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Chuunibyou (中二病; Chūnibyō) is a derogative colloquial term in the Japanese language used to describe a person who manifests delusional behavior, particularly thinking that one has special powers that no other person has. Originally a term used to pertain to children in the second year of middle school who act like adults, the term eventually evolved into a term generally used to describe delusional behavior in general.
The term chuunibyou originated from the Japanese words 中学校二年 (chuugakkou ni-nen, lit., "second year of middle school") and 病 (byou, lit., "syndrome"), and has the base meaning of "second year middle school syndrome".
Hikaru Ijuin (Twitter: @hikaruijuin) is considered to be the man who first used the term "chuunibyou". In the November 1999 episode of his radio program Hikaru Ijuin's UP'S, he stated that "I'm still contracting 'chuunibyou myself". He later opened a portion on his show, called "Am I sick? Oh, it's just Chuunibyou.", which reads "cases" of people manifesting chuunibyou.
Ijuin's defined the word "chuunibyou" as "the things people normally do during their 2nd year in middle school". The term quickly gained fame in Internet communities and many versions of the term evolved from the original, including "kounibyou" (高二病, lit., "second year high school syndrome") and "shounibyou" (小二病, lit., "second year elementary school syndrome"). These terms became memes as well as the original. Ijuin would later post in Twitter his loss of interest in the term: "I have no interest in this word anymore because it has lost its original meaning from when I first described it."
Types of Chuunibyou
The Chuunibyou User Manual lists down four types of chuunibyou. These are the following:
- DQN (DQN系, dokyun-kei) - Pretends to be anti-social or acts like a delinquent when in fact he or she is not or cannot become like either one. Tells made up stories about gang fights or crimes, or boasts and pretends to know about that subculture. "DQN" is slang for "antisocial person" or "annoying delinquent".
- Subcultural/Hipster (サブカル系, sabukaru-kei) - Often avoids everything mainstream and has a heavy preference to "things that few people like" and establishes themselves as being special. People of this type do not really love the subculture itself but rather strive to obtain the "cool" factor by not having the same interests as others.
- Evil Eye (邪気眼系, jakigan-kei) - Admires mystical powers and thinks that he or she has a hidden power within them as well. It is this trait that they create an alias specifically for said power. This is also known as the delusional type. (See: Chūnibyō demo Koi ga Shitai)
- Denpa/denpa-kei - For individuals who are disconnected or dissociated from the people around them. (See: Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko)
The explanation behind the chuunibyou mentality stems from the admiration of popular people or culture that the person desires, which causes the person to take on particular traits from them (fashion, physical traits, personality, etc.), which in psychology is called as identification. In the case of chuunibyou, the person may derive one's traits from video game, manga or anime characters, but isn't exclusive to them.
- Entry on "chuunibyou" on Pixiv Encyclopedia. Accessed October 13, 2012.
- ちゅうにびょう (or chūnibyō) at Wiktionary