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Otakus and Weeaboos: where is the fine line?
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39 / M / Connecticut, USA
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Posted 6/27/14


That has to be the scariest thing I've seen today and it is only 4:35 a.m.
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20 / F / Crescent Moon Isl...
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Posted 6/28/14 , edited 6/28/14

above and when you do this 0_0
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Posted 6/28/14

FlyinDumpling wrote:

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


By that same logic, using the words "anime" or "manga" is weeaboo behavior, since they're Japanese terms, and we could be simply calling them "cartoons" and "comics." Or using the word "tsunami." Let's go back to only saying "tidal waves."

The closest English word to otaku is probably "nerd." But if you say someone is a nerd, people will assume they're a nerd about domestic things: superhero comics, Star Wars, D&D, etc. Using otaku immediately differentiates your nerdery from that. It doesn't mean you think that using the word makes you seem more Japanese.

And I think the issue with being weeaboo is thinking Japan and everything associated with it is naturally superior. This leads to behavior such as wearing Japanese clothes or dropping Japanese words strictly so that others will associate them with the Beloved Country.
Jonexe 
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Posted 6/28/14 , edited 6/28/14

TheCoolAlchemist wrote:

By that same logic, using the words "anime" or "manga" is weeaboo behavior, since they're Japanese terms, and we could be simply calling them "cartoons" and "comics." Or using the word "tsunami." Let's go back to only saying "tidal waves."

The closest English word to otaku is probably "nerd." But if you say someone is a nerd, people will assume they're a nerd about domestic things: superhero comics, Star Wars, D&D, etc. Using otaku immediately differentiates your nerdery from that. It doesn't mean you think that using the word makes you seem more Japanese.

And I think the issue with being weeaboo is thinking Japan and everything associated with it is naturally superior. This leads to behavior such as wearing Japanese clothes or dropping Japanese words strictly so that others will associate them with the Beloved Country.


I think it more depends on who you're talking to. If you're talking to other anime fans, using otaku is likely understood. If you're talking to people who likely don't even know the meaning of the word, it's going to give off that weeaboo vibe to them. Using something like anime fan is going to be more universally accepted, especially if you're trying to avoid being labeled as a weeaboo or something similar.

I agree with your assessment of the whole weeaboo thing, though. I'd take it a step further and say those with this Japanese worship don't actually know very much about Japan and it's culture at all. They seem to get trapped in what they learn from various media sources (mostly anime and video games) and think that's entirely representative of the culture. Funny enough, out here in Japan, they do the same thing with American culture. If you want into any "American" store it's basically redneck and rap culture; some times combined!

I think the whole thing is much like anyone who becomes too much of a fan of something; those people can't separate when it's appropriate to talk about and when it's not. If you're with a group of people that don't like/know/talk about anime... leave it alone and don't dwell much on it. If you're with your group of anime fan friends? Whatever goes. Knowing and understanding different situations like that help you avoid such labels (if you're trying to that is).

Posted 6/28/14
I honestly feel that someone who is not a weeaboo will not refer themselves as an "otaku" unless speaking to a Japanese person in their native language (Japanese). I am currently learning Japanese and will not bring up to others that I am an otaku unless I am asked--even then I just call myself an anime lover (even though I'm crazily obsessed). To other fans, I simply call myself a nerd/geek.

Now, if you want the fine-line between the two:

Weeaboo: Ah, how do I even begin? Let's see. I had a friend who was into fandubbing and dancing on youtube. She was 20, had a high-pitched voice, and claimed to be Japanese. The funny thing? I was talking to her on my cellphone (this was back when I was 11-12) and it was a 3-way call. Her boyfriend (one of my friends), her, and I were speaking on the phone. Her mom picks up the other land-line and yells at her "I allow you to speak with that high-pitched voice when making videos and singing, but please don't do it outside of that! It's annoying! Talk normally!" and her voice immediately lowered in pitch. Eventually I found out that she was not Japanese, her natural voice was deep, and that she tried to become a Japanese idol through Hello!Project even though she was too old... and not Japanese. That's a perfect example of a weeaboo.

Another weeaboo I encountered was the same way. She faked her voice (not falsely claimed! I have a high voice as well and dislike it when people accuse me of faking it, but this girl truly did), did dance videos, made fandubs, and animated. She would steal her animations and get constantly yelled at by other youtubers. So, when she moved onto fandubs, she made her own persona named "Yuki." This was all fine, until she started saying "nya," "kawaii", "desu," "uguu," "baka," and a plethora of other Japanese words in ENGLISH SENTENCES AND AT THE END OF EVERY SENTENCE. Ex: "Today I am very hungry, nya!" She never claimed to be Japanese, but she was so ignorant, annoying, and obsessive with Japanese things (not even anime, just vocaloid and anything "kawaii" in her books) that I eventually had to stop talking to her. 'Till this day she ends every sentence with a "nya" and makes dance videos on youtube.

One more example of a weeaboo is this girl that's named Taylor. When I first met her, she called me a "bitch" because her friends thought my voice was cute... We argued all the time because she had a superiority complex that could not be settled due to the fact I was there. She told everyone she was Japanese and from Japan and went by Marisa Kirisame (a touhou character). To further this, she also faked a Japanese accent whenever people talked to her... I later found out she was from America and was 100% Caucasian. Haahaha... and then I found out that her voice was not naturally high, and that she did it because she wanted to be cute (she confessed it to me one day in a Skype call). This made me proud of her because her natural voice was beautiful, but she started to use her fake, "cutesy" voice again to make youtube videos. She's fairly popular on youtube now, but she's a total weeaboo. Kinda 'cray 'cray, too. Meh. At least she doesn't tell everyone she's Japanese anymore.

Otaku: A nerd, geek, or anyone obsessed with something. There can be music otaku, plant otaku, car otaku, video game otaku, and on and on and on. I'd rather people just use the word "nerd" or "geek" to refer to themselves, but if they trulllly want to use "otaku," then be my guest... I'll just judge you as a weeaboo until I get to know you better.
Posted 6/28/14 , edited 6/28/14

TheCoolAlchemist wrote:
By that same logic, using the words "anime" or "manga" is weeaboo behavior, since they're Japanese terms, and we could be simply calling them "cartoons" and "comics." Or using the word "tsunami." Let's go back to only saying "tidal waves."

The closest English word to otaku is probably "nerd." But if you say someone is a nerd, people will assume they're a nerd about domestic things: superhero comics, Star Wars, D&D, etc. Using otaku immediately differentiates your nerdery from that. It doesn't mean you think that using the word makes you seem more Japanese.

And I think the issue with being weeaboo is thinking Japan and everything associated with it is naturally superior. This leads to behavior such as wearing Japanese clothes or dropping Japanese words strictly so that others will associate them with the Beloved Country.



That's not true at all, anime is actually a shortened version of animation, so technically it's an English word... just slang. And as for manga, calling it a "comic" is entirely acceptable. Most Japanese people I know call anime "cartoons" and manga "comics." It's more so used in the Americas to differentiate Japanese animation and comics from American animation and comics.

Even though you made a good argument, anime and manga are much more well-known than the word otaku. Otaku is a word that is thrown around between younger anime fans who think it's cool to sprout out any Japanese words they can. When I tell other people I am an anime nerd/geek, they get it. Just like otaku means a bunch of different things, nerd/geek are the same. I know a lot of nerds who are obsessed with Star Trek and do not introduce themselves as a trecky--they're just a nerd.
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Posted 6/28/14
One day at work there was a new guy who found out I like anime. He said, "It's always good to meet a fellow otaku." He didn't mean anything bad by it so I didn't call him a fuckface, but it got my hackles up. After that I dismissed him as a weeaboo and ignored all his attempts to talk anime with me.
Posted 6/29/14
I think the 2 heavily overlap but I don't necessarily know if you can be both.

I see weaboos as people who obsess over anime and manga like otakus but they also absorb parts of Japanese culture like a Japanophile. Weeaboos will be the ones who sprinkle their everyday speech with random Japanese they pick up from watching anime. They may own a kimono or yutaka and wear it out in public. They also probably cosplay a lot. They've tried to learn Japanese and probably try to show off their "knowledge" to others. Maybe they're also really into J-pop or Visual Kei. I think fashion can also be included like lolita.

As for (anime and manga) otakus, I remember reading a definition a LONG time ago that said it's a borrowed term from Japan. But when it was borrowed it was used for a term of endearment but in Japan, (anime and manga) otakus are deeply looked down upon and the term isn't used for self-identification. I think it also said it meant obsessive fan and seemed to be associated with hikkikomoris. From my perspective, (anime and manga) otakus seem to be the ones who live in anime and manga. They take it too seriously and may prefer it over dealing with real life.

Japanophiles obsess with ALL aspects of Japanese culture and they put it on a platform. They'll be the ones to not only visit but live in Japan like most weeaboos try to do. They'll probably fetishize Japanese people in every way possible and will try to marry someone who is Japanese especially if they're from Japan. They ridicule other cultures, even their own sometimes, while fantasizing Japan. Everything is amazing/perfect/better in Japan because it's Japan.

All three tend to be very misinformed about Japan and Japanese culture, occasionally or blatantly cultural appropriate, think they're ("basically") Japanese, have a racialized fetish for Japanese people, and tend to be racist for obvious reasons. And when this is corrected or pointed out to them, even by actual Japanese people, they tend to talk over them and get defensive.

Like weeaboos and otakus, Japanophiles also overlap with the formers.

That's just how I see it all, but after seeing this definition:


I did mention earlier that the defining features of a Weeaboo overlaps those of an otaku – or at least, the popular interpretation for otaku. The reason why is simple: every Weeaboo is an otaku, but not every otaku is a Weeaboo. Mind = blown yet?

An otaku, strictly speaking, is someone who has an obsessive interest in something. That “something” could be anything from planes, trains, and automobiles (google itasha, guys), to, most commonly, anime and manga. So I guess its fair to say that Weeaboos are simply the more fanatic otakus of the anime-loving variety. Still, it’s not exactly easy to tell them apart, I reckon. http://www.tofugu.com/2012/11/29/weeaboo/

I think this is pretty accurate.

Here's some random pictures:

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Posted 7/6/14
Otaku has become a borrowed word from Japanese culture that in the west doesn't really mean the same thing since it more describes an anime and manga fan. In Japan it's just a person obsessed with a single thing to a point of being annoying. You get military otaku and train otaku a lot in Japan. In the west it's also seen as more positive while in Japan if you call yourself that people will look at you funny due to bad press in Japan for otaku culture and it being seen as just really weird.

Weaboo came from 4chan the old days when it was more of a nerdy anime board people kept bringing up the wapanese thing which is white kids who try to act what they think Japanese people act like eating ramen and saying random Japanese words while dressing like an anime character (Nobody in Japan actually acts like this even otaku) The mods of 4chan changed every instance of "wapanese" to "weaboo" which was a meaningless word they dragged from an old web comic. Later it just became the new word for wapanese.

I guess you could say the difference in the west is one describes a person who enjoys anime and one describes a person obsessed with Japan to the point of being an irritation because they believe Japan is some utopia that can do no wrong. In Japan otaku is almost he same as weaboo.
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Posted 7/7/14 , edited 7/7/14
I think that when you mix English and Japanese words in the same sentence that kind of makes you a weeaboo. Unless it's stuff like tsunami, sushi, futon, etc. Also when you think that Japan is a perfect country or anything like that. No country is perfect.
baofu 
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Posted 7/16/14 , edited 7/16/14
When you self-identify as an Otaku.


rohaun wrote:

the line is when you turn into this guy.



You do not say an unkind word about Sailor Bubba. He's been working security as ACen for years, and the Cutie Rod he has is reinforced with a metal pipe.
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Posted 7/18/14

TheCoolAlchemist wrote:

By that same logic, using the words "anime" or "manga" is weeaboo behavior, since they're Japanese terms, and we could be simply calling them "cartoons" and "comics." Or using the word "tsunami." Let's go back to only saying "tidal waves."

The closest English word to otaku is probably "nerd." But if you say someone is a nerd, people will assume they're a nerd about domestic things: superhero comics, Star Wars, D&D, etc. Using otaku immediately differentiates your nerdery from that. It doesn't mean you think that using the word makes you seem more Japanese.

And I think the issue with being weeaboo is thinking Japan and everything associated with it is naturally superior. This leads to behavior such as wearing Japanese clothes or dropping Japanese words strictly so that others will associate them with the Beloved Country.
The word anime/manga specifies a particular category of cartoon/comic. As you know, Tsunami isn't just a tidal wave, it's has specific meanings and uses that can't simply be replace with "very big tidal wave". What does kawaii and otaku specify? That something is cute? That you are an anime fan?
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Posted 7/18/14

ascentive wrote:
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.

How often is that obsessive, trivial knowledge truly practical or useful though?

Miyazaki, along with some other veterans of the anime/manga industries have spoken out against the relatively recent influx of otakus working in said industries, saying that their deep obsession with other works had dumbed down creativity and that they're just pandering to a like-minded crowd instead of writing quality stories and realistic characters.

This exact same thing has plagued the western comic industry for years as life-long super fans of Marvel and DC comics began taking over the industry in the late-80's/early-90's. Want to know why DC became so continuity obsessed? There's your answer.
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Posted 7/18/14 , edited 7/18/14
While otaku may have originally been derogatory in Japan, it is mostly used here simply to denote a fan of anime and other Japanese media/art/clothes/food/culture.
Most otaku are not offended by this word. Heck, they even named a magazine after it.
Which is the problem. This is the internet. It's all about offending people. So, when the trolls realized that otaku was no longer offensive, they created a new word to try to ruffle their feathers. Weeaboo is simply the derogatory form of otaku.
baofu 
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Posted 7/19/14 , edited 7/19/14
Actually, the origin of "weeaboo" is a Perry Bible Fellowship strip, which pretty accurately describes how people react when you out yourself as an anime fan to non-fans.

Also, "otaku" is still pretty derogatory in Japan, dude.
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