Are you an otaku? Or are you a weeb? Or do you think both terms bear the same meaning?
After tons of Anime added to your watch history and tons of Manga in the queue for the next chapter’s updates, you will realize that you might as well call yourself an otaku or a weeb. Only that you did not know which term suits you the best. Both are not honorary terms per se. They are not shameful terms as well. It depends on how people around you view them and most importantly, how you view yourself. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
Otaku is often portrayed as someone who has a very deep interest in anime and manga to the point of taking part in cosplay conventions, with huge collections of manga at home, a dedicated glass cabinet to display anime figurines and is highly knowledgeable in a lot of anime.
An otaku can describe in detail the meaning of any scene, otaku can also point out any reference in an anime to another anime’s backstory. For example, if an anime is doing a crossover from multiple anime in a scene, an otaku could name each anime involved in the scene with specifics. No kidding, huh? So, in short, an otaku is a geek or nerd in terms of anime, manga, and anything related to both, be it the characters or theme songs.
However, the term ‘otaku’ was actually popularized by writer Akio Nakamori in 1983. He wrote in his article for Manga Burikko, directly stereotyping those who went to conventions as socially challenged rejects who are either overweight or malnourished. He ended up using the term ‘otaku’ to shame those kinds of ‘rejects’. This shaming got worse after an arrest was made on serial killer Tsutomu Miyazaki in 1989 when the police discovered a huge collection of anime and horror videos in his keep. (CBR)
Wow so dark and so embarrassed to claim yourself an otaku now, huh? Worry not. In this era, fewer and fewer people associate the term otaku with the dark history I mentioned. Nowadays, people are more aware of their responsibilities and work-life balance. Having colleagues or schoolmates who love anime and manga as much as you do is a blessing. You will never run out of topics to talk about.
Although, in Japan, most of them still try to hide this specific interest. You may see how some anime portrays how it is shameful for a Japanese to be found out if they are otakus. Especially if they’re working in a corporate company. Students face the same issue as well. For instance, you can watch the portrayals in the anime Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku, Recovery of an MMO Junkie, Oreimo, and Himouto! Umaru-Chan.
Weeb, which is short for Weeabo, is mostly misunderstood as what I had just explained about otaku. Actually, weeb is a term to address people who are not Japanese but have a VERY deep interest in Japanese culture overall – not only in anime and manga. It is very deep, to the point that they study the Japanese language, eat Japanese foods like they are fated to be Japanese, and dress like Japanese fashionistas that they always browsed. They study Japanese from A-Z, wanting to be a part of them. Of course, they also love anime and manga. In short – Japanese wannabe.
You might not want to call yourself a weeb proudly because, for the Japanese, weeb is disrespectful towards their culture. Japan is for Japanese, not for foreigners. You can want to learn, but don’t be a die-hard fanatic to the point you claim yourself a Japanese at heart but give wrong facts about Japan in confidence.
However, of course, this is a stereotype by haters. It is all from a general view of a few Japanese people which does not represent the whole of Japan. The word ‘weeb’ is usually associated with ‘Wapanese’ which refers to ‘white Japanese’. From the general point of view, it is not that condescending, isn’t it? What important is, that Japan should be lucky to have many people interested to learn about their country. It proves how people respect the country for its richness in culture.
Call yourself an otaku or a weeb, and join as many cosplay exhibitions as you want. Read as many manga as you wish, and watch as many anime as you feel like. Eat as many Japanese food as you love, and collect as many figurines as you can afford. All as long as you do not forget your main responsibilities in life, don’t forget to eat in between your binges, and respect people’s country, not only Japan. Respect your own country too.
If you would like to read other anime posts, you may read them here.
Till then, MATA NEE~