The History Of Ahegao: Is It Damaging To East Asian Women?

Ahegao Anime Girl Tongue
Written by Theo J Ellis

I remember back in 2020 when there was outrage related to Ahegao face. And many claimed it was racist to Asians.

I won’t lie, I’ve seen so much outrage over nonsense on Twitter I dismissed it, thinking it was exaggerated.

The problem was (at first) is no one was explaining why it was racist. And Twitter’s out of context as it is so it didn’t help.

I’ve seen people fabricate stories for attention as well, like when I first covered a suicide in the RWBY community. Only to later find out it was a HOAX.

That’s why I’m skeptical about outrage, initially.

Anyway, fast forward to 2021 and the ahegao conversation is still going. And I have a better understanding of why Ahegao is racist.


The history of ahegao face

onodera ahegao nisekoi 1

This is the ahegao face we know of today. It seems like a meme, a joke, a bit of comedy, whatever.

I thought the same when I first heard of it. And while it might have seemingly evolved into something different today, the root doesn’t change.

Here’s what Wikipedia claims:

“Also known as the O-Face, the term ahegao dates at least as far back as the early 1990s. Magazines used the word to describe the facial expressions of female live-action porn actresses during orgasm. In the same context, ahegao was used in some postings at 2Channel and its sister community for adult content, BBSPink, as well as in porno videos at adult e-commerce platforms in the early 2000s.”


This is actually not the full story at all

ahegao twitter tweet history

As pointed about by a Tweet:

“The earliest known record I could find on ahegao was in the 1980s by an artist named Suehiro Maruo. He’s a ero guro artist.

He wrote a comic called Shōjo Tsubaki which depicts gruesome acts of physical & sexual violence against a 12 y/o girl.”


shojo tsubaki ahegao

shojo tsubaki wikipedia comic

It’s actually true.

Even though Wikipedia hasn’t explained the full history, it DOES show the comic.

Sample text:

“An innocent 12-year-old girl who enjoyed her life as a student to the fullest. However, everything changed after her father left and her mother died. Midori is forced to become a school dropout and sell flowers in the city. The orphaned Midori then meets a stranger who leads her towards the circus. What awaits her will change her life, and her, forever.”


A breakdown of ahegao’s history

ahegao history disturbing

“Ahegao, the popular facial expression when you stick out your tongue and cross your eyes, originates from Japanese erotica written by a man who fantasized about assaulting children. It plays off and reinforces the stereotypes that Japanese women are submissive, easily overpowered/manipulated, and that they want/deserve abusive treatment.”

It goes on to talk about how Ahegao is Japanese fetishization, which I talked about the other week.

That fetishization has obviously extended and is now done by American white men, and white westerners in particular.

The image is taken from anonymous East Asian women, so it can’t verified in a literal sense.

Related: Does Anime Culture Promote Racist Fetishization Of Japanese & Asian Women?


Anecdotal evidence of why Ahegao can be racist

ahegao asians damaging tweet rape screenshot

asian women sharing ahegao experiences sexualizaiton twitter

“I was repeatedly r*ped by my step brother (white) because I was Asian and liked like the porn he watched. He asked me to make a “silly face” and showed me a picture of Ahegao and asked me to do it while performing sexual acts on him.

I’ve also been bullied and harassed by men for not wanting to fulfill their hentai waifu dreams and do Ahegao while having sexual relations with them. Some even got angry and threatened me.”


ahegao damaging to asians ahegao thread twitter racism ahegao thread racism tweet

ahegao racist tweets

“The fetishisation and sexualisation of Asian people is deep rooted. I have experienced it my entire life. And I really do mean my whole life. As a child in school uniform I was repeatedly sexualised. I fit that Asian Schoolgirl look that is so popular.

The increase in popularity of anime, manga and hentai only lead to further sexualisation of me as a minor. When I was 15 I began to be groomed by a paedophile. He was white and he was racist. He told me he would never have kids with a non white person to “protect racial lines.

He called me his “yellow princess”. He was a big anime fan. He watched hentai, lolicon and child pornography. He discussed making me get a lolicon tattoo when I was old enough. This man groomed me and abused me until he went to prison.

I have no doubt that his obsession with hentai and lolicon played a part in my abuse. I was that fantasy. I was an Asian schoolgirl. Ahegao wasn’t popular then, but had it been I know for a fact it is a face he would have made me pull. Because it played into his desires.

So when we say ahegao is racist, that is harms us and sexualises us we don’t say it based on nothing. It based on the fact that these images harm us. The fetishisation of Asian people leads to our abuse. To our rapes. To paedophiles preying on us.”


cultural appropiation japanese women ahegao

“As a Japanese woman, yes to all of this. The assumed submissive stereotype is reinforced when you engage in cultural appropriation behaviour. Stop dehumanizing Asian women and educate yourself before participating in our oppression. And no, watching anime does not qualify you.”


In light of #stopracismagainstasians, the conversation is still going

@aliceapple ahegao

A woman with an “Only fans” page spoke about Ahegao and its implications.

Basically she’s downplaying the effects while saying “I’m still gonna do Ahegao anyway”.

A lot of the people who responded to the Tweet and shared why it’s racist… were blocked by this woman, ironically.

She even blocked the same woman who mentioned her traumatic story of being r*ped because of Ahegao and stereotypes it portrays.

ahegao tweet white woman

racism isnt a kink ahegao

kink asian tweet ahegao trauma

asian girl tweet response ahegao racism


Ahegao face in the context of racist fetishization

There’s so little information on this that it makes the conversation weaker than it should be.

Hardly anyone (in the East Asian community, especially Japan) is speaking out in mass numbers. But that’s normal because racism, fetishization, and stereotypes are kept in the dark.

People who deal with it don’t wanna feel like they’re complaining or they just think nobody gives a sh*t so why bother talking about it.

I see racism so often in the anime community. I’ve been on the receiving end and it happened this morning actually.

I’d say that may play into how few voices are saying anything about it.

What do you think? Is it legit?

I thought I’d highlight it anyway. It’s good conversation.


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Black Artist Draws Herself As Anime Girl, Gets RACIST Abuse And Is Told To “Stay Silent”

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Franco Quattrocazzi
Franco Quattrocazzi

The problem here isn’t Ahegao, but violent people being violent. Deleting Ahegao won’t solve the problem. The proof of that is in the big thread made by that girl, she said she has been molested but the rapist didn’t even ask her to do Ahegao. So she wasn’t molested because of a drawn face, she was molested because that man was an animal. Drawn women have nothing to do with actual women being raped by degenerates. If twitter was right, then there would be statistics showing how the number of sexual violence against Asian women increased as Japanese cartoons became… Read more »


This. Survivors, like all human beings, are capable of falling to the logical fallacy of correlation = causation. Just because someone was abused doesn’t make them automatically right. And using survivors stories as “evidence” to prove a point is blatant emotional manipulation (unless that point is “that guy assaulted me”, of course). Resorting to such cheap tactics is a sure sign that the argument can’t stand on it’s own merits.


According to this article it was invented by Japanese men. Y’all need to understand the difference between racism and sexism


Bro I can’t believe you cited Yi.. they has been all over the Internet kink shaming ABDL/DDLG along with Ahegao and anyone who does fictional character cosplay. Your cited source doesn’t understand much because of their own PTSD trauma and psychology is very important in this discussion because Yi is projecting. I feel for people who are forced to have to do this face but just because one racist degenerate did it when they were 15 to a toddler does not mean that everybody who participates in that face is racist. That’s like saying video games make murderers like Kyle… Read more »


This is literally the same as saying

“water is racist because white supremicists drink it”

Jfc get a grip


The term ahegao actually predates it’s use by Suehiro Maruo. It was in use in certian corners of the henati market as far back as the 1960s. So there isn’t necessarily a direct link to pedophilia or violence against women and ahegao. It’s possible that Maruo was simply using a term that was originally invented to describe adult Japanese female o-faces. That doesn’t necessarily mean that ahegao isn’t racist or sexist. It just means that if it is, it isn’t racist or sexist for that reason. Since the term was originally use by japanese men to describe japanese women, I’m… Read more »


Mmmm… This is quite the “videogames make people violent” argument.


I really think it’s not. The people who force that unto others is an idiot. It’s basically a term created/used that is already shown in real life, while doing the act.


I honestly wasn’t really into the whole ahegao thing… The first time I saw it, I thought “Well that’s new” and moved on from there. It gets annoying and weird over time the more I see it either on anime and in real life. However, it hurts a lot that people got hurt from that…


The reason it’s different from other kinks that are not inherently harmful but are often seen as such or could quickly become harmful if practiced unsafely, (like CNC or DDLG) is because ahegao is racially charged and literally popularized by actual depictions of sexual assault, not CNC. it’s associated with hentai, which depicts Asian women more often than not. And it was popularized literally because of sexual assault. No one makes that specific face naturally. In every hentai that the face is made in, it’s during a situation where unwanted sex becomes “pleasurable” and they can’t help but make it.… Read more »



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