The term is the mixture of the onomatopoetic word “aheahe” that is used to express the moaning sounds a woman does during sex, and “gao” which is the Japanese word for face.
It is said to have been used in the 1990’s to refer to the facial expressions of adult entertainment actresses in films and magazines.
The term appeared on the internet via the site 2channel and adult entertainment sites’ video descriptions.
Its popularity had spread wide during the 2000’s, largely thanks to the otaku community and by the end of the decade the first ahegao-themed comic anthology was published, with the title “A-H-E”.
The genre developed hand in hand with hentai, the extreme side of the otaku world.
The largest influence, ahegao had on the internet, came in 2017, when the meme Ahegao Fingers was created, depicting three hands with one, two and three fingers straightened and the associated reaction images, on which women are displaying more and more pleasure with the growing amount of fingers.
- Urban Dictionary – Ahegao
- Mel Magazin – What is Ahegao, the hentai face that’s suddenly everywhere