Weeaboo and otaku are words thrown around a lot in the anime community. Even anime haters throw the word around. So what do they really mean?

In Japan, nerds are called ‘otaku’. They’re mostly frowned upon as they hide in their rooms playing video games or watching anime. However, western countries have adopted this term and over here it means ‘anime fan’.

So how does this differ from the term ‘weeaboo’?

Well, an otaku is an anime fan. A weeaboo is someone who is obsessed with everything to do with Japan. Their culture, food, language and of course, anime. It’s sort of easy to see why some people get weeaboo mixed up with otaku.

There’s a massive difference between a weeaboo and otaku. An otaku may walk around wearing an anime t-shirt, but a weeaboo will walk around as that character, or wearing a kimono. A weeaboo is someone who is trying to be Japanese. They commonly speak broken and poor Japanese in most of the sentences. Pronouncing desu as “deh-soo” as an example. They take wanting to be Japanese to a level that might actually offend someone who is Japanese as they try to show off everything they know about Japan and their culture – not really caring if they are incorrrect.

Chances are an otaku will know Japanese but they won’t speak it in every sentence. I know a little bit of Japanese, but that’s because I pick it up while watching anime or playing Project Diva (or listening to anime openings). I learnt how to read Japanese so I can play my Japanese copy of Project Diva F and so I could translate shoujo manga when no one else has.

I know a weeaboo. They’re really obvious, because they wear wigs and everything they wear screams ‘Japan’. Since I’m not actually friends with them I don’t know if they speak Japanese, but I have heard them call themselves a weeaboo.

Basically, an otaku is an anime fan and a weeaboo is someone who tries to be Japanese. Once you know the differences, it’s really obvious to tell who just likes anime and who is a little bit obsessed with Japan.