Am I a Weeaboo? Signs You Might Be a Weeaboo

"Weeaboo" (pronounced we-ah-boo with emphasis on the first syllable) is a common slang term on the internet. It also sees a lot of use 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 it mean, and what characteristics and behavior does it refer to, in particular?

People commonly described as "weeaboo" may look something like this.
People commonly described as "weeaboo" may look something like this. | Source

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.

Japanese fandom does not make you a weeaboo. Cultural ignorance does.
Japanese fandom does not make you a weeaboo. Cultural ignorance does. | Source

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.

You might be a weeaboo if your room looks like this.
You might be a weeaboo if your room looks like this. | Source

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

Comments 16 comments

khmazz profile image

khmazz 3 years ago from South Florida

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.

My Cook Book profile image

My Cook Book 3 years ago from India

This is really interesting! I've never heard of the word Weeaboo. Thanks for the knowledge hub.

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

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.

Shadow Jackson profile image

Shadow Jackson 3 years ago from Washington, DC

This is too funny. I've never heard that term before.

Oklahomamom2 profile image

Oklahomamom2 3 years ago from Oklahoma

This was really funny and interesting topic. Thanks so much for sharing

lifelovemystery profile image

lifelovemystery 3 years ago from Houston, TX

I've never heard that term. Thanks for teaching me something new!

Melinda Longoria profile image

Melinda Longoria 2 years ago from Garland, Texas

I hadn't heard of the term Weeaboo either. The SNL video was hilarious. Thanks for sharing. ;-)

Christy Kirwan profile image

Christy Kirwan 2 years ago from San Francisco Author

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!

cperuzzi profile image

cperuzzi 2 years ago from Freehold, NJ

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.

TehOrcapocalypse 14 months ago

Lol, none of you have ever heard this term? Well, now you know it exists.

Michaela Osiecki profile image

Michaela Osiecki 10 months ago from USA

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.

Christy Kirwan profile image

Christy Kirwan 10 months ago from San Francisco Author

@Michaela, I'm sorry to hear that, some people are just haters. :(

Moonsunthing 8 weeks ago

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.

HasegawaKuro 8 weeks ago

so my online name is HasegawaKuro (cause i cant think of another name).. Does that make me a Weeaboo ??

Christy Kirwan profile image

Christy Kirwan 7 weeks ago from San Francisco Author

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.

Christy Kirwan profile image

Christy Kirwan 7 weeks ago from San Francisco Author

HasegawaKuro, I think it depends more on how you act. :)

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