Gachikoi and Oshi in the Uruha Rushia Mafumafu Debacle Explained

What Oshi & Gachikoi mean in Japanese and their relation with the Mafumafu Rushia debacle

February 12, 2022

Hey Vtubers and Utaite fans, if you’re here, you must have already heard about the debacle with Mafumafu, Uruha Rushia, and (Hololive) VTubers in general, and are looking for some explanations regarding “Gachikoi” and “Oshi”, two words regularly brought up on social media to refer to the fans who started the controversy – Here’s what the two terms mean in Japanese and their history.

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Here’s what 推し/Oshi means in Japanese

Let’s start by explaining the term 推し/Oshi first. This is a term used in Japanese to describe a character or a person you support unconditionally. Your Oshi is not just your favorite character, it’s the one and only, the one you want to see reaching the summit.

The last 20 years of idol history shaped the word Oshi

Originally, the term Oshi was mainly used among idol fans to describe their favorite idol in a group. I’m sure you know at least what’s an idol in Japan and I’m not going to explain that as well or we’ll be there all day.

Usage of the word Oshi started spreading with what one could call the “new idol boom of the mid-2000s”. Idols have always been a thing in Japan, but this particular time frame saw the launch of many idol-themed iconic groups and franchises such as AKB48, or The [email protected] franchise by Bandai Namco. There’s also how the popular anime franchise Pretty Cure started continuously doing idol-themed EDs for all its series. In short, idol-themed content started increasing exponentially in the mid-2000s.

Everyone in Japan says Oshi now

Usage of the word Oshi only increased in the early 2010s, with the apparition of social media, gacha games, and new idol-themed franchises like Love Live and Pretty Series. The rise of franchises mainly aimed toward a female audience, from Uta no Prince Sama to Touken Ranbu, made the word Oshi a common term used by everyone.

Now in Japan, you can hear someone use the word Oshi to talk not only about idols and anime characters but also food, animals, cosplayers, streamers, trains… Anything goes.

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The manga Oshi no Ko deals with the idol industry and Oshi culture

Oshi replaced “mai waifu/husbando” in Japan

While the expressions “my waifu” “my husbando” are nowadays pretty popular in the English anime fandom, I barely ever hear Japanese people say that anymore. The expression was particularly popular in the late 90s/early 2000s, with series like Nadesico and Japanese otaku going “Ruri is my waifu”. But that pretty much disappeared now. In the same vein as how pretty much no one actually says “Moe” anymore.

Everyone uses Oshi instead and says “my Oshi character”. Oshi doesn’t necessarily imply you have romantic feelings toward the character, and unlike “mai waifu/husbando” Oshi is gender-less and can be used regardless of sexual orientation. Besides Oshi, another word often used nowadays is Gachikoi, with fans saying “my Gachikoi character”.

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Gachikoi is slang to describe a fan in love with a personality or fictional character. The word is said to originate from Johnny’s fans, and how women magazines covering Johnny & Associates would use the term “riakoi/true love” to describe fans in love with the idols.

The term Gachikoi became more and more used on the net these past few years, as Utaite on NicoNicoDouga and now Virtual YouTubers rose in popularity. There are many fans in love with their favorite VTubers and turning into Gachikoi-type fans, which can potentially create problems like this Mafumafu Uruha Rushia debacle.

The Gachikoi-type fans explained

You always have “Gachikoi-type” in fandoms. Fans who are truly in love with their Oshi idol, character, etc, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not necessarily a bad thing.

However, a portion of the Gachikoi-type fans tends to become aggressive and turn against each other, refusing to share the subject of their love with other fans. They can also harass fans who are into shipping, and who ship their Oshi with another character in fanart.

Both Mafumafu and Uruha Rushia have Gachikoi-type fans

Furthermore, some Gachikoi-type fans can also turn against their idol and tend to harass them at the slightest hint that they might already have a partner.

Mafumafu especially has a really huge fanbase, with many of them being Gachikoi-types in the same vein as some Johnny’s fans. This is why this situation got so big in Japan. And why many fans of Uruha Rushia and Mafumafu are blaming Gachikoi fans for starting the current debacle, while regular fans don’t care much.

There you have it. That’s the most important knowledge when it comes to the terms Oshi and Gachikoi, and why many fans are bringing them up when discussing the Mafumafu Rushia debacle. Tell us your thoughts in the comments below, and reach out to me directly on Twitter @A_iyane07.

Iyane Agossah

Living near Paris, Iyane (He/Him) is the head of Japanese content at DualShockers. He speaks Japanese, has been loving anime and Japanese games for over 25 years and plays Genshin Impact for its story and exploration. You can reach him on Twitter at @A_iyane07.

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