When the otaku culture was in its infancy stages, there were basic terms and meanings that have made the transition from Japan to North America. For modern day fans those terms would include such words as kawaii which means ‘cute’, and senpai which means ‘someone you admire’. The word otaku of course meant that an individual has vast knowledge (and an obsession) of a certain topic that others may deem insignificant. In Japan the word meant that you were a straight-up loser, but in America its definition was redefined as an individual who not only knows a lot about something (usually anime), but is a functioning member of society.
The two words that have been circulating throughout the anime/otaku community for a good number of years now, has to be the words waifu and husbando. A handful of anime titles (and its abridged parodies) have been using this word to describe certain character types throughout the show, but where exactly did the words waifu and husbando come from? Before we answer that question, let’s bring up the real definition behind them.
A waifu is a term for a fictional character (pretty much from anime or video games) that a male fan has great admiration for, or is in love with and wants to make their wife. Like otaku, the term waifu has come under some kind of scrutiny from the outside world; that being the fact that you’re so in love with an imaginary girl who doesn’t even exist, that you’ve sworn off real women in order to fulfill your affection for something that is transparent. Nevertheless male anime fans love and admire female anime characters, and are willing to defend them by any means necessary. On the flip side, a husbando is basically a male version of a waifu – only for fangirls.
The true origins of the word ‘waifu’ comes from Japanese borrowing of the English word wife. The 80’s was the first indication of the term ever being used in Japan; where the word was used more often due to the limitations of the word ‘kanai’, which means ‘in the house’. When the early 2000’s rolled around however, waifu took on a different meaning throughout the anime and manga culture.
Nowadays the term is used to describe a female character that male fans are particularly fond of, however because of the sheer amount of anime that is currently available, fandoms have adopted more than just one waifu – which has lead to a few waifu wars. (That’s another post for another time.)
Like waifu, husbando is an anime or video game character that female fans admire or even want to marry. There are some moments in anime where we see ourselves as either the waifu or the husbando. When it comes to relationships, the male and female characters that we see in anime come from all walks of life. Some of them may have gone through a traumatic experience that has left them feeling vulnerable on a mental, emotional, and psychological scale; while others want to become a better version of themselves and be there for the ones they love.
Life has a funny way of teaching us some things that we can’t learn from our parents, but in the terms of the waifu-husbando relationship, it’s basically translated as a husband-wife relationship filled with the desire to be there for one another. The husbando is the one that will be there for the girl that he loves; to protect her from the dangers of the world, to listen to her, and to care for her in times of need. The waifu is the one that encourages the guy that she loves; to nurture him, to support him in his struggles, and to remind him how much she loves and appreciates him.
Having a waifu or husbando that you love or admire, doesn’t completely mean that you won’t find that girl or guy who possesses the same traits. Nobody’s perfect, as the ones we call our waifus and husbandos may have some baggage or may have gone through some things that almost broke them mentally and emotionally. We look up to these male and female anime (and video game) characters as a source of inspiration; individuals who we want to model our personalities after. Yeah, the outside world may not understand it, but if you have a waifu or husbando that you admire, continue to admire them. (But please avoid any wars if you can. >.<)
That will do it for this filler post, but we’ve got more great stuff coming your way! As always and forever, stay gold! 😉
3 thoughts on “The (Brief) Origin Story of “Waifu” and “Husbando””
Who’s your Waifu?
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Me (D.J. Lewis): Stocking Anarchy (PSG)
My Partner (A. Goldman): Hestia (DanMachi)
I guess its not much different from having celebrity crushes and so on.
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