(Written by Deku)
What is weeaboo? Urban Dictionary defines it as an individual who is overly obsessed with anime and Japanese culture, to the point that they shun their real identity and speak make-believe Japanese. Not to mention that the term is quite controversial and often considered derogatory, although there are people who love the word and use it to describe themselves! Other variations like weeb, weaboo, Wapanese (a portmanteau of Japanese and Weeb) etc. have similar definitions.
We asked a bunch of people if they had heard about the word before and if they knew its meaning.
Here’s what they said:
“I seriously don’t know. ‘Weea’ can mean something, but what is ‘boo’?”, said one of our interviewees. “It’s just a random sound to me”, he further added.
The word didn’t ring a bell for most folks! And so, we had to give some hints to a couple of peeps:
“Any hint? Is it an everyday word or an object?”, they asked us. “It’s related to Japan and it’s about the people”, we answered. “Is it otaku? Or something else related to Japan… like samurai?”, he questioned back. “No that’s less close”, we hinted. “It’s close to otakus, right? MAIDS!”, they joked.
Is weeaboo a positive word?
“A positive word? I think it can be ironic, though. It might imply something like: Oh, you like Japan more than your own country?”, an interviewee explained. “Or people might make fun of them like: Oh, you like Japan so much but you are not even Japanese!”, his friend added further to his statement.
‘Boo’ sounded like a negative word to these girls.
These guys second their opinion. “It’s a negative word. Because they forget their own culture”, one of them said, while thinking more about the question. His friend said that it sounds phonetically negative. “‘Weeaboo’ sounds negative”, he said while agreeing with others.
It is to be noted that a similar variation of the word, Koreaboo, exists for people who are obsessively into K-Pop, K-Dramas and Korean culture. Koreaboo is also the name of a popular K-Pop news portal and is currently one of the largest content platforms for international K-Pop readers. Once again, the term might be controversial like Weeaboo.
What do the Japanese people think of ‘weeaboos’ personally?
“Being a Japanese myself, I think it’s totally fine. I will be quite happy if they come to like Japan more and more, and introduce Japanese culture to the world”, gleamed one of the peeps.
“I think they are fine because they like Japan”, a girl said. “I think they are fine. I don’t have any reason to criticize them”, her friend added.
Another person thought that it was a good thing even though the word had a negative weight attached to it. “The sole fact that they are interested in Japan makes me happy”, he explained. “If you are from Europe or other countries, Japan looks really far, right? But if they become interested in Japan, by watching YouTube videos, for example, and if they come to Japan it would be a good thing even if the word might have a negative meaning”, his friend smiled as he explained.
One of the examples on Urban Dictionary read: “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”.
Also, if you want to speak to Japanese people directly, make sure to sign up for Yuta’s FREE Japanese Lessons!