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Old 2012-03-29, 22:20   Link #1
Myname
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Moe vs Kawaii

The word "moe" has become a lot more prevalent in the western anime community in the last 3-4 years. I know this word has existed in Japan (not sure if it's otaku terminology or Japanese) for a while now but the earliest I remember it being mentioned was in Haruhi (I think Genshiken too) which was translated as "turn on" or "fetish". So technically you can find anything "moe".

Nowadays the word "moe" seems to refer to anything cute. Pretty much anything that is slightly cute (art style, actions, personality, voice) is called moe. It's pretty synonymous with "kawaii".

Although what I noticed is that it's usually the weaboos that use "kawaii" in their words but have no idea what "moe" means. And the non-weaboos use "moe" all the time but don't see it as weabooish. Maybe it's cause there's no translation for "moe".
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Old 2012-03-29, 22:28   Link #2
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Many western fans mistakenly think 'moe' is a tangible attribute of something whereas it is basically the feeling the *viewer* has. People can get feelings of 'moe' over a variety of things. Some series use art techniques that generate 'moe' in the viewing audience and those are sometimes called 'moe shows' or 'moeblob shows'. However, the feeling can be generated from watching a character drawn in other styles as well.

It is a slang word: a pun derived from a Japanese word that literally means "budding," as with a plant that is about to flower and a homonym for the word for "burning" ... in other words, its an armwaving way of trying to describe a passionate feeling for something that isn't necessarily erotic/sexual. That warm, fuzzy feeling that something must be worshiped and protected.

The situation reminds me of the German word "gestalt" which doesn't have a direct translation so it just gets imported. Haruhi... well, I blame some of the fansubbers for a rather loosely translated bit of dialog in that scene contributing to the problem (there was also some intentional satire in the scene on the otaku culture that was taken seriously by some viewers).
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Old 2012-03-29, 22:30   Link #3
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From what I can understand about Japanese culture, "moe" does indeed refer to "turn-on" (Lucky Star is probably what taught you that XD) It's not always sexual but it normally refers to "fetishes". "Kawaii" can literally describe anything that is "cute". But "moe" and "kawaii" are not the same. For example, a Japanese girl would call a puppy, clothes, or flowers "kawaii". She would not refer to them as "moe". A Japanese man would call a maid, a schoolgirl, or a bishoujo figure "moe". But he could also call them "kawaii" as well.

Does that help?
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Old 2012-03-29, 22:44   Link #4
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So these days, aside from otaku, normal people in Japan also use the word "moe" in their life? I've always thought that it's used exclusively in otaku culture only.
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Old 2012-03-29, 22:54   Link #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pokaru View Post
I've always thought that it's used exclusively in otaku culture only.
I believe you're right. When I said "Japanese man" in my post, I was thinking of an otaku man.
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Old 2012-03-29, 23:02   Link #6
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"Moe", as a popular term, simply took off more than "Kawaii" did. Of the two terms, I encounter "moe" a lot more than i do "kawaii".

So if somebody uses "Kawaii" a lot in what they say or write, it can seem a bit exotic even to many online anime fans. "Moe", OTOH, is a term that just about every online anime fan has at least a passing familiarity with, whether or not they like characters/shows commonly considered "moe".
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Old 2012-03-29, 23:27   Link #7
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Moe actually doesn't strictly apply to living beings. otaku have been known to call moe on trains, model guns, techs, etc, etc (like how Daru of Steins Gate call the LHC moe).

Also, "moe" is not to be mistaken with "moeru", though sometimes, they're interchangeable, I think. Literally, "moeru" is closer to "turn on" than "moe", because "moeru" literally means "on fire", but it's more commonly used in a shonen manga/anime where characters suddenly get in an exciting situation.
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Old 2012-03-29, 23:34   Link #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
So if somebody uses "Kawaii" a lot in what they say or write, it can seem a bit exotic even to many online anime fans. "Moe", OTOH, is a term that just about every online anime fan has at least a passing familiarity with, whether or not they like characters/shows commonly considered "moe".
I've always considered "kawaii" one of the ultimate anime cliche words. The first word out of the mouth of the budding Japanophile eager to show his enthusiasm for his new hobby. But I might just be behind the times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Myname View Post
And the non-weaboos use "moe" all the time but don't see it as weabooish. Maybe it's cause there's no translation for "moe".
I do that, for that exact reason. Words that are part of anime nomenclature, such as moe and tsundere, I have no problem using when describing a character, but replacing the word "cute" with "kawaii" just seems completely pointless to me.
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Old 2012-03-29, 23:35   Link #9
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Moe= "turn on" comes from the a.f.k. fansubs version of Haruhi, which is how most western fans encountered the show back in 2006. It's not really an accurate translation because as Vexx says, it doesn't translate well into English... a.f.k. just tried to come up with something that worked for the scene.

As for what the term means, I endorse Vexx's definition:
Quote:
It is a slang word: a pun derived from a Japanese word that literally means "budding," as with a plant that is about to flower and a homonym for the word for "burning" ... in other words, its an armwaving way of trying to describe a passionate feeling for something that isn't necessarily erotic/sexual. That warm, fuzzy feeling that something must be worshiped and protected.
Which isn't to say that the term doesn't have value as an adjective - I myself frequently describe "otaku-cute" things as "moe shows, moe art, moe characters, etc."... but it does bug me that people have misconceptions about what it means, particularly when people read eroticism into it without warrent (a moe character can certainly be erotic, but that's not what makes him/her a moe character). From my perspective, that misconception flows from the Haruhi translation and the (annoying) presumption that sexual attraction is the main reason a guy will like a particular girl.
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Old 2012-03-30, 00:05   Link #10
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I would define the relationship between moe and kawaii as that moe is a feeling often invoked by something kawaii. I generally find myself responding to things designed to invoke the moe with a mix of protectiveness and something else I can't really define. Sorta like big brother/fatherly instinct, but not quite. "Moe" is really hard to translate...
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Old 2012-03-30, 00:08   Link #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 0utf0xZer0 View Post
From my perspective, that misconception flows from the Haruhi translation and the (annoying) presumption that sexual attraction is the main reason a guy will like a particular girl.
Indeed,the Harushi translation had a lot to do with it,even the OP of this thread mentioned it. Chiibi also mentioned a Lucky Star translation.

So really,can't blame them,they're just going off the translations they've seen,but still when I read stuff like this

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chiibi
normally refers to "fetishes"
I can't help but feel fustrated when I see moe associated with fetishism.
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Old 2012-03-30, 00:18   Link #12
0utf0xZer0
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Quote:
Originally Posted by totoum View Post
Indeed,the Harushi translation had a lot to do with it,even the OP of this thread mentioned it. Chiibi also mentioned a Lucky Star translation.
The same fansub group subbed Lucky Star.

Quote:
Originally Posted by totoum View Post
I can't help but feel fustrated when I see moe associated with fetishism.
I honestly feel the old "attributing with a magical or mystical quality" definition of fetishism captures moe better than the modern meaning of the fetishism.

Hey, if the iPad can be magically so can Matsuri Shihou or Yune. Add Utena and you've got the revolutionary part down too.

(Oh come on, it was too funny to pass up.)
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Old 2012-03-30, 00:18   Link #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Echoes View Post
I've always considered "kawaii" one of the ultimate anime cliche words. The first word out of the mouth of the budding Japanophile eager to show his enthusiasm for his new hobby. But I might just be behind the times.
Well, do you see the word "kawaii" used a lot on anime blogs, or in online conversations on anime boards like this one? I know that I don't. Kind of hard for something to be cliche if it's not used a lot.

I don't doubt that most anime fans know what "kawaii" means, but it's certainly used a lot less often than "moe" or "tsundere" is, giving "kawaii" a more exotic feel as such, imo.
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Old 2012-03-30, 00:47   Link #14
Myname
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Well, do you see the word "kawaii" used a lot on anime blogs, or in online conversations on anime boards like this one? I know that I don't. Kind of hard for something to be cliche if it's not used a lot.

I don't doubt that most anime fans know what "kawaii" means, but it's certainly used a lot less often than "moe" or "tsundere" is, giving "kawaii" a more exotic feel as such, imo.
Nah I'm pretty sure the word "Kawaii" isn't exotic. It's one of those cliche words people think of right away when talking about Japanese. Like "Sayonara" or "Baka" or "Gomenasai".

One of the signs of a weaboo is if they use the word "kawaii" in an english sentence instead of cute. Like "That was so KAWAII!!! <3" or "He's a baka". Or add honorifics (-san) when talking to people.

The reason you don't see the word being used in anime communities and blogs is because they're not weaboos. They tend to know more about Japanese culture but don't worship it like an idiot or pretend to be Japanese. Those are weaboos. Intentionally using Japanese words in English to appear knowledgeable when there's a clear translation for it.

Youtube for example is full of weaboos. These people don't know how to download anime/manga beyond searching youtube or google. Very few people like weaboos.

Words like "moe" and "tsundere" have no direct (english) translation. You can translate "Kawaii" as "cute" or "Baka" as "idiot".
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Old 2012-03-30, 00:57   Link #15
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Myname is describing the "small" faction of people one encounters at American japanese cultural festivals, or haunting asian markets, bookstores, anime conventions. My rule of thumb is that they're embarrassing to even stand near - and I can stand near almost *anyone* .

Of course, when someone uses the "w--" word, the rest of the group should respond with the paddles - that's the game after all
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Old 2012-03-30, 00:59   Link #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Well, do you see the word "kawaii" used a lot on anime blogs, or in online conversations on anime boards like this one? I know that I don't. Kind of hard for something to be cliche if it's not used a lot.

I don't doubt that most anime fans know what "kawaii" means, but it's certainly used a lot less often than "moe" or "tsundere" is, giving "kawaii" a more exotic feel as such, imo.
Oh yes, certainly nowadays moe is a much more commonly used word. But moe, as well as tsundere, are words that don't have clear English equivalents. I think there is some merit to using those words to describe those archetypes/phenomenons.

I see kawaii used a lot more often than I'd like, because I don't see that the word has any purpose when communicating in English at all. But if anyone has a dissenting opinion on that, I'm willing to listen.

Edit: Late response is late, Myname pretty much said it, albeit a little more harshly than me.
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Old 2012-03-30, 01:38   Link #17
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Just on the thread title:

When I look at "moe" and "kawaii", my initial reaction asks: "WTF is the difference?" It'd be hard for an anime girl to be "moe" and uncute at the same time; although, that can very well happen depending on personal preference. There are some girls, whom someone would find cute, while another finds those same ones as annoying or as an outright bitch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Myname
Maybe it's cause there's no translation for "moe".
There never was a clear cut definition, nor there really should be. That's because it's a slang term.

Sometimes when I go to edit the "moe" article over in Wikipedia; sometimes, I'd just wonder: "What is 'moe' really anyways?" The answer would be: "You know it, when you see it." In general, male characters wouldn't fall into this character, unless you happen to swing that way. In that case, stay away from me. LOLOLOL

Nevertheless, a strong element of cuteness does go along with "moe".

Oh, and speaking of Wikipedia -- if anyone can find articles (not blogs) on moe, that'd be helpful, particularly stuff in Japanese (that I can't read). I'm sure someone has written something about this topic.
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Old 2012-03-30, 01:42   Link #18
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I really don't get the point of trying to segregate moe' and fetishism when the two can certainly overlap. Or what, I'm the only one around here who's found characters that make me feel so moe' that I mistook it for its own fetish altogether?

As for the word kawaii I can safely say that even during my enthusiastic years that I never used the word because it just seems too weird. Nonetheless I have no problem spamming sugoi words like uguu all day without batting an eye desu but I digress. Save the usage of the word kawaii to cute anime girls (or...traps :P) describing cute things so the audience can feel moe' for someone who is cute for being moe' over something cute.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyuu View Post
When I look at "moe" and "kawaii", my initial reaction asks: "WTF is the difference?"
In a purely aesthetic sense there is almost no difference as moe' is often an artstyle on its own that can often be considered cute. Emotionally speaking though, moe' is a feeling that invokes a type of doting from someone and isn't quite exclusive to the character's appearance. You can find a character cute but he or she won't necessarily make you feel moe'. On that note, it might be worth noting that the reason moe' and cute are treated as synonymous is that if a character makes someone feel moe' then that feeling can cause his or her perception of the character to change, in this case looking more attractive to the person than it would have been without that special feeling (IE, moe').
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Old 2012-03-30, 05:35   Link #19
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Maybe it's just me but whenever someone uses the word "kawaii" and they aren't Japanese, it screams "Weeaboo" to me. Yeh yeh I know it's derogatory but seriously that person is asking to be ridiculed.

"Moe" on the other hand seems to be a generalised word in the anime fandom these days. I won't go into the debate of what it actually means (we'll be here for years debating that) but anyone who watches more than just the mainstream shonen titles (Naruto, One Piece, Bleach - wait Bleach finished. OMG) knows what it is.

Let me give you a example:

"OMG. Your bento is so Kawaiii! Itadakimasu!"

See what I mean . It just sounds totally wrong. Compare that to this:

"Oh wow. That was totally moe!"
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Old 2012-03-30, 06:48   Link #20
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In my understanding...

"Moe" is more of character (traits, etc) of a person while "Kawai" is more based on a character's appearance (physical).
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