Weeb. Weeaboo. Wapanese. What is in the world does any of that mean?
“Weeb” is a derogatory word used as a noun. It is derived from the slang terms Wapanese and then weeaboo aimed at a person, usually a caucasion, that is infatuated with Japanese culture and subcultures.
The term is used as an insult and not as something you would call a respected historian or professor. That being said, there is a bit of a weeb culture that has formed embracing the concept.
Most weebs share a batch of similar characteristics though someone may still be considered a weeb without displaying all of them
Here are a few of the most common traits a weeb may have.
Has an Obsession with Anime
One of the most common and clearly recognizable characteristics of a weeb is that they will have an almost unhealthy obsession with all things Japanese anime. Almost all of their free time and hobbies will in some way revolve around anime.
For example, instead of binging on Netflix they instead will primarily watch shows on Crunchyroll. They will have a fairly large collection of figurines based off of the characters of their favorite anime shows. And, their bedrooms will be covered in posters and other related decor like anime body pillows, or dakimakura.
The important factor here is that owning a single t-shirt and watching some anime event now and then would not be something a weeb would do. Instead a weeb would go overboard and the obsession would be impossible to miss.
Randomly Inserts Japanese Words in Conversation
Weeaboos or weebs don’t just stop with watching anime and collecting posters, clothes and figurines. They try to insert their love for Japanese culture, especially what they see in shows and movies, into their daily lives.
A very common way to do this is to randomly use Japanese words when speaking. They won’t start completely speaking in Japanese however. It’s merely substituting a word here and there.
For example, the Japanese word for cute is 可愛い, pronounced kawaii. Instead of saying something like, “Hey Lisa, your skirt is very cute” they will say, “Hey Jane, your skirt is kawaii!”
Or, they will just shout kawaii whenever they see something they think is cute disregarding the use of full sentences altogether.
Weebs loves using Japanese honorifics as well, like san (さん), chan (ちゃん), senpai (先輩) and sama (さま). They’ll tend to save them for those they are close to however so unless you’re a friend or around them while they are with friends you are unlikely to hear this. No matter how invested they are into Japanese culture most people will realize how odd it is to use an honorific with their US math teacher or UK shift manager.
Socialize Mostly with Other Like Minded People
This is true for most people no matter what hobbies they are into or lifestyles they adapt. People like to be around those who have similar interests. Weebs are no different.
Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately depending on your viewpoint, weebs often socialize with one another via online forums and communities. This is mainly due to the fact that in the grand scheme of things they are a very small subculture. Weebs tend to be introverted as well so that is a factor too.
There is one major place you are sure to find weeaboos hanging out with other weeaboos IRL however: conventions
There are a lot of anime conventions worldwide that bring in all types of anime fans from casuals to diehards. And, of course weebs tend to show up in force. They will often cosplay too making them easy to spot. It’s actually a great situation for many of them to meet friends that they’ve only previously communicated with online.
While the term weeb is generally used as an insult, if you enjoy reading manga and watching anime and dabble in some Japanese language learning, you have nothing to be ashamed of. You are not alone and the fact that terms like weeb and weeaboo exist are proof of that.
Just remember to be culturally sensitive and not stereotype all Japanese men and women assuming what you see in animation represents the reality of an entire complex culture.