Do you know what a Japanophile or Japanophilia is? Many people like anime and manga, so they tend to call themselves "Otakus”. But as already said in another post, the meaning of this word in Japan is not very well regarded. In fact, this term tends to be used as a form of depreciation by the Japanese.
On the other hand, there are people who like Japanese culture, people, history and more. And yet some insist on calling themselves “Otaku”. But after this post, if you are one of those people, you will have another term for yourself.
Yes, with a brilliant deduction, the term of the question in the first paragraph is the correct term. But calm down, let's explain it better for you to know the reason. In fact, unlike Otaku, this term is very well regarded by Japanese culture.
What does Japanophile mean?
Before explaining this term, we have to dictate a more primitive term, Japanophilia. Japanophilia refers to the appreciation and love of Japanese culture, people or history. In Japanese, the term for Japanophile is "shinnichi" [親日]. The term was first used in the early 18th century, changing its scope over time.
That is, a Japanophile is a person who is, has, uses or practices japanophilia. Being a person who has an appreciation and a certain passion for aspects of Japan.
A little history of Japanophile
The term “Japanophile” goes back to the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. Before Japan became more open to foreign trade, (read about the Edo Period). Carl Peter Thunberg and Philipp Franz von Siebold helped to introduce Japanese flora, works of art and other objects to Europe, which increased interest.
Lafcadio Hearn, an Irish-Greek author who made his home in Japan in the 19th century. This man was described as "a confirmed Japanophile" by the Charles E. Tuttle Company in the preface to several of his books. Others may include Jules Brunet, a French army officer who played a famous role in the Japanese Boshin War.
In the first decade of the 20th century, several British writers praised Japan. In 1904, for example, Beatrice Webb wrote that Japan was a "rising star of human self-control and enlightenment". And he praised the “innovative collectivism” of the Japanese and the “strange” propensity and open mind of their “enlightened professional elite”.
HG Wells likewise named his samurai elite A Modern Utopia. This was partly a result of the decline in British industrial primacy, with Japan and Germany increasing comparatively.
Germany was seen as a close threat, but Japan was seen as a potential ally. The British sought efficiency as a solution to productivity issues. This interest, however, ended with the First World War.
Are you going to switch from “otaku” to “Japanophile”?
If you only watch anime, read light novels and manga, that's fine, you're still an Otaku at least in the West. But if you're like us, who have a greater interest than just that, it's time to change the title. Even why you call yourself Otaku, it will not always be well regarded. Especially when visiting Japan.
Incredibly, the term, although it perfectly describes some types of people, is not as well known. Perhaps because it is an English term, "otakus" in love with Japan, tend to reject each other. Not to mention that the pronunciation is strange and difficult.
In reality there is another term besides Otaku and Japanophile which is weeabo and contains several similarities. The difference is that Otaku and weeabo are pejorative and negative. I believe that it is best not to call yourself anything.
Of course, no one is forcing anyone to do anything. But anyway, it's up to you. If you have any questions, suggestions or anything like that, just leave it there in the comments. Thanks for reading the article so far, bye.