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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 Asian 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.

Waifu F.A.Q. Hello and welcome. In this document, I will attempt to clear up misconceptions behind the waifu concept for newcomers to /a/, and latecomers who have received misinformation. The purpose behind this guide isn't to force my own tastes down your throat, but to aid you in choosing the two dimensional partner best suited to you. If you've wanted to understand the concept more clearly, you've certainly come to the right place Question #1: what is this "waifu" thing/a/keeps talking about? Answer: A waifu is many things to many different people, but in essence, it is the embodiment of your ideal significant other. Many boards have their own waifu versions, but for the sake of simplicity I will speak assuming your waifu candidate is 2d and/a/ related. A waifu is that character that you simply cannot wait to see appear on screen and deliver their next enigmatic line. A waifu is the personification of that which makes you feel safe, secure, and confident. Question #2: Does a waifu have to be female? Answer: That's stupid, love doesn't have to be restricted by sex. Question #3: How can you love something fictional? You can't even have sex with it! Answer: No doubt, this statement will keep having itself repeated until the end of time, or at least 4chan. I must stress that you CAN love a concept. A concept is where love COMES from. You aren't ever in love with a PERSON, you're infatuated with your CONCEPT of them. Without the actual merging of consciousnesses, it is physically impossible to truly know and love a person. A waifu is nothing more than that concept rendered intangible. Yes, you cannot have sex with her. However, does a lack of sex mean a lack of love? Certainly not. Or at least, it shouldn't if you have a healthy value system. It's enough for you to feel the love, you need not feel their person. I suppose it's similar to religious faith in that regard Still, everyone needs an external stimulus to give them strength. Humans aren't born to be alone Question #4: Okay I guess that makes sense. But how do I choose one? what's the best way to find out who is right for me? Answer: Just start plowing through as many anime, visual novels, and manga as possible. Believe me, you'll know when you've encountered that character. If nothing else, base intuition is your best friend here. I'm not your personal Dr. Love, so that's as specific as advice can get. Question #5: Cool, so I have a waifu now what? Answer: Live life the way you think would make your waifu happy. You'll know you found the right waifu if you unconsciously begin judging your actions according to both your and her moral standards. You're not working towards a goal or anything, just enjoy her and yourself. Collect fanart, figurines, posters, or whatever you enjoy seeing of her Question #6: So, I posted her in a waifu thread on /a/, and they said i have s--- taste! what gives? Answer: No one can judge what or whom you should love. If nothing else, simply refrain from posting her unless you wish to invite abuse. It might also be best to examine /a/'s statements, for when they're not trolling, there's usually a shred of knowledge somewhere in their words. Question #7: Any other tips? Answer: Uhhh.... Well, it's generally safer to pick from a series that has already finished, so you have a complete grasp of her character. If at all possible, try to have one picture or figure of her somewhere in your living quarters. Unconscious moral reinforcement, you know. Also, it reinforces the bond you wish to cultivate Happy choosing!

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 (via Wayback Machine) – I am Boss on Lurkmore

[3] Urban Dictionary – Waifu

[4] Oh Internet (via Wayback Machine) – My Waifu

[5] Wikipedia – Azumanga Daio

[6] Alafista (via Wayback Machine) – Otaku Lingo / Mai Waifu

[7] Tumblr – Tagged results for Waifu

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