Weeaboo (Not to be confused with Otaku) is a term associated with western fans of anime, and the culture surrounding them. This word has taken on many different
meanings and connotations throughout the years, making the meaning of it in specific instances highly contextual; however, It all is centered around a western love of anime and/or Japanese culture, with the variant being how this love is viewed/expressed.
The different connotations of Weeaboo can be seen represented in the current split of the term between Weeaboo and Weeb.
- Anime photo/video edits
- Aesthetic edits of an anime character
- Anime AMVs
- Anime character edits with hearts
- Fan arts/ship art
- Cosplay pieces, usually worn with everyday outfits
- Pictures of anime characters
- An e-girl/boy-esc style, with more of an anime/'kawaii' twist
- More pastel
- Anime references on clothes
- Anime-inspired make-up
- Body pillows
- Japanese writing
- Stuffed animals/toys
- Lots of (usually anime related) trinkets
- Lots of accessories
- Cat ears
- Cat ear headphones
- Cat ear headbands
- Fake cat ear clip-ons
- Fake cat whiskers
- Body blush
- Long socks
- School girl
- Anime pins
- Eye patches
- Fake scars
- Unnecessary bandages/band-aids
- Cat ears
- Manga collections
- Collections of fandom related merchandise
- anime wall collages
- Anime character phone case
- Yaoi paraphernalia
- Anime/Japanese themed T-shirts
- Decorated backpacks and folders
- Anime figurines
- Boba tea
- Harajuku-inspired fashion
- Half-dyed hair
- Heart edits on pictures
- Text faces such as ":3" and "owo"
- Anime phone screens
The current term Weeaboo is only just the modern iteration of a term for western lovers of Japanese culture/media. The first recognizable instance of such a term came from the 18th century, and was called Japanophile. It should be noted though that this sort of term was not exclusive for Japan, as there are many similar terms such as Anglophile, Germanophile, and Ailurophile). These terms are used for a person with a love and appreciation for a specific culture, though the context and connotation varies term to term.
The first instance of a term resembling the modern iteration came around 2000 from the site 4Chan, where the term Wapanese caught traction.
The first appearance of Weeaboo came from a comic by Nicholas Gurewitch, as a meaningless word used for a punchline. Around 2005, 4chan users began using this word as a replacement for Wapanese, with moderators of the site creating a word-filter to that actively replaced each instance of Wapanese with Weeaboo.
Since then, the term has been shortened to Weeb, though it would be wrong to say definitively that the two versions of the term share the same meaning.
Weeaboo, despite its variability, is most commonly used as a derogatory term describing a person who is overly obsessive with Japanese culture and medium, to the point where it effects their personality, mannerisms, and daily life.
This term is commonly associated with younger people, usually in middle school or early high-school, though it can be used for anyone regardless of age.
As stated in the beginning of the article, the meaning of the term is highly contextual, and that especially goes for the term Weeb. While it is still used derogatory, the general use of the term tends to be either ironic, or used to refer to someone who simply enjoys Japanese culture and/or media, but as no obsession with it or use of it as a personality trait.
Discussing the culture is, once again, highly contextual; for this reason, this will just be discussing key notes and staples of the culture, without differentiating between the use or association (i.e., ironic, genuine, self-aware, mild, Weeb, Weeaboo, ect.). this will just be a focus on the general aesthetic of the culture, and its known aspects.
The culture revolves around mostly Anime, Manga, and Japanese fashion. its stereo-typically an obsession with Japanese culture, portrayed through the lens of a westerner who's only real view of japan is through anime and other similar mediums.
key aspects are:
- The adoption of select Japanese words in English conversation, such as "Kawaii," "Sugoi," and "Desu."
- A perception of the culture being a major aspect of "cringey" internet culture.
- Use of stylistic text/communication mannerisms such as "OwO" and "Rawr."
- A "Kawaii" fashion aesthetic
- talking in a higher or lower voice, as if mimicking anime voice acting
- The "Naruto run."
- A general adoption of the "Kawaii" Aesthetic
- Body pillows
- Cat ears
- Buttons, Stickers, Printed out pictures, and anything else associated with their fandoms being overused, and put everywhere.