A Guide on the Word “Weeaboo”
Hello, you may be wondering why I have the text “If you’re not East Asian and call youself a weeaboo, don’t follow me” in my side bar. Here are a few quick disclaimers:
- I am well aware that many people do it, especially in anime-related and related fandoms.
- If you have ever called yourself a weeaboo at some point in time that does not mean that you can never follow me or that I will never follow you. I follow people now who do it or have done it in the past, which is part of why this page exists.
- I am Chinese, not Japanese. I cannot specifically speak about the pain that this causes me from a Japanese standpoint, but because many East Asian experiences with racism overlap, I am still affected by this.
Origins of the Word
The word weeaboo comes from a webcomic. It is literally a nonsense word. The word became popularized when people on 4chan were getting upset about being called “wapanese” (wannabe Japanese). The mods put in an auto-censor so the “weeaboo” would appear rather than “wapanese.”
Why Do People Call Themselves Weeaboos?
I have several explanations/theories.
- People use this to refer to their past selves when they come to realize that what they were doing was racist and harmful. This usage is okay as long as you realize that you may mess up in the future and are willing to correct that too!
- East Asian people use this word to joke about their experiences and joke about weeaboos. This is an okay usage as long as they are doing this for catharsis! If there are other issues about East Asian people doing this, it’s an inter-community discussion.
- People do not understand the origins of this word and mistakenly believe it means that they are into anime/manga rather than being connected to a fetishist viewpoint of Japan.
- People do not understand that anti-racists use this word to call out fetishists.
What is a Weeaboo?
A weeaboo is somebody who fetishizes Japanese culture, but it may not be limited to that. A weeaboo also may conflate multiple groups of Asian people, randomly start speaking Japanese at anyone that might look Japanese, put down non-Japanese Asian people for being the “wrong type of Asian,” and even promote imperialism because of their inaccurate viewpoint of Japan!
Why Non-East Asian People Should Not Call Themselves Weeaboos
- Weeaboo is a term that Japanese people and other East Asians use to describe those who do them harm due to fetishized viewpoints.
- It is a term that people use in solidarity with Japanese/East Asian people to recognize this specific harmful behavior. When you are against fetishization/racism/oppression, and you claim to be this word, you are stripping it of the meaning that we assign to classify people who are harmful to us.
- To be clear, you are not specifically appropriating Japanese by doing this, but you are undermining East Asian people who try to steer clear of harm. I have experienced a lot of cognitive dissonance about what I will encounter since creating this blog.
What Is Really Wrong with Being a Weeaboo?
- The amount of harm done varies, so I will speak from my own lived experience.
- I live in a 99% white area, but in a place with a lot of weeaboos. People will get unfriendly fast where I live and have grown up; if you are not their complacent Asian fantasy when you are around them.
- When my school had a Chinese teacher teach Mandarin, the children bullied her so ruthlessly that she quit halfway through the year. Some of the white kids were angry that the district did not bring in Japanese and showed it (though I doubt a Japanese teacher would have been treated any better). This environment was very alienating and made it hard for nonwhite (especially East Asian students) to speak up to all the white kids.
- Weeaboos’ fetishized viewpoints of Japan can be very misogynistic specifically and build up a fantasy idea of what Asian women are like, “submissive, docile, etc.” and cause them to sexualize people on basis of being Asian. This has caused a great deal of harm to my education personally for speaking out against injustice because I am expected to be docile, and I have developed retroactive ways of coping with attention I do not want pulled to my ethnicity.
- Weeaboos can influence people into thinking they are the “wrong kind of Asian” with a strange policing of someone’s Asianness that centers on whether or not they are Japanese.
- Weeaboos will thoughtlessly call people inappropriate and alienating things for wearing their traditional clothing because it is vaguely Asian and start fawning over it because they think it’s Just So Cool That You’re Asian. This may or may not wear off if you are a different type of Asian than Japanese. Either way it can be humiliating or uncomfortable.
- Weeaboos don’t understand how painful it is to be ostracized for not blending enough and trying to connect to your cultural roots and will act like it is the same thing when Japanese people speak up about appropriation.
- Weeaboos have also defended Japanese imperialism and neofascism, nationalism etc. without any idea of the context and get upset when people who have heritage connected to the countries hurt by this call them out.
If you read this list and thought that you would never do any of that, maybe it is time to stop calling yourself a weeaboo and evaluate your behavior. I am not insinuating that you are doing these things by listing them. I am saying that these are some of the things weeaboos do. Even if they are being less violently harmful than harrassing, they still buy into and perpetuate a larger culture of fetishization. These are the type of people that I, and other East Asians who speak about racism talk about when we refer to weeaboos.
If you are in anime/manga or related fandoms and this is the first you have heard weeaboo used in a negative manner regarding fetishism, I strongly suggest that you do some reading. If you want referrals, I am happy to provide them. Just ask me privately because I am not comfortable setting racist anons on blogs that already deal with enough vitriol.
My circle of friends can be weird at times, but mostly I hang out with fairly normal people. Then there are the three girls who are included in my circle as well. Let’s call them Shoes, Bird, and Pink. Of course, they all like Hetalia and Black Butler, as well as other various animes/mangas. I’m sorry to say they’ve pushed me away from these things due to the incidents that happened a month or so ago.
I use to go to an anime club that was at my local library and it was the first place I ever met any other anime fans but it was absolutely horrible. Everyone would get into fights over anime and there were these two really creepy guys that kept looking at me and staring at me the entire time I was there. A girl, who I’ll call M, told me not to worry about them and they are just not used to new people. Her being the only one not picking fights and actually being very nice too me, I trusted what she said. But then she left to go to the bathroom and the two creepy guys zoomed over to me. One of them, who I’ll call D, put his arm around me and gave me a very weird smile. His hair was very greasy, and you could tell he hadn’t taken a shower for a long time. He then asked me how old I was. I told him I was thirteen and he got the CREEPIEST GRIN EVER and said he absolutely loved his loli-con. Nope nope nope red flag.
I went to an anime convention cosplaying with two of my friends (lets call them N and C). C was cosplaying Armin from SnK, N was cosplaying Eren and i was Mikasa. I was cosplaying as one of the Wings of Counter Attack outfits (the one with that big ass sword). Now i actually look very mature and tall for my age im only 14 but i could easily pass as a 17 year old. N and C decide to go look at the gift shop and i was gonna go with them but this guy came up and asked for a picture, but just of me, and me being the nice person i am i say, yes.
this blog has two mods (both of whom are full time college students, one of whom is employed, which is why this blog doesnt update as often as it used to). neither of us are, or are affiliated with, rune-midgarts, who ran the old weaboostories blog a few years back (although she did, hilariously, try to get us to shut this blog down when we first started it up).
So, a couple of months ago, I took my nine-year-old cousin to a convention near her town. We had spent the past year making her a lolita dress based around a strawberry-chocolate cake, and she was really excited to show it off to people. And, to keep her company in her dress, I would be wearing my own lolita dress, only my dress was steampunk themed and I was wearing a long brown wig.
It was really great, and she had a lot of fun seeing people she knew from video games and talking to them, and lots of people asked for pictures of the two of us, and it was a really fun day for me.
That is, until about half way through.
I was talking to a couple of people in silent hill costumes while my cousin was in the toilet, when I felt something tugging on my dress. I turned around to see a girl dressed in some Madoka Magica costume (although it didn’t really fit her very well…) and she was tugging on my dress pretty hard. I asked her to stop, since I wasn’t sure how strong the stitching on my dress was, but she just giggled and called me ‘tsundere’. I was getting pretty irritated at her, and her hands were traveling higher and higher, until I had to grab her hands and push her away slightly. By then, she was getting pretty upset, and she was pushing onto me, and even though I’m pretty fit and I work out a lot, she was pushing me into the wall and I was getting a bit freaked out.
Luckily, one of the nurses I was talking to had gone to tell security there and the Vincent there was pulling her back and told her told her to leave me alone. Of course, she started crying and ran away, but I was glad she was gone. The rest of the people I was talking to calmed me down, and my cousin finally came out the toilet so I could finally walk away from there.
I don’t think I’ll be going to any conventions anytime soon, that experiance shook me up.
When I was in school I worked at a Chinese and Japanese buffet near my hometown. We have traditional Asian options, as well as some American foods, like chicken nuggets and French fries. And, since I worked there almost everyday from the end of school to closing all week, I’ve seen my fair share if weeaboos. But I’ve never really seen some quite as extreme as this.
They paraded into the buffet, took one look around, and screamed “Kawaii!” or “Sugoi!” The group qA wearing cat ears or anime shirts. They reached the counter and began flustering over my fellow cashier and I, calling us “smexy”. I politely asked what table they would like and one of them, a younger girl, asked me “Can you ask us in Japanese?” I told them that I spoke little Japanese myself and I was given weird looks and glares. Eventually we sorted everything out and the other cashier showed them to their table.
Eventually they were at the counter dishing their food. They all chose items like sushi and ramen, and all was going well until one of the men reached the chicken nuggets and screeched “What is this!?” I told him that we offered many different types of food and he gave me a disgusted look.
Eventually they were back at their table and were talking loudly about their anime and manga, going on and on about how sexy a certain character was or how yuri or yaoi a couple was. Multiple times my coworkers told them to settle down and behave more peacefully, as they were getting more graphic and there were families around.
They finished their meals and instead of leaving they decided to run around the buffet and act out their favorite anime scenes, which included throwing plates at eachother and a male trying to “make yaoi” with a coworker who was cleaning the men’s bathroom. My coworkers and I got fed up and tried to get them to leave, which ended in total disaster. Some of the group began to attack some workers, while others went into the kitchen and other areas of the building and screamed at everyone for being “untraditional” and “a danger to Japanese culture”. We eventually got them out of the restaurant, locking all the doors because the group kept trying to get back in, and told the families that we alerted the police and to remain calm. Of course the police came and took the group away and they were charged with practically everything under the sun, and I left the job soon after that.
Hey guys, this is just a quick reminder to read the submission guidelines before submitting. There are a few problems i keep seeing over and over in the inbox. For example, the story I just posted, PLEASE remember that naming multiple people in your story with just a single letter like A or K is really confusing. Just come up with a fake name for people so that it’s easier to read.
Also please don’t fat shame in your submissions. Being fat has nothing to do with a persons weeaboo status. I used to just edit them out but at this point I’m just straight up not gonna post your story because you’re rude and that’s unnecessary.
There’s a guy on my college campus— we’ll call him K— who is 23 and the most aggressive weeaboo I have ever met. Though he’s not actually a student, he’s on campus most weekdays, and he hangs out where I usually do, in an area towards the back of one of the cafeteria’s that residents call Nerdtown. Nerdtown consists of a bunch of comfy armchairs and a few round booths surrounding a carpeted area with wall outlets. People who hang out there usually have their computers hooked up, studying, working on projects, or, more often than not, gaming. There’s always card games like League of Legends or Cards Against Humanity going on, and we generally have a good time. Most days, K is pretty chill, and we even have fun conversations occasionally.
K, like I said, is 23, a bit on the short side, and sort of… well, smelly. His breath stinks, and he wears the same few anime t-shirts over and over— and I don’t think he he always washes them. I’ve been friends with plenty of smelly people, so I tend to ignore it and just avoid getting close enough to smell.
I am a lesbian, and I’m not subtle about it. I tend to project as the stereotypical butch, and some days I even get mistaken for a guy, which doesn’t bother me in the least. I also have a girlfriend I’ve been with for two years, and I talk about her enthusiastically quite regularly. The first time I did around K, his reaction was almost comedic. His eyes bulged, he reeled back, and I swear to god, he did an actual double-take. And then he asked, breathing heavily, “Wait, you’re LESBIAN?!” He was really loud. A lot of heads turned. I just sort of nodded. “Uh… Yeah. I thought everyone knew that already.” Again, I have all the subtlety of a brick to the head. Apparently, he didn’t. And he’s treated me differently ever since. Every time I talk about my girlfriend when he’s around, he gets this creepy smile on his face and hisses out, “Yuuuuriiiii.”
It only got worse when he realized he already knew my girlfriend, M. She’s an amazing artist, and often attends cons all over the country with her art mentor, A, to make a little extra cash, considering she goes to a pretty expensive art school on scholarship. K recognized her from a couple local cons when I invited her to campus on Valentine’s Day. Now, creepers are par for the course with M. She’s incredibly pretty, and when she’s working cons, she dresses up in flashy corsets and bright makeup, which people seem to take as consent to be pervy fuckers. K is one of those pervy fuckers, apparently. The entire time M was with me, he sat really close, kept trying to horn in on our conversations, and when I pulled her into my lap for some long overdue cuddles, he did his creepy “Yuuuuriiiii” thing.
It hasn’t stopped either. I like to draw, and I like to draw naked people, so sue me. Whenever he wants to see what I’m drawing, if it’s anything sexy, he gets creepy. If it’s a woman, he hangs over my shoulder and breathes heavily. If it’s a guy, he acts personally victimized and shrieks and acts totally disgusted.
I can’t even hug my female friends without him flipping out about “yuri.” And to be honest, I’m getting real fucking sick of it, but if I call him out on it, suddenly I’m the biggest bitch to ever bitch, so I tend to just quietly tell him off if he’s getting on my nerves. He goes off and sulks for a while, but comes back a little while later like nothing happened.