Define Waifu: What is A Waifu? & How To Get One

what is a waifu? waifu meaning
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The Topic of Waifu (ワイフ)

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to the topic of Waifu. These are mainly about its origin, but sometimes also about its culture, the Waifu meaning, and its relationship with the Japanese culture. While it is common knowledge that the term Waifu or Waifus originated from Japan, its origin within the Japanese culture is too often misrepresented.

Suppose you have ever wondered about its true meaning, origin, and culture or coming across the term for the first time. Here we will define Waifu in its original form, its origin, culture, and how you can be a part of that culture as well as get your very own Waifu material.

The Meaning Of Waifu & Origin

Waifu, adequately pronounced “why-foo,” can and does mean different things to a diverse number of people. However, for simplicity, this definition is generally accepted by the entire Otaku/Anime fandom. In its simplest form, Waifu is a term used to address a non-live action visual (video games, anime, and manga) character you envision as your significant other.
In context, Waifu can furthermore be said to be a word used to refer to a female anime, manga, or video game character in an endearing way.


waifu pillow

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When the term Waifu or mai Waifu first became a thing, it only meant one thing. It meant a female non-live character for which a fan has anything but platonic feelings. Back then, trolls used the term to mock excessive anime lovers, and others wondered how you could have real feelings for a non-live character.

However, today, the term’s usage has evolved from just referring to a female character whom one has endearing feelings for to your favorite female characters in a non-live action. 4chan, where the term first went mainstream, offers a sheet cheat for every new initiate into the otaku fandom.

Waifu Culture

waifu girls

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The Waifu culture is a part of one of the ever-growing Japanese pop cultures of today’s modern world. While in itself there is no such term as Waifu culture, it is part of the Otaku culture. The word Otaku itself was created over half a century ago, according to this JW report. The term is deeply associated with lovers of video games, computers, manga, animations, etc. This is ultimately where its definition is drawn from and what makes it one of Japan’s most popular cultures and even on a global scale.

Otaku signifies a group of people who are obsessed with some Japanese pop cultures such as manga and animes. They are usually seen as geeky, and computer nerds. This means that for every Japanese pop culture, there is an Otaku for it. For example, manga lovers are known as manga Otaku. The same goes for anime, idols, games, and others. In all of these various cultures, there you will find the term Waifu, which has generally become a term used to address one’s favorite characters.

Waifu Origin

There are some unverified accounts of the term Waifu dating back to at least the 1980s. However, the generally accepted origin of the modern-day Waifu is from a scene in episode 15 of Azumanga Daioh, which aired in 2002. This was a scene where Mr. Kimura, a high school teacher calls a beautiful lady in a picture he dropped, which was then found by his students “my wife” instead of the Japanese translation of the term “my wife”(私の妻Watashi no tsuma).

When the words "my wife" were adapted to adhere to Japanese phonological constraints (e.g. no terminal /f/), and then re-expressed in a Japanese syllabary (hiragana/katakana), the result is マイワイフ. Finally, when we romanize マイワイフ, we get "mai Waifu".

The term Waifu and Waifuism blew up soon after in the anime and manga board in 4chan.  Anime and manga readers began using the term to refer to female characters that they were romantically attracted to. Trolls, on the other hand, used the term to mock excessive anime lovers who idolize anime characters as well as the characters they idolized.

While to many, it was just for fun, to some others, it was as real as it gets. Now, while it is established that the term Waifu or Waifus was in fact coined out from the anime Azumanga Daioh, it wasn't until 2011 that the term started curating searches online according to Google trends data.

These were mostly new Otaku fans who came across terms such as Waifu Reddit or the term in anime and manga social media groups and needed more information about the subject. For the high majority of new Otaku who still don’t know what to do with a Waifu, some suggestion is having a Waifu pillow or blanket. 4chan also made a cheat sheet for new Otaku lovers seeking proper connection with their Waifu.

Opposite of Waifu

Husbando pronounced whose-ban-doh is the counterpart for Waifu. While Waifu refers to the female non-live action character, husbando refers to the male version. This means that female Otaku uses the term husbando to idolize their favorite male characters and vice versa. Unlike Waifu, husbando has no link to actual Japanese culture.

husbando opposite of Waifu

Credit: Twitter

The term was simply coined from the actual word husband as an analogy. The term was first cited in October 2007, the same year the term Waifu went mainstream. It is no surprise why; female Otaku simply wanted a different version of the term Waifu to refer to male counterparts. The first citing of the word was recorded in animesuki platform where a user claimed a character as her husbando.

Why People Have Waifus

There is no ideal answer as to why people have Waifus, but there have been endless debates on the subject on Q&A platforms such as Reddit and quora. A quora user shared his opinion on the subject, and it’s an answer that is close to the point. People have Waifus or husbando for a number of reasons. It could be the sheer design of the character, their qualities that seem very similar to yours, a reflection of your own personalities, and the anime’s overall story.

Having a Waifu today brings life to the various pop cultures, giving Otaku something to fuse about. However, there are still extremists who take this too far. Some users have been known to have turned their Waifu into actual lovers, neglecting actual relationships and connections.

How To Get A Waifu

Getting a Waifu can be a complicated process when you try to pick one yourself. There are plenty of characters to love across various non-live action platforms. This is why there are various Waifu generators out there to help you have it done. A typical example and one of the best generators out there is to use our Waifu generator.

To use, first give your Waifu a name and allow the algorithm to match you with the best Waifu. You can share your Waifu on social media and even have a printed Waifu pillow from there!

(Waifu Material) Why You Should Get a Waifu

how to get a waifu
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You are not really a part of the Otaku culture if you don't have a Waifu or husbando. While many people rather not call it that, the fact remains. Having a Waifu or strong feelings towards a non-live action character is what truly makes you a part of the Otaku culture.