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Waifu is an Engrish term primarily used by Asian men to refer to one’s own wife. While the colloquial use of the word in East Asan cultures predates its online popularity, the term has been since adopted by Otaku circles and anime fans to refer to one’s favorite female manga or anime character. The male equivalent is commonly referred to as a “Husbando”


The term “Waifu” was first introduced to the English-speaking audiences through a scene from the popular high school anime series Azumanga Daioh, which aired in Japan from April to September 2002 and later released as a DVD set in the United States in September 2005. In the scene, the protagonist’s perverted homeroom teacher Mr. Kimura drops a photograph of a mysterious woman on the classroom floor. When asked by his students about the person in the picture, Mr. Kimura simply replies: “Mai Waifu.”


The Engrish word “waifu” stuck with the English-speaking fans and throughout the latter half of 2000s, the term became heavily used by both anime fans and trolls on 4chan’s /a/ (anime & manga) board, as a term of endearment to refer to a female character and as a flamebait to mock the obsessive nature of the subculture, respectively. As “mai waifu” continued to appear on 4chan, a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) addressing the term was created as a supplement to the /a/ board.

The first and only Urban Dictionary definition for “Mai Waifu” was created by user Surhta on April 2nd, 2007.

weaboo for my wife
This is mai waifu _

However, the use of “mai waifu” is not restrictedly solely to anime or manga characters, as it has been seen with images of non-Japanese cartoon characters or even photographs of real life celebrities.

Dinner with Waifu

Dinner with Waifu (Japanese: 嫁との晩餐, Yome To No Bansan), also known as “Otaku Date”, refers to an event that takes place on the Japanese textboard site 2channel during holidays that are labeled as romantic, most notably Christmas Eve and Valentine’s Day, in which users share photographs of themselves enjoying dinner with their favorite anime character known as a “waifu.” The photographs typically show food placed in front of a monitor or body pillow with the character’s likeness on it.


Sometimes the original poster has a genuine otaku-like love for their “waifu” and is met with encouragement, but is sometimes met by mocking responses from those who dismiss any affection for two-dimensional characters as a symptom of delusion or an unhealthy obsession with the Otaku subculture, as famous encapsulated in the phrase She’s a Cartoon, Not Your Waifu.


Mai Husbando / Mai Hasubando

“Mai Husbando” and “Mai Hasubando” refer to the male equivalent of a waifu, thus one’s favorite male character. Because waifus are more common in anime-related circles than husbandos, threads requesting posters to share their husbando are less common in appearance.

Mai Bossu

Mai Bossu is one of the less prevalent variants as the joke is limited only to 4chan. Mai Bossu usually accompanies the character of Minami-ke named Kana, who wore a shirt with an the phrase “I AM BOSS”. Many have interpreted the shirt to be an Engrish mistranslation of “I am the boss” but is likely to be simply a usage of the outdated slang practice of using the word “boss” as an adjective to mean “cool.” In this case, there would be no grammatical error.

Search Interest

The search trend for “waifu” begins in April of 2006. “Mai Waifu” searches began in January of 2007. Searches for “My Waifu” don’t show up until March of 2009. There is not any significant volume of search for either the “mai hasubando” or “mai bossu” variants.

External References

[1]Lurkmore – Mai Waifu on Lurkmore

[2]Lurkmore – I am Boss on Lurkmore

[3]Urban Dictionary – Waifu

[4]Oh Internet – My Waifu

[5]Wikipedia – Azumanga Daio

[6]Alafista – Otaku Lingo / Mai Waifu

[7]Tumblr – Tagged results for Waifu

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