Under this article, I intend to cover some much needed and organized information on the term “Weeaboo”. This includes its origins, definitions, and other things alike. First, let’s begin with the origin of the word.
What exactly is a Weeaboo?
The history behind the word is a bit twisted but still an interesting one. Perry Bible Fellowship was a famous comic strip that used to be passed around in the streets of old 4chan, about 2005 or so. They were the first one to officially coin the word “Weeaboo”. At the same time, the term “Wapanese” was growing alarmingly on 4chan. “Wapanese” stood for “White Japanese” or “Wannabe Japanese”. This was mainly a derogatory slur referring to Japanophiles with a strong bias towards Japanese culture. From late 2003 onwards, usage of Wapanese became alarmingly visible on 4chan, leading to unpleasant exchanges between anime/manga fans and those who were far less interested in their culture.
Now, if you’re unfamiliar with 4chan, they’d routinely put word filters on for various reasons. This could be to put a stop to an unfunny meme or to force a meme, or just to create general confusion. The derogatory word had reached its peak usage in 2005, and the moderators at 4chan had to take any action against it. And so, the term “Wapanese” was replaced with “Weeaboo” instead.
Since 4chan was known to set internet trends, Weeaboo was now on its path to become the most used slur against the anime community.
Next up, we have the definition of the word alongside what I feel about the concept.
The formal definition of a Weeaboo or a Weeb is
A person who retains an unhealthy obsession with Japan and Japanese culture, typically ignoring or even shunning their own racial and cultural identity. Many weeaboos talk in butchered Japanese with the eight or so words they know (i.e., kawaii, desu, ni chan). While weeaboos claim to love and support Japanese culture, counter-intuitively, they tend to stereotype Japanese culture by how it appears in their favorite anime, which can be safely assumed to be offensive to the Japanese.
If you love and respect Japanese culture and your own, you are not a weeaboo.
Merely liking anime or wanting to learn Japanese does not make you a weeaboo.
My definition of a Weeaboo or a Weeb
All this is technically correct, but I feel there’s a deeper meaning to it. Weeaboo is someone who has lost some sense of reality and finds the Japanese culture better than their own. It might seem right, but trying to adopt a new lifestyle because of an obsession might lead to some misunderstandings, which will instead result negatively in disrespecting the culture. A more critical aspect of the Weeaboo nature is stereotyping the shit out of Japanese culture just because that’s what it seems like from anime and other sources.
Japan has a prosperous heritage and trying to find a pattern between the prefectures of Japan would be stupid. Also, our culture is a sort of identity that is given to us. Some might argue by saying that we didn’t choose it, but neither did you choose your name. Culture is an identity that I feel needs to be held up. As in, we should be proud of where we come from while still respecting others. So, denouncing your own for another culture should be a pretty bad thing.
Let’s have a look at how the internet uses the word.
Internet Culture around “Weeaboo”
The moment you search “Weeaboo” on google images, you will find a million images of people cosplaying or memes or suggestions like “Weeaboo Cringe”. The word has turned into this term that parallels wannabe, disgusting, and cringe. People who cosplay are often and most easily considered to be Weeaboos, simply because they look out of place and are very noticeable. The average public sees most of the anime community as a bunch of nobodies who cry over 2D girls and sleep with body pillows. Whatever someone does with their own life shouldn’t concern others unless it causes some sort of harm to them.
Memes have been one of the top mediums to spread the hate against anyone who watches anime. As time progresses, memes have known to become more vulgar or rude under the banner of free speech, and they haven’t been kind to the anime community at all. However, since the usage of the internet and other social media platforms has gone up, the anime communities have also come together to form pages and forums.
To clearly explain the situation, here’s an example from the urban dictionary.
“A weeb (/wi b/) is a non-Japanese male who watches and is a fan of CGDCT anime, has a waifu, a waifu pillow, and is obsessed with Japan. A weeb is always talking about how cute or “kawaii” his favorite characters are and claiming one of them to be his “waifu”. He occasionally uses romanized Japanese words instead of English equivalents, such as “kawaii” instead of “cute” and “baka” instead of “dumb” or “jerk” (it has both meanings). Some of them also use Japanese honorifics, for example when they attach the “-chan” honorific to the names of people or characters they like or find cute, or when they use the “-sama” honorific to show they respect someone. Weebs call non-weebs normies. Weebs are harmless. They know they’re disliked by many people, but don’t give a fuck because they know they’re sugoi (awesome).”
YouTube on Weeaboos: –
YouTube has been even worse to Weeaboos than other platforms. You can find a multitude of Weeaboo cringe compilations, parodies, and whole songs on Weeaboos. Each of these videos has over 100000 views on it so you can understand its popularity.
The one video which stands out from the entirety comes from TVFilthyFrank. Now, if you don’t know FilthyFrank, I’ll give you a small idea of it. If all the trash of the internet were combined, it would probably come near FilthyFrank. Don’t get me wrong. It’s an idea that nobody would’ve thought of. It is a hidden genius with a vast and loyal fanbase. FilthyFrank released a video titled “WEEABOOS,” which has over 29,058,822 views. Of course, anybody who is easily offended would never watch FilthyFrank, but the video still did spread awareness about the term.
My thoughts on Weeaboos
I think that anything that creates a harmful divide of any form is wrong. The term Weeaboo has mutated into a common word to piss people off. We are in an era where minor shuns like these hardly hold any meaning to some, while others might get offended. Again, there is absolutely no necessity for this word even to exist, but people love to snatch on new ways to differentiate. I feel that in the present, Weeaboo has become a standard part of internet lingo, and it has lost its hurtful edge. This is mainly because of the overuse of the term.
Now for the second part, I’d like to say that having an affection for a particular culture is excellent.
Getting so involved in it that you disregard your own culture is shameful. Again, respecting the culture and forcefully trying to blend in are two different things. You may do as you like, cosplay, or read Manga’s all day or even quote your favorite anime.
The problem begins when you make these small habits a part of your primary persona.
Changing your personality and TRYING to act Japanese is disturbing for a lot of reasons. First off, you will get it wrong in some ways because there are minor things that play a significant role in a culture that can only be learned from home. Since most Weeaboos just pick stuff from the internet, they will miss out on proper etiquettes. This leads to disrespecting the culture.
There is much more to it than that. We must always respect customs and traditions in a proper set manner, or else they don’t hold any meaning. And Japan is one such country which is very particular about this.
I feel that people don’t have the right to call others out on what they like unless it directly affects them. It shows that you only care to know enough about Japan to seem like a part of it on the surface so that it satisfies your vision of it. And disrespecting and stereotyping a culture just to look cool in your head is both selfish and mean.