What is Waifu? Why have Waifu?

Anime Wedding Dress Waifu

Recently, I've been hearing a lot about waifu, as well as numerous opinions of them. On Twitter we even have an event called Waifu Wednesday, where numerous people share photos of their anime wife or husband. (Equivalent term is husbando.) To some this might seem creepy, obsessive, and a little depressing. However, is there a bright side to this?

Yes, there is a bright side. To begin, I'd like to start with explaining what waifu/husbando actually signifies, in case it's not clear in the introduction. Waifu originates from the Japanese spelling of the English word wife, written as ワイフ in katakana. Although there is an equivalent term for wife that is a Japanese word, many use waifu instead.

Now that we know a little bit about the word itself, how about we look at the culture and usage associated with the word? To make things simple, a lot of anime watchers have a favorite character that they immensely like. This character stands out above the rest, and has qualities or traits that the viewer usually finds admirable. For that reason, they decide to refer to that character as their waifu.

Anime Girl Waifu
Games, light novels, and other media actually allow to have a relationship with your favorite character.

We can then ask, what allows a character to reach waifu status? The thing that may be confusing about this process, is that it's completely different for everyone. In the same way we have polygamy in the world, we have the similar concept in the world of waifu. Maybe the person cannot decide which character they like best, or they refer to all characters of the opposite gender they like by this title. The waifu or husbando may even be the same gender as the spouse. When it comes to this world, there's limitless ways people can pick and choose.

Now that the person has a waifu/husbando, what do they do? Basically, what a person would normally do with their favorite characters, series, or other group. They can post about them on social media, they can read or watch the anime/manga the person originates from, or maybe start a small collection of merchandise. Like the last step, it's pretty much different for everyone. Some people barely do anything with their's, while others can go to levels of extreme obsession.

So what is the point of this? There really is no key point. A lot of people just end up being drawn to certain characters, enough to carry them throughout life. Others just enjoy looking through anime and finding characters that look nice physically or have a personality that they enjoy. The interesting fact about a lot of things that are present in the anime community and fandom, is the freedom and ability to do what you wish, and follow what you enjoy. If having a waifu/husbando is joyful, good. If it isn't, don't worry about it.

Of course I want to do more than address the "what;" I'd like to talk about the "why." As a warning, a lot of this will be based on my own opinions and experiences. If you're fine with that and you're interested please keep reading.

B Gata H Kei Yamada
Here's a picture of Yamada. (Brown hair) She's a little eccentric..as you can tell.

I've noticed that similarly to otaku culture, some people tend to look down on those who have a waifu/husbando. As I said in the beginning, from the outside, the actions could look somewhat creepy or obsessive. Yet, there's a whole different side of the story when you're apart of it. So for me, being an otaku, I have a waifu. If you haven't already noticed by looking at the other areas of my blog, Yamada is my waifu.

She's the main character of an anime known as B Gata H Kei, an anime that is still one of my favorites today. I'm not quite sure what exactly drew me towards her, but I liked her personality, and the fact that she was somewhat different than other anime characters. On top of that, I could relate to her a lot and she also became somewhat of a role model to me. Like viewing another version of yourself in a different person and anime form.

On top of being my waifu, she has also become a partner. It may not make sense to some people, but in a way, an anime character can have the power to inspire people. Watching Yamada go on throughout her life and face similar circumstances was a great experience,because I could understand her thinking and way of life. Yamada inspired me to create this blog here today, and that's why she appears in so many different places. She's a driving force behind Shooting Star Dreamer.

B Gata H Kei DVD Signed
Here's a picture of my B Gata H Kei DVD. Signed by Brittney Karbowski. She is an amazing lady!

Unfortunately, since she's not too popular there isn't much merchandise of her; but I collected a few things and had memorable experiences over the course of time. One, I got to meet her English Voice Actor, Brittney Karbowski. Another, I have a signed copy of the B Gata H Kei DVD. As of now that's pretty much all I can do, but someday, I would love to have the complete set of manga.

The mere fact that she isn't popular even contributes more to the greatness of having her around. When I find someone who likes her as well, or even just the anime in general, I'm ecstatic. Although it's just an anime and she's just a character, she serves as a way to connect two human beings through a similar medium. That's another thing I love about the concept of having an anime waifu/husbando. You share something with someone, you can become friends with many fans, and eventually create lasting relationships with people like you.

So that's my story of Yamada. So instead of a human to character relationship that is filled with creepiness and other such things, it's more about inspirations and genuine like for the character. I think that is the basis for most people and their anime waifu/husbando. It's not a crime to have an attraction to a character. In fact, it makes the person better to actually feel emotions towards a fictional character. While there's a lot of research to support this, I'd like to share an article that talks a bit more about connecting to a character that may not be real in this world.

 People do all sorts of things for their waifu, specifically shrines and birthday celebrations!

To sum things up, the "why" depends basically on the person, similarly to the "what." People may try to warp the meaning of a waifu and make it seem bad, and others might feel empathy in a negative way for the actual character. "She's forced into being a waifu, that's horrible!" They might say that all they want, but I think it's all good and fun. So try not to look down on people who have a waifu, or those who have a husbando, or those who have any sort of favorite person or character.

Even if they aren't appealing to you, they're appealing to someone else and you have to remember that. There's a certain light in a person's eyes when they see something they love, so don't take that light away from them. Imagine if Yamada didn't even exist, would I even be writing this post right now? Probably not!

I hope you all can take this post as something to think about, and apologies if it's really long, but there's a lot that needs to be explained when it comes to this sort of topic. Hopefully you were able to learn something about waifu!

Comments

  1. I recently researched and wrote an article on waifuism. Interestingly, in the academic databases I use for research, there was little to no information on the subject. I have a question: why is the word "husbando" used instead of the Japanese derivative of the word "husband", hazu? Considering waifu is just a Japanese-styled English word, the use of a more slang-Spanish word husbando struck me as curious.

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    1. Thank you for commenting!

      First of all, I will definitely be checking out your article, I bet it's an interesting read.

      Yes, I had that problem as well, most of my knowledge on the subject comes from the community and other experiences in media.

      With the word husbando, I assumed at first it somewhat came about from people mimicking the Japanese pronunciation of husbando. (Which they assumed would be something like hasubando or ハスバンド.) Although this source says it actually originated from the combination of both husband and hazu.

      http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/husbando

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    2. Part of the issue with the academic research is how new waifuism is. Research tends to lag behind.

      That is interesting. Thank you. I thought I'd ask since you are a member of the waifu community. I am an outsider looking into various aspects of otaku and Japanese culture.

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    3. Yup, exactly!

      It's no problem! Haha, yes I guess I do fall into that group. If you have any other questions or such, let me know. Since I myself am considered to be an otaku, but with a slightly different definition. I also enjoy Japanese culture and I'm little bit knowledgeable on certain parts!

      Thank you for taking the time to read my post!

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    1. Thank you for commenting!

      I'm glad you liked my article! Thank you for your compliments!

      I see...interesting! Yeah, it's just their opinion so I wouldn't worry too much about it. I like to meet other people who have a lot of love/devotion for one or many characters, because it means they have a lot of love in their hearts as well! Plus, most otaku I know are pretty cool people!

      Thank you, it makes me happy to hear that! If you don't mind, may I know who your waifu is?

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    2. You're welcome! ;-))

      You got that right!

      Well, the answer is in the other article I commented : Hatsune Miku! ^_^
      Can't believe it's been two years already... <3

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    3. Ah, no wonder! You have a wonderful waifu then!

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    4. Why thank you! She will appreciate it, for sure!

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  3. Woah your article is very well written and really explains the concept. I have a lot of waifus today :3 (forgive me xD ) but the one that mostly stands out for me is Kosaki Onodera <3 and racing next to her is Marika Tachibana both from Nisekoi.. I like their appearance and personality <3

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    1. Thank you so much for reading! Sorry for replying so late.

      That's totally awesome. I think having both one waifu and tons is fine, as long as it makes you happy. I know both characters and they're very pretty and nice ^^ You have wonderful waifus~

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  4. This article is so amazing! I'm almost baffled to see that, somewhere in the world, there is somebody who's thinking the same things as I am. I've first "met" my waifu, Mavis Vermilion, last year when I was watching Fairy Tail. Back then, she played but a minor role. I still can't explain what she has and other don't. But that one thing was which made me drawn to her. She basically changed my life, to the point where I started moving forward from my years long stagnation. Right now, I have a feeling we're two souls in the different bodies. Thank you for reminding me why I've cherished her so much. :) (And sorry for my bad english, I'm not a native speaker)

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    1. Thank you for commenting! Apologies for responding to you so late.

      I feel the same my friend! Ah I know her! The same happened for me with Yamada. I can't really explain in depth what draws me to her, but she just always stands out above the rest.

      On a side note, I'm really glad that you were able to find a wonderful waifu. Haha, we may be two souls in different bodies. I'm so happy that you were able to take something meaningful from my post!

      Your English is pretty good, no worries!

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