Weeaboo-ism

(This post was originally written on September 19. Valence is currently on hiatus)

It’s no secret that I despise, or rather, disapprove of weeaboos. I have a classmate in class who is a weeaboo, and we constantly taunt him for that. But it has started to occur to me that the definition of ‘weeaboo’ is too ambiguous. There isn’t one clear definition of the term ‘weeaboo’, nor is there any universally recognized usage. Whatever the case may be, I’ve found out that there are much more scary weeaboos out there than just my aforementioned classmate.

Weeaboo originally spawned from a Perry Bible Fellowship comic and attained mass popularity through a 4chan filter which changed all instances of the word ‘wapanese’ to ‘weeaboo’. Wapanese being of course, a derogatory term to describe people who are too obsessed with Japanese culture to the extent that they use poor Japanese – poor, random Japanese in their speech and have overly-characteristic mannerisms. Wapanese is also possibly, a portmanteau of the words ‘Wannabe’ /’Western’ and ‘Japanese’.

But before we move on, what in the world is a weeaboo?

This image summarizes it nicely. So a weeaboo is actually someone who has an over-bearing attraction to, or perhaps an obsession with Japanese culture. But once again, I would like to clarify that this goes to the extent where it affects their daily activities and mannerisms.  Throughout the staggering amount of time I spent on the internet, I realized that weeaboos are generally characterized as such:

  1. Not Japanese (duh.)
  2. On social networking sites, profile or name plagued by Japanese words
  3. Uses Japanese words in speech/text

That’s just about it. I don’t see how liking to eat Pocky characterizes a ‘weeaboo’. I’ve ate that since I was young, but I stopped a few years ago before I even touched any anime. Why? It got more expensive. Hey, a schoolboy’s got a small allowance. Also, I used to think it was made in Thailand. As with most of the other biscuit stick snacks sold at the local convenience store. Furthermore, some netizens characterize cosplayers or anime nerds as weeaboos as well. I don’t agree with that. I know plenty of people who fall under this so-called categories who are pretty much normal, me being one of them for starters. I don’t go around spouting random Japanese phrases and complaining about Western media. I’m like both cultures, Western and Asian. I’m a proud Chinese person, and I shall not stoop to replacing my own heritage with something else.

 

I literally screamed within the first few seconds, in horror. It freaked me out,seriously. Nevertheless, I persevered and completed watching the entire damn thing, only to feel disgusted after that. I have nothing against cosplayers, but it just seemed so….horrid.

Which brings me to my next point : Why are most Weeaboos from America? I’m not being a racist, but it’s observable.

Perhaps it’s the appeal of a completely foreign culture. There have been numerous western thinkers and educators who study Japanese culture, but they are not insulted for doing so. Conversely, Japan is interested in Western Culture as well. As a result of the two fields being worlds apart, they possess an unusual charm to the opposite party which results in such a gravitation.  As compared to perhaps Chinese and Korean culture, which in some aspects start to overlap with Japanese Culture.  As with that previous video, the word seems to be attractive, or even fun to them. It’s like their very own creepy little hobby.

—————-

Which brings me to a different topic, which is somewhat related : why is there such extreme hate towards Japanese Culture? To the extent that what seems to be a slight interest in it leads to the person being grouped under the derogatory term of ‘Weeaboo’. Simple. The media. The media leads to one negative example becoming an over-generalization on the entire population. Much like how anime nerds are usually automatically classified to be ‘creepy’ people, mostly due to really freaky people posing with their body pillows and whatnot. Examples of this can be seen from the Little Girl Murders, a spree of serial killings during the period of 1988-1989 in Tokyo and Saitama, Japan. The killer sexually assaulted little girls, drank their blood and ate their fresh. When it was discovered that the serial killer, Tsutomu Miyazaki was a fan of Anime and Slasher films, such as the Guinea Pig series, it sparked a mass panic decrying the otaku in Japan and anime for causing him to become a serial killer.

Much of this could be applied to more minor cases as well. With the concept of  ‘Weeabooism’ overlapping with other related ideas such as ‘anime fandom’, much of this could be attributed to the negative effects brought about by Weeaboos in society. Just to set things straight, I do not eat Pocky every day, masturbate to figures of girls, sleep with half-naked body pillows or do Japanese Karaoke. I am not a weeaboo ; I am proud to be Chinese. Weeaboos afflict and cause an intense hate for interest in Japanese Culture, to the extent where it is now a social taboo, an area never to be tread in. It is now a social stigma, and conservative societies like Singapore start to take offence at any interest in Japanese culture. It took me ages to convince my own parents that I had actual friends and I am not a freak (at least, much anyway) but now it just makes me facepalm to see my dad try and get into my hobby. (He spews random Japanese words, 90% of time ‘kawaii’) Oh the horror.  As such, any form of interest in Japanese culture is likely to be seen as a problem plaguing Singaporean youth, or even youth in general, especially teenage males, most of which seem to read Detergent Bleach.

And of course, anime nerds =/= weeaboos. I stand by this statement and I shall defend it with all my might.

Haters gonna hate.

 

Further reading

Anime, Bloggers and the Land of the Rising Sun – What causes this obsession with Japan?

 

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50 Responses to Weeaboo-ism

  1. bd77 says:

    That, is an interesting yet eye-opening read (not to mention eye-blinding *points to the youtube vid*).

    I myself use some Japanese word, according to context and situation, but mostly while driving, cursing at other ⑨ drivers who makes faeries look smarter.

    p.s I tend to stay away from emo-riddled (and long-winded) anime series.

    • Valence says:

      I mean, some people do it OBSESSIVELY, that’s where it gets out hand – to the point where they use it wrongly. And frankly, it’s gotten to a point where the term has been used to lump all fans of Japanese culture in general, especially where I live. My classmate is a true-blue weeaboo, but now whenever he says something about Japan immediately, there is a chorus of ‘Weeaboo!’

      Just have to go out there and set things straight.

  2. Shance says:

    Uh oh, this is surely going to attract unwanted attention…

    • Valence says:

      Just according to Keikaku (Translator’s Note: Keikaku means plan)

      That of course, being yet another example.

    • Valence says:

      Oh well, I guess that doesn’t count, I suppose. It’s grown into a meme in itself.

      But what I don’t like is people using the term ‘weeaboo’ as a lump term for anyone with the remotest interest in Japanese culture or media. It’s seriously annoying. Not to offend anyone with this post, of course, just to put something out there.

  3. Yeah, I think once you hit the point of apologism where you pretty much rabidly defend Japan despite whatever legitimate shortcomings they may have or taking the position that Japanese cartoons are better than those from any other country, that’s when you’ve gone overboard. The key point lies in the level of obsessiveness and as long as those levels still remain in the healthy range, it should be all good. In theory anyhow.

    • Valence says:

      In theory, everything is healthy. But yeah, that’s how one does not fall into this group of ‘weeaboos’.

      I suppose it’s a little more , or even less than apologism. While some do follow the apologist approach and defend Japan, others don’t know anything about the true state of Japan, just mindlessly following their culture and perhaps, attempting to defend Japan as well.

      I suppose it must have been due to how Japan seems like heaven for people like this, I guess.

  4. ‘I literally screamed within the first few seconds, in horror’

    I second that, and I scared my brother into hitting his head on my doorframe escaping from me.

    • Valence says:

      And I’m sorry the cats didn’t impress you much. But its amount of horror is so large it apparently affects those around you.

      People feel pride from doing this, I guess. I suppose it’s something like a fetish or preference. It’s not right, but it’s not wrong either, it’s just entirely up to the person’s point of view.

      • I really think its opposites attracting each other…. I really cannot fathom these people’s minds. Which is why I screamed, scaring the brother who was going to physically poke me again since he watched that silly Nigahiga video D:

    • Valence says:

      The Social Generation one, right?

      I mean, no matter how much I would be compelled to express how much I love my hobbies, I wouldn’t go around doing that.

      • yep the social generation one. sighs…

        Being compelled to do something is one thing. Going way overboard till you are screaming ‘kawaii!’ every few words is a bit too much… which is the screaming reaction

    • Valence says:

      Although I don’t like them, I don’t think they shout ‘kawaii’ every few words….perhaps every few paragraphs.

  5. Yi says:

    I think most things are best in moderation. I find it kind of annoying too when a weeaboo throws in kawaii and such into every other English sentence and then goes on to say how much he loves anime. It almost gives other anime fans a bad image. 😦

    …But to each his own.

    • Valence says:

      To each his own, I can’t say that this behaviour is necessarily wrong, but I don’t like it when on one hand we fervently defend our hobby yet we have examples like them which the opposition could have used.

      A bad image indeed. So much so that it almost becomes a generalization of all culture fans.

  6. Ming Xuan says:

    Oh god, the horror!

  7. Nopy says:

    Some people freak me out with how much they love Japanese culture, but then again, I’m sure I’d freak out a lot of people if they saw all my anime figures.

    The ones that say they want to be Japanese seem really misguided to me, no race is better than another.

    • Valence says:

      You’ve actually seen them say they -want- to be Japanese? Now that’s misguided. Knowing the language or culture of a country doesn’t make you part of it.

      I know anime figures are indeed, not accepted by most conservative folk. I understand your pain. But it’s far more acceptable than being a Japanese wannabe.

  8. doriinatrix says:

    Why did you post that video oh god
    And good post. I think everyone goes through this “omg Japan is SO COOL why oh why wasn’t I born Japanese” phase, but some never seem to grow out of it…*shivers*

    • Valence says:

      I think the funny thing is that if I had ever went through such a phase, it would be for a short period of time way before I watched anime. I think I really liked a Japanese movie on TV back then, and kept quoting the main character’s catch phrase. Can’t remember what it was though.

      Nevertheless, not as severe as these guys.

  9. hiroy_raind says:

    I might be lucky since there isn’t much anti-weeaboism with severe prejudice around me or my frequent local forum.

    But to be honest I felt like I actually need to be the executor of my own friends that are starting to becoming weeabos themselves (ranging from your usual “add Japanese words/suffixes” to using “wwwww” instead of LOL or normal laugh words).
    They were saying stuff like “I know, it’s stupid, so I’ll only use it here where thing aren’t so serious”, but doesn’t that means they rather annoy their friends than others? blargh.
    /rant

    • Valence says:

      I use wwwww now. Lol has started to devolve into a word meaning ‘meh’. It’s like they use lol to represent every emotion available. Still, of course, I’d rather use lol if I don’t get taken wrongly, lol.

      Adding japanese suffixes…. now if it’s out of compulsion, it’s a weeabooish act. I mean, I actually used to know this one guy who addressed everyone with suffixes.

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  11. Mizorui says:

    It’s good to have self control and know the things that you’re doing. I love anime, it’s the reason why I’m also interested in Japanese culture. What the others must realize is that they need to keep things balanced without exaggerating.

    • Valence says:

      Yes indeed. I too am slightly interested in Japanese culture, but not to the extent where it overtakes who I am as a person. It’s important to be realistic and remember not to exaggerate.

  12. Buy WoW Mage says:

    my gosh! a hundred thumbs up for this post!
    there are a lot of weaboos here.
    although i am an anime fan, what they’re doing is just so annoying>.<
    they do not even realize the difference between -san and -kun.
    they think they so cool saying japanese phrases. you should hear them talk, you will a lot of mispronounced words. i just can't believe them.
    most of them only discover Pocky because cute japanese girls/boys eat them. and they think it makes them cute too. uuuhhh, i don't think so.
    great post. i salute you!=]

    • Valence says:

      I’d like to believe that weeaboos are okay, but the way they behave annoys me. I’m happy that I don’t know any IRL anymore, so thank god for that.

      But where I live, such an occurrence is highly unlikely. After all, we’re a really diverse state, with so many different cultures and nationalities mixing together. I mean, go down to the nearest food centre and you’d find food from at least 3 different races. So I guess what really leads to weeabooism isn’t simply just fandom, but this sense of mystery, this sense of distance from the East.

  13. Shin says:

    I do not particularly love Japan either but I am so entrenched into the hobby that I do not mind embracing the term.

    • Valence says:

      Embracing the term? I’m not sure what you mean.

      But what I’m talking about isn’t mild interest with Japanese culture, it’s the aggressive, obsessive interest with Japanese culture that seems to swallow up the person’s own culture itself. It’s sort of a gut-intuition thing. You can instinctively tell if someone is a weeaboo or not, simply by his or her mannerisms.

      Hobby-wise, I don’t see a problem. But when it descends to the point of obsessive, worrying fandom, someone has to step in.

  14. afkeroge says:

    Hmmm… what I have to say is: this is a very severe case.

    I think it’s not bad to have an interest in Japanese culture, but those people sure go overboard, it’s annoying. I can’t believe that America has fallen this deep. Here in my country, people still keep their sanity, even as anime fans. They don’t scream Nyaa~ out of nowhere, don’t put on costumes that don’t suit them and they definitely have a sense of nationalism that may be greater than anyone else’s. Most people who do cosplay here stop at age 20, but these people look like 25-year olds to me.

    Some people really need to grow out of their childish ways of expressing fandom, and just support Japanese media with discretion, oh, and embrace their own culture more.

    This sure is a nice post.

    By the way, that vid really creeped me out, I slammed my headphones to the floor in annoyance.

    • Valence says:

      It’s okay to have an interest , as long as it does not go overboard. That’s my belief. Cosplay is a hobby, but weeabooism is not a hobby, rather, it’s a compulsion to do something.

      I believe if you truly like the culture, you shouldn’t insult it, or make others think it’ll create more people who act like you…

  15. math4origami says:

    We are the knights who say… “Ni!”(-ya)

    • Valence says:

      Through this same man and me hath all this war been wrought, and the death of the most noblest knights of the world; for through our love that we have loved together is my most noble lord slain.

      Thomas Malory

  16. alucard13mm says:

    lol im disgusted that im possibly associated with the “nyaa” crowd. i guess thats what people in USA see when they hear you talk about japanese stuff… weeaboo. lol i almost never talk about anime in real life, unless someone brings it up. although i do wear anime character merchandises now =P.. well, ill give those “nyaa” people a break since they were at an anime convention, and its not really their normal behavior *I HOPE*. but not much of a break, since they are still in public and they represent anime fans, so they should act more elegant and “normal”.

    • Valence says:

      People are quick to point fingers without even understanding what the term means.

      …but on second thought I’d give them a chance too. After all, it is an anime convention…

  17. Jimbob says:

    Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

    You are Chinese and like anime and cosplay; therefore, Weeaboo cannot include persons of Chinese descent, and a penchant for anime and cosplay do not determine who is a Weeaboo.

    Rather than complaining about others’ quirks to rationalize your own, why don’t you accept that you are who you are, and others are who they are?

    Many websites define this term to specifically include those who obsess over anime and cosplay, yet have poor Japanese and have never been to Japan. Yours takes a different view. Who cares? Try accepting others, and maybe even yourself for a change.

    • Valence says:

      I suppose I was indeed rather rude in saying that. I’ve removed it.

      But what I meant to say is that people seem to be more open about it in the West. They think it’s some sort of pride, like a badge or a medal. The definition is clear enough. What I am writing to say is that people, you included, seem to completely miss the point of what is a ‘weeaboo’. I’m sorry to say this, but my little racist segment stemmed from seeing too many Westerners proudly proclaim that they are as such, and fitting into this definition quite well, much better than the Asians do. I felt it intriguing.

      And I’m sorry to say this, but I shall not change my own views. Why? This is a blog. I blog about my views, whether you like them or not. Why should I change my stance simply because you say : ‘who cares?’

  18. doctordazza says:

    I’m ashamed to know that video comes from my hometown (in Australia). Which makes me even sadder to say I know these people.

    I am so ashamed, the horror.

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  21. 海賊王ライアン says:

    I’m an American, and I can say that there are 4 groups of fans of Japanese culture to be classified here (in the USA).
    ===============================================
    First, there are the Japanophiles. Basically, people who love all things Japanese as a hobby and who have usually been there before or will be going soon. They love the culture in its entirety, and even if their language comprehension isn’t great, they’d still like to live there.
    ================================================
    Next are the Otaku. Otaku just means “nerd” in Japanese, and these people are just nerds whose interests lie in Anime, Manga, Danmaku games, Japanese languages (Ie: the various dialects of Nihongo, Ryukyugo, and Ainu), Doujinshi (self made work), Tinierme and/or GaiaOnline, etc… They occasionally convert to Shinto, though this is more because of dissatisfaction with their original religion and Shinto’s ease of practice than any sort of obsession. I know a girl who became a Miko (shrine maiden, 巫女) for similar reasons without being an Otaku.
    =================================================
    Third, we have the Hikikomori. The Hikikomori stays in their house for 6 months or more without leaving the property and often need psychiatric help. They are usually so obsessed with something that they shut themselves in their house and refuse to come out. It can be triggered by a stress or a traumatic event in people with underlying PTSD or OCD.
    =================================================
    Lastly we have the Weeaboos. Besides what you said already, these guys are not only obsessed, but will try to correct your Japanese even if theirs is wrong because they think they know it better than you do. Often, they’ll claim that a really unlikely pair of characters in a popular Anime are in love when it’s obvious that they aren’t. At least one weeaboo I know shows some yandere tendencies, which scares me… Though I find that sometimes they’re trying to be cool and they’ll say “dattebayo” which is Naruto’s verbal tick, and they think it actually means something. I don’t know if I should laugh or cry.
    ==================================================
    As an Admin for several Otaku forums, I find it really annoying when I run into a weeaboo, because they give us (normal people with exotic interests) a bad name. They also try to tell me that my Japanese is incorrect when they themselves can’t even read it. Japanese is my 3rd language, I copied the Tokyo accent from watching NHK, and I’m nearly fluent. I also know a Japanese-pidgin, and can do a convincing Osaka accent (I often use this to joke with my Japanese friends who find my impressions to be really funny.)

    • Valence says:

      I sort of agree with you there, and to be honest, I’m glad you’re the one of the few people who didn’t flame me in the comments. Honestly, as much as I like being a part of this fandom, some people really give much chance for others to make stereotypes and then generalise all anime fans as weeaboos. My dad tried to use Japanese words at one point, until I explained everything to him and told him I was normal.

      Some people can have a fandom without bringing it to extreme heights, others can’t. Regarding your groupings though, I can say that I entirely agree. For instance, I think that Weeaboos might be equivalent to Japanophiles, since both groups defend Japan rabidly despite whatever actual shortcomings it may have. Perhaps I’m being prejudcied, but this is what I think.

  22. Jlattimor3 says:

    OMG it’s so baaaadd at my school. I think that it’s actually an identity crisis or something. I live in Atlanta and I’ve seen people (other blacks) burn their hair to a crisp and perm the hell out of it to get it straight like Asian hair. It’s ridiculous. I have a friend to where he was like “sometimes I wish I was Japanese, dude. You know what I mean?” And I was like “………….. no I don’t”.

    It’s like some of them don’t even understand the fact that I could move to Japan and hypothetically marry a Japanese woman. I could have half Asian kids with her while living there but as a black person I would never get citizenship or be Japanese. None of that would make me any more Asian. I’d just be an African American foreigner without a retirement plan. They all go through the extent of trying to learn Japanese when they could be trying to pick up at least some Chinese or Spanish (basically something they’re going to use). I know a guy that goes to my school who has a youtube channel for “teaching everyone Japanese” and this mofo has NEVER set foot in Japan.

    I see it all the same as a Japanese person hypothetically walking into the room with a fake Afro and a “black power” pick in it with sagging pants using slang while trying to “dap” people. The principle is the same.

    • Valence says:

      It’s a kind of passion, I suppose, but it gets out of control for some. After spending some time around weeaboos, I find it okay for them to take an interest in learning the Japanese language or expressing interest in visiting the country, but when they talk about changing their identity this is where it gets too far.

      The truth is that it is simply daft to try and change into another cultural identity. Just because you do X of culture Y doesn’t make you part of it.

  23. Quite an interesting read. I see people throw this word around all the time, but I don’t care about the term nor do I know the correct definition. Now I do, but I still probably don’t care about this word. Probably because I don’t hang around on the internet as much as others.

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