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What Is Yandere (ヤンデレ)?

Yandere is one of the most iconic yet infamous character archetypes. It is well recognized in Japanese novels, manga, anime, and video games. A yandere character appears first as a harmless individual, but behind their meek nature is a broken psyche. Once they fall in love, they would do anything for their love interest, including committing atrocious crimes. They would not take no for an answer, and their romantic feelings drive them into insanity. They also tend to become violent if they become jealous. The majority are females. There are some audio dramas, novels, or otome games that feature male characters.

According to the articles “Dere Types: Tsundere, Yandere, Kuudere, Dandere + Others,” “Yandere Girls’ Types and Scary Lines” (ヤンデレ女子の種類と怖いセリフ集) and “Yandere Type” (ヤンデレタイプ), there are 20 types of yandere. Each type ranges from mild to dangerous. The following types are:

  1. Mugai-gata (無害型) or “harmless” – won’t commit crimes.
  2. Mousou-gata (妄想型) or “delusional” / kanchigai-gata  (勘違い型) or “wrong idea” – misinterprets any kind of interaction.
  3. Shuuchaku-gata (執着型) or “obsessed type” – wants to know more about the love interest.
  4. Stalker-gata (ストーカー型) or “stalker” – follows the love interest everywhere.
  5. Dokusen-gata (独占型) or “monopoly” – wants to take the love interest by themselves.
  6. Izon-gata (依存型) or “Dependence” – cannot live without the love interest.
  7. Touei-gata (投影型) or “projection” – forces the love interest on their ideal romance.
  8. Shoushitsu-gata (消失型) or ”disappearance” – leaves the love interest due to low self-worth.
  9. Shuumatsu-gata (終末型) or “final” – if the love interest dies, they go insane.
  10.  Bouryoku-gata (暴力型)or “violence” / DV-gata (DV型) or“domestic violence” – involves physical violence.
  11. Sokubaku-gata (束縛型) or “restraints” – involves taking drastic measures, such as kidnapping, to control the love interest’s actions.
  12.  Mousou-gata (妄想型) or “delusion” – the reality is too distorted for the yandere.
  13. Jishou-gata (自傷型) or “self-harm” – inflicts injuries upon themselves to gain attention.
  14. Haijo-gata (排除型) or “removal” – physically “removes” people that are deemed to be obstructions.
  15. Shinjuu-gata (心中型) or “double suicide” – induces suicide pacts.
  16. Jiko-gisei-gata (自己犠牲型) or “self-sacrifice” – unhealthy sacrifice in the name of love
  17. Suuhai-gata (崇拝型) or ”worship” – supports the love interest like a cultist.
  18.  Choukyou-gata (調教型) or ”training” – brainwashes the love interest.
  19.  Koritsu yuudou-gata (孤立誘導型) or ”loneliness induction” – creates a delusion where the love interest feels alone, and their only choice is the yandere.
  20. Ryouki-gata (猟奇型) or ”bizarre-seeking” – insanity beyond reason, would murder the love interest because of love.

Some examples from Japanese popular culture include Ako Tamaki from Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta, Ayase Aragaki from Oreimo, Himiko Toga from My Hero Academia, Kakeru from Yandere Heaven, Kotonoha Katsura from School Days, Kurumi Tokisaki from Date A Live, Satou Matsuzaka from Happy Sugar Life, Toma Jonouchi from Starstruck Love, and Yuno Gasai from Mirai Nikki.

 

Etymology

Yandere (ヤンデレ) is a portmanteau of the Japanese words: yanderu (病んでる) or “mentally ill,” and dere-dere  (デレデレ) or “lovestruck.” Yanderu is a contraction of yandeiru (病んでいる), which is the progressive form ofyamu  (病む)  or “to be generally sick.” The combined words literally mean “obsessive love.” Yandere has a related word: koiyamai (恋病) or “lovesick.”

 

A Brief History

The earliest literature that depicted yandere was the Epic of Gilgamesh. According to the Epic of Gilgamesh, Ishtar or Ianna was a notorious goddess of love and war. Most of her actions were catastrophic. All her lovers ended with tragic fates. The only hero that defied Ishtar was Gilgamesh. Fans speculate that the deity Ishtar was the first literary yandere due to her attractiveness paired with ill temperament and outrageous actions.

Yandere appeared during the popularity of anime in 1980. It is a spinoff of tsundere, who is hostile at the beginning but becomes caring with their love interest. The only difference is that a yandere is only caring for the love interest. They would pretend to be gentle in front of other people, but their attitude changes in certain situations. They become violent once their love interest receives romantic reciprocation from others. Any form of harm done to the love interest would cause the yandere to go ballistic. Yandere gained attention during 2000, spawning characters in novels, manga, anime, and video games.

In 2014, a video game based on the yandere archetype was developed by YandereDev. Yandere Simulator is a stealth game where players take the role of a yandere named Ayano Aishi. Ayano is in love with her Senpai, and she’s been stalking him for a very long time. The game’s objective is to secretly follow Senpai while assassinating potential romantic rivals. Players also have to maintain Ayano’s sanity and social status as an innocent schoolgirl. The game has been in the development stage since 2014, and the final version is yet to be released.

 

Modern Usage

A yandere is basically a stalker that looks beautiful or attractive. They personify madness in the name of love. Compared to traditional romantic partners who patiently wait for love, they are more proactive. They also break from the idealized stereotype of a girlfriend. What makes them attractive for some fans is the idea of someone obsessing for them. They sympathize with the yandere’s brokenness. On the other hand, a yandere in real life is dangerous. If someone is proclaiming themselves as real-life yandere, they need professional help. An obsession to the point of committing crimes is not worth it.

 

References:

Dere Types: Tsundere, Yandere, Kuudere, Dandere + Others, Japanese with Anime, https://www.japanesewithanime.com/2016/07/tsundere-kuudere-yandere-meaning.html, 21 July 2016, Retrieved 22 February 2021.

いわこわらいと, ヤンデレ女子の種類と怖いセリフ集, iwako-light.com, https://www.iwako-light.com/entry-yanndere, 25 March 2017, Retrieved 22 February 2021.

天架イオラ, ヤンデレタイプ, Lv. 6, http://lv6-fine.jugem.jp/?eid=265, 31 May 2011, Retrieved 22 February 2021.

Pryke, Louise, Ancient History Encyclopedia, https://www.ancient.eu/ishtar/, 10 May 2019, Retrieved 22 February 2021.

The History Of Yandere Characters – Introduction: Yanderes In Mythology, Reddit, https://www.reddit.com/r/yandere/comments/d7lmgb/the_history_of_yandere_characters_introduction/, 22 September 2019, Retrieved 22 February 2021.

yandere, Dictionary.com, https://www.dictionary.com/e/fictional-characters/yandere/, Retrieved 22 February 2021.

YandereDev, Yandere Simulator, https://yanderesimulator.com/, Retrieved 22 February 2021.

 

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