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Otakus and Weeaboos: where is the fine line?
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Posted 5/7/14
[I couldn't find an original thread]

For as long as anyone can remember, people have been arguing about who, what and how someone can be an Otaku/weeaboo without having a completely clear definition as to the difference. Many people have used those two terms interchangeably, unknowing that those are two different things.

Weeaboos can be defined as individuals who are fans of the Japanese culture, especially as it pertains to their media, such as anime and manga. Another term that is used in relation to weeaboo would be Wapanese. Weeaboos can be negatively perceived, as large numbers of weeaboos are ignorant or unknowing the the Japanese culture and believe Japan to be a great place to live or be based on the premises of what they've heard or from their animes and manga. In addition, weeaboos tend to try to integrate Japanese phrases or words into everyday language, and may have anti culture sentiments pertaining to any other culture that is not Japan's.

Otaku roughly translating to an honorific form of the word home, refers to individuals who have an unhealthy obsession with a specific subject (in Japan it does not necessarily mean Japanese culture) to the point where they do not ever or rarely leave their homes. In our situation, it would be individuals obsessed with Japanese media, or paraphernalia. Many or most otakus lack proper social skills, and tend to only socialize via internet, most commonly on message boards or chatrooms. However otakus have a positive impact in someways. Since they tend to have an obsession to a specific subject or thing, they are usually experts in that field. Many contribute positively to information pertaining to that subject.

This by all means is a objective definition of the two, so it's open to interpretation. However where is the fine line? Many have a hard time identifying themselves for one reason or another. What small difference makes you one or the other? Can you be both?
Posted 5/7/14
maybe a person can be both...

since these terms are not mutually exclusive...
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Posted 5/7/14
Otaku: 'Otaku (おたく/オタク?) is a Japanese term for people with obsessive interests, commonly the anime and manga fandom...' (From the English Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otaku ,anyone that says Wikipedia is unreliable is blatanly stupid, reading the references and footnotes is what makes Wikipedia so reliable)

Weeaboo: Often refered to people from a western background that have a strong attraction to the Japanese culture and try to be 'Japanese'.
'Invented word from the Perry Bible Fellowship comic, then used arbitrarily by the 4chan Web site as an automated replacement for wapanese in users' posts.' (From the Wiktionary http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/weeaboo )

So an Otaku has, often, a specific obsession for Anime and Manga whereas a Weeaboo (a derivative of the word Wapanese) is someone who engages in stereotypical Japanese behaviour/manner even though he lives in the west and is from the west. By this very definition it is most certainly possible to be both, why couldn't you?
I don't understand how people have trouble identifying themselves as one, why not just Google the terms up if you are that desperate and do some research which won't take more than 5 minutes.
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Posted 5/7/14

aGreekSudaneseGerman wrote:

Otaku: 'Otaku (おたく/オタク?) is a Japanese term for people with obsessive interests, commonly the anime and manga fandom...' (From the English Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otaku ,anyone that says Wikipedia is unreliable is blatanly stupid, reading the references and footnotes is what makes Wikipedia so reliable)

Weeaboo: Often refered to people from a western background that have a strong attraction to the Japanese culture and try to be 'Japanese'.
'Invented word from the Perry Bible Fellowship comic, then used arbitrarily by the 4chan Web site as an automated replacement for wapanese in users' posts.' (From the Wiktionary http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/weeaboo )

So an Otaku has, often, a specific obsession for Anime and Manga whereas a Weeaboo (a derivative of the word Wapanese) is someone who engages in stereotypical Japanese behaviour/manner even though he lives in the west and is from the west. By this very definition it is most certainly possible to be both, why couldn't you?
I don't understand how people have trouble identifying themselves as one, why not just Google the terms up if you are that desperate and do some research which won't take more than 5 minutes.


Well if you've noticed this is an extended discussion. By your logic, we can simply google and find the definition of the subject at hand and that should automatically solve all disputes? Anyone can simply Google something and find out for themselves, but the discussion is unique in the sense that those two words have different meanings to people which is why this is a discussion. Self identifying is also pretty difficult at times when there are alot of strange grey areas.
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Posted 5/7/14 , edited 5/7/14

ascentive wrote:


aGreekSudaneseGerman wrote:

Otaku: 'Otaku (おたく/オタク?) is a Japanese term for people with obsessive interests, commonly the anime and manga fandom...' (From the English Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otaku ,anyone that says Wikipedia is unreliable is blatanly stupid, reading the references and footnotes is what makes Wikipedia so reliable)

Weeaboo: Often refered to people from a western background that have a strong attraction to the Japanese culture and try to be 'Japanese'.
'Invented word from the Perry Bible Fellowship comic, then used arbitrarily by the 4chan Web site as an automated replacement for wapanese in users' posts.' (From the Wiktionary http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/weeaboo )

So an Otaku has, often, a specific obsession for Anime and Manga whereas a Weeaboo (a derivative of the word Wapanese) is someone who engages in stereotypical Japanese behaviour/manner even though he lives in the west and is from the west. By this very definition it is most certainly possible to be both, why couldn't you?
I don't understand how people have trouble identifying themselves as one, why not just Google the terms up if you are that desperate and do some research which won't take more than 5 minutes.


Well if you've noticed this is an extended discussion. By your logic, we can simply google and find the definition of the subject at hand and that should automatically solve all disputes? Anyone can simply Google something and find out for themselves, but the discussion is unique in the sense that those two words have different meanings to people which is why this is a discussion. Self identifying is also pretty difficult at times when there are alot of strange grey areas.


I never said every subject can simply be defined by a Google search however there are two pretty clear and distinct definitions for Weeaboo and Otaku, I don't see how there can be a grey area if most sources give the same definition. Just cross reference stuff, and if you are going to bring up the self identification of meanings then just stop right there since everyones opinion varies and will vary.
'This by all means is a objective definition of the two, so it's open to interpretation. However where is the fine line? Many have a hard time identifying themselves for one reason or another. What small difference makes you one or the other? Can you be both?'
I gave you what I think my interpretation is of the two definitions, you asked for it.
Posted 5/7/14 , edited 5/9/14
Otakus are dedicated fans who spends much time in their dwellings.

Weeabos are white (typically American) people who are fanatics which rejected their own culture to accept Japan's and desires to move to Japan.
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Posted 5/9/14 , edited 5/9/14
Well, this is pretty obvious but "the line" you are referring to is enormously subjective.

I think a lot of it depends on obsession and how well rounded they are as a person. Otaku is basically another word for nerd in our culture, though otaku is mostly linked with Japanese related things as opposed to nerd which can refer to... basically anything else. But being a nerd isn't particularly unhealthy. Many people still contribute positively and lead out very regular and fulfilling lives, even if most of their hobbies include things that shut them off from regular social contact offline.

I think the main thing to avoid is being a weeaboo, which I have come to associate with people who are very overt about their fandom towards Japanese culture. Their obsession isn't something that they keep to themselves and they are seen as incredibly abrasive because of their unacceptable behavior. I relate it to something akin to a group of shirtless guys who look like they painted themselves up for a football game and won't stop getting in people's faces about how great football is, when it isn't game day, we are 100 miles from the nearest stadium, and it isn't even football season. You'd think they were fucking obnoxious retard assholes right? Kinda the same thing for weeaboos.

I'm not entirely sure if I'm being direct enough to where I'm saying I think "the line" is, so I'll answer your question directly here. For otaku, I think it's how well rounded the rest of your life is. Is anime related shit the only thing you do with your spare time? Do you ever the leave the house to do..... well.... anything else? For weeaboo, it's all about whether or not you know your audience. Are you wearing cosplay when the nearest convention is 300 miles away and a month from now? Do you say things like, "Hey senpai, that shirt's pretty kawaii desu! ^.^" as part of your every day language? If you can read who you're talking to and you aren't talking about anime to them when you know they don't give a shit, then you are probably not a weeaboo.
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Posted 5/30/14
the line is when you turn into this guy.

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Posted 5/31/14
being an otaku (and openly admitting to being one) is extremely frowned upon in japan, romanticized only by weeaboos and otaku with personalities more two-dimensional than their waifus
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30 / M / Duckburg
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Posted 5/31/14
In terms of non-Japanese people only

Otaku : A fan of anime.

Weeaboo: A fan of being a fan of anime.
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Posted 5/31/14
Both can easily apply to one person. I've met a lot of people who can be defined by both.
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25 / F / New Jersey, USA
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Posted 6/1/14
Otaku: a person with an obsession for ANYTHING.

Weeaboo: a person who obsess with anime AND Japan(mainly for the anime).

Japanophile: a person who has a strong love for everything pertaining to Japanese culture, traditions, and etc.


Just how I see it.
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Posted 6/4/14 , edited 11/8/14
If you identify as an otaku, you are a weeaboo by definition, the below proves it. You do not use the Japanese word hikkomori to diagnosis your social anxiety disorder, it's the same when weeaboos use 'kawaii' instead of cute, otaku is no exception. People use 'otaku' because they think it sounds nicer (more Japanese). Choosing Japanese words to replace perfectly functional english words is pretty weeaboo. Want to find a good descriptor for a person who likes anime? Anime fan. I promise the extra syllable will not give you a stroke

aGreekSudaneseGerman wrote:

Otaku: 'Otaku (おたく/オタク?) is a Japanese term for people with obsessive interests, commonly the anime and manga fandom...' (From the English Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otaku ,anyone that says Wikipedia is unreliable is blatanly stupid, reading the references and footnotes is what makes Wikipedia so reliable)

Weeaboo: Often refered to people from a western background that have a strong attraction to the Japanese culture and try to be 'Japanese'. 'Invented word from the Perry Bible Fellowship comic, then used arbitrarily by the 4chan Web site as an automated replacement for wapanese in users' posts.' (From the Wiktionary http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/weeaboo )
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Posted 6/4/14
both are equally horrible.
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Posted 6/23/14
i was always thinking theyre both the same
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