A “weeb” is a non-Japanese person who is obsessed with Japanese culture, anime, manga, and video games. This term is often used in a derogatory or mocking way. So what do you call a Japanese person who is obsessed with their own culture? Let’s explore this question and the nuances around it.
What is a “Weeb”?
The term “weeb” originated in the early 2000s on internet forums frequented by anime fans. It comes from the word “weeaboo,” which was allegedly first used in a Perry Bible Fellowship comic to describe obnoxious American fans who were overly obsessed with Japanese culture.
Some common characteristics and behaviors associated with weebs include:
- Watching lots of anime and reading lots of manga
- Learning Japanese and using Japanese words and phrases instead of English
- Having a waifu or husbando (fictional anime crushes)
- Cosplaying anime characters
- Obsessing over Japan and Japanese pop culture
- Fetishizing Japanese people and culture
- Believing Japan is superior to any other country
Weebs are often looked down upon or made fun of within anime fan circles for perpetuating negative stereotypes. However, the term has evolved to be more playful and tongue-in-cheek rather than necessarily being used as an outright insult.
What About Japanese People Who Love Their Own Culture?
This brings us back to the original question – what do you call a Japanese person who loves anime, manga, J-pop, etc? The dynamics get more complex when you’re talking about people who are obsessed with the media and culture of their own country.
Some people argue that Japanese nationals can’t be considered “weebs” or “weeaboos” because those terms specifically refer to non-Japanese individuals with an obsession for Japanese culture. A Japanese person consumed by their own culture is simply acting normally rather than exhibiting the qualities of a cultural fetishist.
However, others claim that the word “weeb” can still apply to Japanese people who take their fandom to the extreme and prioritize 2D anime characters over real relationships and responsibilities. These individuals argue that “weeb” is now a mindset rather than being strictly limited to nationality.
There are a few other terms that can be used to describe Japanese citizens who are fervent about anime, manga, and other facets of their country’s pop culture:
- Otaku – This is the classic Japanese word for geeks and nerds obsessed with niche interests like anime and manga. Calling a Japanese anime lover an “otaku” would be very natural.
- Otacool – A newer Japanese slang term that positively spins “otaku” to mean someone who is obsessed with anime/manga but is also fashionable, socially adept, and Internet savvy.
- Wapanese – Derives from “wannabe Japanese.” It’s an older, more obscure term that refers to non-Japanese people who want to be Japanese and take extreme steps to imitate Japanese culture.
A Matter of Perspective
At the end of the day, whether it’s appropriate to call a Japanese anime/manga fanatic a “weeb” largely comes down to personal perspective and context.
Some people use “weeb” in a playful, non-serious way and don’t consider it offensive. Others still view the term as derogatory and inaccurate when applied to Japanese citizens on the basis that they can’t be “weeaboos” in their own culture.
Much also depends on the specific behavior of the individual in question. A Japanese person who fits all the over-the-top weeb stereotypes may be considered a weeb by some regardless of ethnicity. Meanwhile, a Japanese fan who is moderately enthusiastic about manga and anime without going overboard would more likely be spared the “weeb” label by most people.
In a sense, this debate mirrors disagreements among anime fans worldwide about whether the term “weeb” should be reclaimed as a positive label or avoided as an insult. There are compelling arguments on both sides, and consensus remains elusive.
In summary, while there is no definitive answer, most people would likely avoid calling Japanese citizens “weebs” and opt for terms like “otaku” instead. But an extreme Japanese anime lover who behaves very stereotypically might still earn the “weeb” designation from some based on their actions rather than nationality. In the end, it’s subjective, complex, and depends on your interpretation of the word’s meaning and evolution.
The clash between ethnic reality versus behavioral tendencies underscores the nuanced nature of categorizing people based on their fandom interests. Perhaps the focus should be on promoting healthy enthusiasm rather than labels. Like any pastime, anime and manga can be enjoyed positively or taken to detrimental extremes. Being respectful, open-minded, and moderated is often more constructive than rigidly designating others.
Articles Exploring Perspectives on Weebs and Otaku Culture
- What Does Weeaboo Mean?
- Can Japanese People Be Weeaboos?
- Japanese ‘Otaku’ Subculture Influencing the World
- Japan’s ‘Red Circle’ Otaku Subculture Revived
Videos Discussing Weeb vs Otaku
- How Japan Views Otaku Culture (Interviews)
- The Difference Between ‘Otaku’ and ‘Weeaboo’
- Tokyo Otaku Mode Founder Discusses Otaku Culture
The weeb phenomenon highlights intricacies in cross-cultural fandoms and identity. As global connections expand, we’re continually reshaping views on appreciation versus appropriation. There are rarely easy answers, but keeping an open, tolerant attitude can help us learn from each other. animens