 (21th February 2016) "Poll - What Should be the Universal Fictionkin Symbol?"
  16. Joseph Laycock. "The Pandora's Box of James Cameron"
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Page Shepard (who-is-page). (September 1, 2022) "I made a new fictionkin symbol because I fucking hate the F key symbol..."
  18. 18.0 18.1 (20th February 2016) "A Universal Fictionkin Symbol?"
  19. Zayakah. (August 16th, 2017). "Les Otherhumen."
  20. Page Shepard (who-is-page). (September 1, 2022) "many people examine fiction but when you’re around fictionfolk, fiction examines YOU..." Comment on "I made a new fictionkin symbol because I fucking hate the F key symbol...".
  21. mordecai midas. (March 7th, 2021) "fictionfolk for the nonhumans who don’t understand them"
  22. Taz (caliginouscreature). (August 25th, 2022) "If you may have a fictotype, how do you tell your “noemata” apart from strongly-held headcanons or projecting?"
  23. Nevi (astral-actias). (August 25th, 2022) "I’ve just kind of concluded that I can’t know if something is ‘real’ or not ..." Comment on "If you may have a fictotype, how do you tell your “noemata” apart from strongly-held headcanons or projecting?".
  24. Cobalt (lizardywizard). (March 12th, 2023) "I agree with your second-to-last paragraph there ..." Comment on "If you may have a fictotype, how do you tell your “noemata” apart from strongly-held headcanons or projecting?".
  25. dinocanid. (November 16th, 2022) "The Separation of Fandom and Fictionfolk"
  26. Willow Rosenberg. (March 25th, 2024) "Mediakin in [Lupa's] Media"
  27. Naia Ōkami. (2016) "2016 Otherkin Community Survey"

External Links[edit | edit source]

  •, a defunct but well-archived website with information on fictionkin.