The Idiocy of Superficial Honorifics

2009 August 17 § 1 Comment

If there is one thing that is offensive, it is the lack of regard and objectification and exoticization of ‘other cultures’ – namely, the recent explosion in popularity of all things Japanese.

There’s a lot of ways that people express or show their fascination with Japanese culture, and many of them are usually harmless and inoffensive. Liking anime, enjoying cosplay, reading manga, adopting Japanese fashions. Replace “Japanese” with another ethnicity or culture, and it wouldn’t really matter.

Still, I see a lack of regard for the depth and real culture, behind fascination with Japan’s popular media. One such practice is the idiotic use of honorifics – especially when the user lacks any real comprehension of what they mean and how they’re used. I have never been more reviled than when I saw two Japanese-wannabes squealing and looking utterly ridiculous as they exclaimed over some cute trinkets and hot bishounen on manga covers, throwing random Japanese words around (“kawaii!” “ja ne!” “konnichiwa!”) as they address each other with -chan and -kun and all manner of wince-worthy honorifics.

Granted, I probably should have expected it at Anime Expo – it is the premiere gathering place for Japanophiles and cosplayers.

But it conveys such a lack of respect for the culture. It’s not cute, and it’s not endearing in the slightest – especially when there is an obvious lack of learning, and an obvious lack of depth behind their usage.

And then they mispronounce the Japanese words. Ouch.

I suppose it’s not my place to lecture or judge, since I, too, indulge myself in my share of Japanese music, manga, anime, food, and who knows what else. Still, I can’t help but feel a tiny bit superior when I can at least claim to know the language better.

All knowledge is worth having – if you’re going to obsess over something, you should at least try to learn the read, write, and speak it properly. For the record, you do sound rather silly when you mispronounce it and use it wrong.


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