I have a degree in ancient history and a passion for reading, cooking, DIY projects, tea, science fiction, and a myriad of other subjects.
Am I a Weeb?
"Weeaboo" (pronounced we-ah-boo with emphasis on the first syllable) is a common slang term on the internet. It's also used in anime, manga, and video game communities both online and offline. If you've been to an anime convention, video game expo, or other nerd fandom event, or if you spend a lot of time in geek communities online, you've probably heard it used and also come into contact with the people it describes.
But what does weeaboo mean, and what characteristics and behavior does it refer to, in particular?
Calling Someone a Weeaboo
Before we get into explanations and descriptions, it's important to understand that "weeaboo" is a derogatory term. If someone calls you a weeaboo, that person is not being nice. If you call another person a weeaboo, don't be surprised if they get angry or take offense. Just like any other insult, don't go casually throwing this word around or you risk making a lot of people mad.
So, What IS a Weeaboo?
In nerd and fandom communities, "weeaboo" is synonymous with "wapanese." Both terms can be used for males or females and are negative descriptors for non-Japanese people (usually, but not exclusively, Caucasians) obsessed with Japanese culture.
But what could possibly be bad about cultural appreciation?
Simply expressing a love for Japan and Japanese culture do not make you a weeaboo. The term does not refer to people like Japanese Studies majors, Japanese language students, Japanese history buffs, and other enthusiasts. Rather it connotes a belief in the superiority of Japanese culture above all others combined with a relative ignorance of Japanese culture outside of a particular fandom.
For example, an anime fan who has never learned to speak Japanese, studied Japanese history or literature, or even been to Japan, but who asserts that Japan has the world's most superior culture because of their cartoons is a weeaboo.
I Think I'm Turning Japanese, I Think I'm Turning Japanese... Maybe Not
"Weeaboo" can also refer to a person who wishes she was Japanese and tries to dress and act in ways that make her seem more "Asian" (when such efforts usually just make her seem culturally insensitive and ignorant in reality).
For this reason, non-Asian cosplayers, gothic lolitas, mori girls, and other followers of Japanese fashion trends are sometimes labeled "weeaboos," often unfairly.
Are All Anime, Manga, and Video Game Nerds Weeaboos?
Some fans of Japanese media are weeaboos, but most are not, so using it as a blanket term for Japan-based fandom is insensitive and inaccurate.
The vast majority of anime and manga fans, Japanese video game enthusiasts, gothic lolitas, cosplayers, visual kei fans, and other "Japan nerds" just want to enjoy their hobbies. Most don't consider themselves experts in Japanese culture simply because they enjoy a single niche aspect of it (and certainly don't wish they were Japanese or consider their own culture inferior).
Many also make an effort to become truly educated about Japanese culture, history, and customs out of curiosity, enthusiasm, and a desire to learn. Weeaboos do the opposite. They already consider themselves experts and therefore make no effort to achieve an educated, accurate understanding of Japanese society and culture.
Give Japan nerds the benefit of the doubt. No matter how they choose to dress crazy or get psyched over strange hobbies, they aren't necessarily weeaboos. Someone should only be considered a weeaboo after he/she has repeatedly demonstrated ignorance and shown no desire to learn.
Weeaboo Characteristics and How to Spot a Weeaboo
That said, here are a few warning signs to look out for that indicate someone might be a weeaboo:
- Inserting Japanese words and phrases like "kawaii" or "desu" into everyday conversation incorrectly or excessively (or both).
- Loving things simply because they are Japanese, not because they are actually good.
- Owning a collection of fake replica samurai swords made in China.
- Constantly talking about wanting a Japanese boyfriend or girlfriend, despite not knowing any Asian people.
- Correcting you about Japanese culture... and being wrong.
- Dreaming of moving to Japan... and not taking any Japanese language classes or doing any sort of practical preparation.
- Thinking Japan "understands" them because of its cartoons, comics, or video games.
- Putting down other cultures, including their own.
- Asking for chopsticks at non-Asian restaurants. Then using them incorrectly.
- Buying overpriced imported Japanese media they can't even read.
- Making the two-fingered anime girl pose in every photograph.
- Being bored by actual Japanese literature, art, and history.
SNL's J-Pop America Fun Time Now: A Hilarious (And Mostly Accurate) Representation of Weeaboos
Questions & Answers
Question: Does owning a body pillow make you a weeaboo?
Answer: While the two things are heavily correlated, there is by no means a causal relationship between owning body pillows and being a weeaboo.
Question: I like thick Asian girls. Am I a weaboo?
Answer: Having a preference for a specific type of appearance in a partner doesn't make you a weaboo. Many people have a physical "type." If you were to say "I like submissive, obedient Asian women," that would be problematic because you're expecting them to act a certain way (like an outdated stereotype, in my example). But simply thinking thick Asian women are beautiful doesn't say anything negative about you and doesn't make you a weeb.
Liz on September 16, 2020:
I honestly never learned from family members how to use chopsticks but I use them in a comfortable way that lets me still eat what I'm eating, does that mean I'm a weeb because I don't look up how to use chopsticks?
I keep thinking I'm already using them right but for some reason it scares me that I be a weeb
(this is what I only think)your a weeb if you enjoy the culture not because likes it your gonna do it too (I think) on September 13, 2020:
You dont need to search on google "how many anime to watch to became a weeb"
If you love the the culture and enjoy it mybe your a weeb idk
Also you dont have to put your background a anime but if you like the anime I guess thats acceptable
idk Im not really good at explaining
Solarah on August 24, 2020:
If i love manga and anime,does that make me a weeb?
Since I watched an interesting anime filme,Now i cant stop,Am always reading manga and anime stories..,
Since then I learnt how to speak Japanese-
I dont actually go cosplaying as my favorite anime character but i do have a lot of movies here..but I already watched them though-
Well i'mma go to my senpai next door
bigapplegirl on August 10, 2020:
This is accurate. Also ,remember that weeb is when you like respectfully Japanese Culture , and weeboo or weeaboo is obsession for Japanese culture . Thanks
Elias on July 15, 2020:
Is it offencive to a Japanese person, or does it make me a weeaboo if I write my name in katakana?
I just think its really fun being able to write my name in Japanese :3
Anou on July 13, 2020:
Some things are correct but some are also Incorrect an example of something incorrect is that Non-asia cosplayers are weeaboos. no they are not. if you cosplay for an event (comic con, anime expo etc) it does not make you a weeaboo because people also cosplay other type of characters, like Spiderman and Spiderman has nothing to do with japanese culture.
Nathalie on June 28, 2020:
What if I would wear a japanese school uniform in public? Would it make me a weeaboo?
Josh on June 10, 2020:
i look at anime girls. am i a weeb?
Frog on April 19, 2020:
Istg if you use kawaii desu, or Baka I’m a sentence I’m front of me the conversation is over and I’m disowning you as a friend
TigerValley-62 on March 11, 2020:
I LOVE animation in general. It's an incredible art form that used to be heavily underrated in Western culture growing up and was generally perceived as 'Kid's entertainment'. My dream growing up was to become an animator and work for Disney, and as a result began to study the art form heavily. Even going to art and writing classes. It was at the art class that I met a dude who was an anime fan. Now, I never heard of the art form before and was intrigued simply for the fact that it was foreign to me. He introduced me to the medium, and 10+ years later I still enjoy it quite often even though life had other plans for me and I didn't end up going into the animation field. I always saw anime for what it is....an art form. Now, with the rise of social media, I have been seeing this gross trend of foreigners overstepping the line between reality and fiction, and I am not going to deny I was greatly disturbed by this. Still am actually. I find it super culturally insensitive to the Japanese people even though I don't know jack about the country and makes me feel ashamed of how we foreigners make such fools of ourselves. It really disturbs me. The waifu culture, the use of bare basic Japanese words, cosplayers, oversexualized characters/fanart, massive spending sprees on merchandise (and debt), the broad generalization with terms such as Nerd/Otaku/Weeb etc, and discussions like best girl. I do not dig it, yet still love anime as a storytelling art form. I wish anime culture today actually did not exist, because even though I am an old timer so to speak, I feel dirty and ashamed to be among them even though all I want to do is talk about my favourite shows with other people. I even dropped anime for a year because of this, and ended up going back, because you know.....It's my hobby. It's a very difficult part of the online community to accept and embrace for me. With the Japanese noticing their profits skyrocket overseas, they gravitate more and more to cookie cutter content with predictable stories, mediocre animation and same old over the top fan service and tropes fueling this sub pop-culture. Can't watch seasonal nowdays for the life of me. Can't embrace the online community. I've tried, but I cannot. It's so.....weird and as a realist, it bugs and irks me greatly to the point I even think about it as I watch the stuff. Anime addiction is a bad thing and it's growing increasingly worse with the years. I hope we can regain decency and self-control because I really don't want to witness this any more than I have to. Sorry, but I had to vent. I'm tired of the online anime community. Probably going to take a break from it after this.
Also despite this, I find European culture much more interesting than Asian culture. I love the music, the food, the architecture, the people all that jazz. I LOVE Europe. Been there a few times actually since I have family there. As much as I love anime and although Japanese culture is fascinating, nothing can take my heart away from Europe. That's the place I dream of moving to someday, especially Italy. I'm a European Weeaboo lol :-D
Nat on February 15, 2020:
Wait i have a katana set but they were given to me by my dad and i like the art style of anime so am i weeboo
Alex on February 13, 2020:
That's so true my friend is like that
Karen on February 12, 2020:
If I got Aids does that mean I'm a weeb, cause if it does I will kill you and everyone you love
sazar on January 16, 2020:
i joke sometimes that i exceed weeb because not only i am big fan of pop culture, but i also have a degree in East Asian culture and languages.
Yeehonk on December 13, 2019:
Why are here so many people asking if you're a weeb if you do this and that? No, you're not a weeb if you sing japanese songs. No, you're not a weeb if you own a ton of body pillows (I'm envious). You're only a weeb if you wish to be born Japanese, if you're fetishizing Japanese people and if you think that Japan is superior than other countries!
233! on November 23, 2019:
This insult me
Moontea on October 30, 2019:
Am I a weeb if idk there's a thing called weeb and I watched anime since I was a kid not those Pokemon kind but like the ones that are what normally a person watch and I find some of the opening songs nice without knowing the meaning but yeah I looked up at the translation and am I considered as a weeb?? Like anime was basically my childhood :)))
Elmo on October 25, 2019:
stan louside on October 14, 2019:
i just wanted to know if my teacher was a weeb
Samantha on September 20, 2019:
Peple keep calling me a weeb even though i have none of the traits of a weeb and i have a anime profile picture am i considerd a weeb?
Nani?Nixie on September 05, 2019:
@K There are good weebs and bad weebs. Good weebs are just obsessed fans (like me). Bad weebs are racist, ignorant people who think they're Asian.
OBJECTION! on August 16, 2019:
are you a weeb if you put too much anime posters in a roblox house
developper rivera on August 14, 2019:
woop on July 13, 2019:
r u a weeb if u put an anime pic as ur pfp
cawk and bawl torture enthusiast on July 10, 2019:
who doesnt like a good CBT
K on May 31, 2019:
Im freaking offended. Dont go talking about stuff you know nothing about!! Im a PROUD weeb and I am nothing like that absolute SHITE you wrote. Being a weeb is not a bad thing!! You're just an ignorant person who refuses to believe otherwise.
Tim on May 30, 2019:
Does it make you a weaboo if your in love with an anime girl?
Tiara on May 22, 2019:
If a weeb thinks i'm cool am i a weeb?
Riley on May 18, 2019:
Thank you for this enformation i thought i was a weaboo before this beacuse i love causplaying anime and drawing anime and like the culter some what
Elijah-Kun on April 26, 2019:
Looks like I’m a weeaboo
Emi on March 17, 2019:
Does it count being a weeaboo if one can really manipulate their face to make them look Japanese, speak Japanese decently and all that, but they were never Japanese in the first place? Some Weeaboos may claim they are half Japanese.
Weeaboo on March 09, 2019:
Bruh. We dont always look like that. Most of us are into, well, more.. cultured anime... Like boku no hero academia, boku no pico, and deathnote.
Yolo on January 04, 2019:
The whole weeaboo thing is an American thing. In Europe the whole concept does not exist. In my native language it does not exist. The concept of cultural appropriation does not exist where I live as in most of the world. So I can't care anything less. I'm laughing at you American.
what is life on November 21, 2018:
if you sing a japanese song does that make you a weeb? like an anime opening for example. and also uh.. if you learn japanese does that make you a weeb?
Hi on July 08, 2018:
Does wearing J Fashion make you a weeaboo?
Kayla on June 25, 2018:
I don't think I'm a weeaboo. I love Japanese culture, but really I appreciate a lot of Asian cultures because there's beautiful architecture, food, I love the languages, etc. I don't "put down" other cultures. That's wrong. I put my country down because so many bad things have happened and it's sucky.
Isadora Pirkey on June 08, 2018:
I only matched 1 of the traits but partially matched others: I do make a peace sign in every picture taken of me, I fantasize about having a Japanese boyfriend but I am part Asian and my grandma is Asian, and so are a lot of my cousins, and I do want to live in Japan but I am currently learning Japanese. I do find myself being overly obsessed with anime, Lolita fashion, cosplay, manga, etc. what do you think? Am I a weeaboo?
chris danger trademark on February 26, 2018:
stop doing this please.
mart on January 11, 2018:
i love Asian culture. most specifically Japanese. because in East Asia i feel they have the most beautiful temples, exquisite gardens, excellent architecture, wonderful food, kind people.. interesting history etc. i dont like anime manga or all that other stuff. just the country itself. i have been 4 times and sort of obsessed. ive had 3 asian partners in the past and hope to marry a Japanese and settle there this year. i study japanese language in my free time and have a good grasp of their culture. i imagine from this description im either a otaku or japanophile? is that right?
MarieAddis on December 30, 2017:
Am I considered to be a weeb if I wear japanese style of modern clothing? I don't want to be japanese but I really like their style of clothing
okawaminawachan on November 01, 2017:
(I'm a weeabo)I have 5 body pillows, and binge watch anime, maybe have a couple samurai swords and some anime creators hidden in my closet I AM NOT A WEABO!!!!!!! (I'm a weeaabo)
Christy Kirwan (author) from San Francisco on October 03, 2017:
Since your friend already has an enthusiasm for Japan, I recommend encouraging him/her to get educated. Get your friend interested in Japanese current events and history. Information is the cure for ignorance and your friend's existing love might bloom into something more cultured (and less annoying to be around).
Roblox Master on October 02, 2017:
What do I do if my friend is a weeaboo?
okawaminawachan on September 29, 2017:
Although I have 5 body pillows, and binge watch anime, maybe have a couple samurai swords, I would not consider myself a weeaboo! I simply think that its a nice way of celebrating another culture and embracing it.
Cecilia on July 07, 2017:
This is why i get irked when ppl call the anime/manga community weeaboos. Yes. okay. some probably are, but a majority of us are most certainly NOT weeaboos. just because we enjoy anime or like reading manga or maybe get excited when we see a cool figure of out favorite anime character and buy it doesnt mean we are apparently "weeaboos" I am so sick of ppl misusing this word. especially when they do not know the person. before actually using the word, educate yourself to what it actually means.
Sabastion Serino on June 05, 2017:
My friends and cousins called me a weeaboo but i never was sure if i was or if i wasn't. thank you for sharing this information and clarifying i'm not a weeaboo
KAWAII DESU DESU CHAN on March 07, 2017:
OMG IM A WEEB!!!!!! AAAAAAAAHHHH!!! SOMEONE HELP ME!! IS THERE SPECIFIC TREATMENT??????
Christy Kirwan (author) from San Francisco on September 06, 2016:
HasegawaKuro, I think it depends more on how you act. :)
Christy Kirwan (author) from San Francisco on September 06, 2016:
Moonsunthing, I think the fact that you are making an honest effort to learn more about your fandom and Japanese culture in general instead of pretending you're an expert means you aren't a weeb. Never let others make you feel bad for your enthusiasm and curiosity.
HasegawaKuro on August 31, 2016:
so my online name is HasegawaKuro (cause i cant think of another name).. Does that make me a Weeaboo ??
Moonsunthing on August 29, 2016:
Ok so, I want to know if I'm weeaboo or not. I'm getting INTO anime, and already have 6 posters in my room. I have read/ watched over 10 animes now, and have loved it completely. I would also like to at least VISIT Japan, but will not do so until I know every aspect about it, and know how to speak Japanese, who goes to a country without knowing anything about it? I occasionally say kawaii, I don't use desu, I may sometimes also use baka, but that's it. I also like reading yaoi doujinshi, and fantasize about it :I I honestly want to be an accepted person but honestly, I'm beginning to hate myself for this. I don't want to go over the top, and kind of wish I'd never got into it in the first place, as I have a huge fear of being judged by others. I really really love anime, and wouldn't mind visiting Japan to see how it is. I watch a YouTube channel dedicated to Japan, and all the things that are there, and I would say yes, some of it seems a little bit weird but I actually really like the look of it, I am also really bad at learning languages and don't know how to get someone in to teach me Japanese, but I still try to learn it any way. If I can't learn it, I won't go. I understand if you were to say I am a weeboo, since I make anime references non stop, but ONLY to my otaku and anime loving friends, no one else, because they'd find it annoying and weird. Please be completely fair on your judgement, I just want to know your opinion. Maybe this is a phase I'm going through? I don't know... - Oh by the way, I am 13, I will be 14 this year incase that helps in any way.
Christy Kirwan (author) from San Francisco on December 31, 2015:
@Michaela, I'm sorry to hear that, some people are just haters. :(
Michaela from USA on December 30, 2015:
I used to wear Gothic Lolita a lot and so I was labeled a weeaboo before, even though I don't claim to be an expert in ANYTHING Japanese. I just really liked the elegance of the fashion and that it was a more feminine form of a Goth style.
TehOrcapocalypse on August 04, 2015:
Lol, none of you have ever heard this term? Well, now you know it exists.
Christopher Peruzzi from Freehold, NJ on April 08, 2014:
It's nice to know that anime fans can be as big a prick as any other snobbish, pompous, nerdy culture. While an appreciation and even an extreme fandom for a culture lends depth to anyone, it's sad that there is an elitist group of idiots putting down people who are just simply curious.
I'm happy I never got involved with this nonsense.
Christy Kirwan (author) from San Francisco on March 21, 2014:
Wow, this Hub has received so many great comments! As an anime nerd myself, I've had my fair share of Weeaboo encounters at various anime and video game conventions, clubs, and festivals, but I've also been labeled a Weeaboo myself (I hope mistakenly) because of my interests. Thanks for reading!
Melinda Longoria MSM from Garland, Texas on January 28, 2014:
I hadn't heard of the term Weeaboo either. The SNL video was hilarious. Thanks for sharing. ;-)
Michelle Orelup from Las Vegas, NV on August 29, 2013:
I've never heard that term. Thanks for teaching me something new!
Lindy West from Oklahoma on August 13, 2013:
This was really funny and interesting topic. Thanks so much for sharing
Billionaire Brains from Washington, DC on August 08, 2013:
This is too funny. I've never heard that term before.
Mary Craig from New York on April 25, 2013:
Now that was an education. We all certainly know about anime but you've added a lot of other things I didn't know. How interesting are our lives and mixed up cultures?
Voted up, useful, and interesting.
Dil Vil from India on April 23, 2013:
This is really interesting! I've never heard of the word Weeaboo. Thanks for the knowledge hub.
Kristen Mazzola from South Florida on April 22, 2013:
How interesting! I had no idea that there was such thing as a Weeaboo or even a term for it! Thanks for sharing this look into a new realm for me.