Culture Clash: Misappropriation big issue for Japanese stereotypes

By Yoon Ki

A weeaboo, by Urban Dictionary Definition, is ”someone who is obsessed with Japan/Japanese Culture/Anime, etc. and attempts to act as if they were Japanese, even though they’re far from it.” These people are trying to imitate another country’s culture based on what they see in Japanese cartoons even though the vast majority of Japanese people do not do that.

It is the equivalent of white kids deciding to imitate Americans of African descent after watching rap videos and Blaxploitation movies. These rich white kids start speaking the slang they heard from those movies and rap videos, put gold in their teeth, let their pants sag halfway past their butt cracks even though many Americans of African descent do not do this.

Basically these weeaboos start unnecessarily using Japanese words in place of some English words, wear anime clothing and dress up as cartoon characters even though it is not Halloween. Basically, by trying to imitate another culture, weeaboos are mocking Japanese culture,

Another common trend is that weeaboos often think of Japan as some sort of Utopian society, filled with cute school girls and high-tech gadgets — a place where everyone adores anime and won’t find that body pillow of yours creepy at all.

To them, everything is cute or otherwise improved just by measure of being Japanese. Often they will wish to move to Japan, or that they were born there. This is wrong, and they are wrong.

To begin by bursting this little bubble, I am going to point out the cruel truths of Japan. Starting with the anime thing.

Otaku isn’t a compliment. It never was. Anime is no more popular there than it is in the West, and more often than not, it’s viewed as kids’ shows. Otaku are typically viewed and treated as the underbelly of society, labelled as creepy perverts, like the Western basement-dweller stereotype. The prime minister literally said that tsunamis were caused by God’s anger at Otaku culture.

As for the high-tech stereotype, it’s actually the opposite. Japan tends to err on the low-tech end of the spectrum. Most cellular phones are the classic flip-phones you don’t see much anymore in America. Many places do not take cards, and ATM machines are actually fairly rare. Most homes do not have central heating. The country is rather industrialised, but not high-tech.

As for the concept of Utopia, they’re far from it. Japanese culture is not cute. It’s intense — full of judgement, pressure, stress and one of the highest suicide rates in the world.

The country is overpopulated for its size and has a deep sense of ingrained fear or disdain for foreigners. If you moved to Japan, you would likely not be welcomed. You’d be more likely to experience a taste of good ol’ fashioned racism, in one of the rare occasions where it’s directed at white people (or literally any race that isn’t Japanese, including other kinds of Asian).

Disillusioned yet?

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