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Chinese vs. Japanese

Tell the difference between Japanese and Chinese people.

” target=”_self”>In this article I will tell you the differences between Japanese and Chinese people.

I can tell if somebody is Chinese or Japanese. however I’ve noticed that for most people, they find it hard to distinguish this difference. It may be that I am full Chinese (Cantonese) therefore i can tell easily, but I’ve only lived in England however i watch TVB (Chinese channel). In the town I live, i know about 100 Chinese people (Cantonese and Mandarin), a few Japanese and little Korean. Many people get Japanese, Chinese and Korean people mixed up. If a group of us go out, people normally assume that we are all the same race.

Note: This article is not meant to offensive.

These are some features that you may notice. It doesn’t apply for everybody as every-body’s different due to their genes and inheritance but the people i know mainly have these features.

Face

A physical feature is that Chinese have wider cheek bones than Japanese therefore have a rounder face and Japanese have a longer face. This is true for 98 out of the 100 Chinese people I know. Nose

A very easy way to tell is the height of the nose. The Japanese have a sharper nose than the Chinese.

Skin

Japanese also are more like a wheat colour for complexion. People who were not born in Asia, they have lighter skin and can get tans. I have very light skin.

Eyes

Both Chinese and Japanese people have dark brown eyes. Chinese eyes go up a little more then Japanese but you can’t really tell. Most Japanese people seem to have wider eyes than Chinese. Its hard to tell from the eyes as mostly every-body’s eyes are different.

Hair

Both Chinese and Japanese have black hair. Some have very dark brown hair like me. These days many like getting highlights so its not best to rely on hair colour. Some dye their hair a lot too.

Photos

Test yourself: look at these photos, after reading these features, can you tell which one is Chinese or Japanese?

PHOTO A:

Chinese Girl Face

PHOTO B:

Japanese Girl Face

These photos are probably not the best to show but i couldn’t find any other better photos. You should be able to know as the photos differ. (Answers are at the bottom)

Language

If your still not sure how to tell, you can tell by their accents. I can tell easily by how they talk, i don’t even need to see how they look like. I know if they speak their native language. But if you don’t understand any of those languages, Japanese is something that Americans can usually pronounce, while Cantonese (type of Chinese) is much more like a goose talking. Most Chinese people have the “Chinese” accent, if you hear them speaking their native language, you should hear them saying ”ah” “lah” “gah” at the end of their sentences. Some who are very “Asian” even say it while speaking English. However many brought up in another country, don’t have this accent.

To be 100% sure, just ask them, however some people can get offended if you guess wrong. For me, I don’t but i do get annoyed if people keep asking me over and over again especially if its the same person as they forget. A few of my friends do that…

Answers: Photo A is Chinese. Photo B is Japanese.

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User Comments
  1. Xue Fulan

    On December 27, 2009 at 1:05 am


    I am replying to the writer of the article written above. The article written above are biased. You are considering yourself as a Cantonese (your ancestor root) as a generalization of the whole lot of Chinese people (I mean mainland China) appearance. You were raised abroad mixing merely with the oversea Chinese dominated by Cantonese and Hokkienes. You are not in China therefore you know only biased understanding on comparative facial appearance. Actually Cantonese and the bunch of Southern Chinese people looks different from Northern Chinese. Southern Chinese especially the Cantonese and Hokkiens looks like the Southern Chinese minorities especially the Zhuang, Hani, Tai, She, Vietnamese and the Taiwanese Aborigines. Furthermore the genetics of haplogroup O2a dominate the Southern Han Chinese and their minorites. Where else Northern Chinese looks like the Northern Chinese minorities ex. Manchus, Tungusic people, mongolians and Koreans plus Japanese. Northern Chinese looks more similar to the Northern ethnic around them due to genetic affiliation (haplogroup O2b) where else If the Northern Chinese, and Japanese use the same cosmetic plus similar diet, it is impossible to differentiate both of them using an unbiased observation. Where else if you take a normal sampling between Northern and Southern Chinese you could find a significant difference between both society no matter what-so-ever similarity of cosmetic and diet used between them. The fact is the basic shape of the skull of both society descendant between Northern Far East and Southern Far East region differ due to genetic factor. To make the story short, Han Chinese themselves are not homogenous genetically and they differ in phenotype as well. Chinese people was developed and expanded throughout the history by taking other ethnic (of the Far East region and Central Asian) to assimilate into their Chinese Culture and become part of the Hans. Geographic and regionalism characteristic of the society is the natural barrier in the past that confine the pools of genetic to their respective region. Anyhow the girl in photo A looks like a Japanese friend of mine from Ryuku Island and photo B looks like my wife from Liaoning Province of China and her looks is typical among Northern Chinese, at least not among Cantonese.

  2. Mayumi

    On October 29, 2010 at 1:11 am


    Hee, very interesting article :)
    I am Japanese myself, and I also grew up in England.
    I agrre with your point. I was quite confident in differentiating chinese and Japanese until I found out that I got the test wrong!
    I thought picture A was Japanese :S
    The girl in picture B looked Chinese to me.
    If I can\’t tell, then it would be almost impossible for western ppl to tell…you might wanna pick better pictures :)

    I think you can also tell by what they\’re wearing and their movement as well. I think most Japanese people have a certain way of walking, sometimes I can tell they are Japanese from behind, just by looking at how they walk.

    Anyway, I will shut up now. Nice article. Thumbs up.

  3. Aiman

    On October 31, 2010 at 5:20 am


    I think the answer is A is Japanese

    and B is Chinese

  4. Derek

    On March 2, 2012 at 9:14 pm


    Im a white American. i can tell who’s Japanese and who’s Chinese id say 85-90% of the time. im not sure how, i just seem to know. lol wondered if i was Chinese in a past life. anyways, before i thought i could tell from faces. now i wonder if i just guess from fashion and movement after failing the pic test. pic A looks soooo typical Japanese to me. but to be honest, so did pic b. one thing that for me makes it easier is makeup. Chinese wear much less. Also, generally speaking, Chinese seem to be a slight bit darker toned skin. though i failed the test, i can boast that i can tell both Japanese n Chinese apart from African Americans with 100% accuracy!!!!!

  5. DerekHolmes---Michigan

    On March 2, 2012 at 9:18 pm


    Im a white American. i can tell who’s Japanese and who’s Chinese id say 85-90% of the time. im not sure how, i just seem to know. lol wondered if i was Chinese in a past life. anyways, before i thought i could tell from faces. now i wonder if i just guess from fashion and movement after failing the pic test. pic A looks soooo typical Japanese to me. but to be honest, so did pic b. one thing that for me makes it easier is makeup. Chinese wear much less. Also, generally speaking, Chinese seem to be a slight bit darker toned skin. though i failed the test, i can boast that i can tell both Japanese n Chinese apart from African Americans with 100% accuracy!!!!!

  6. DerekHolmes---Michigan

    On March 2, 2012 at 9:18 pm


    Im a white American. i can tell who’s Japanese and who’s Chinese id say 85-90% of the time. im not sure how, i just seem to know. lol wondered if i was Chinese in a past life. anyways, before i thought i could tell from faces. now i wonder if i just guess from fashion and movement after failing the pic test. pic A looks soooo typical Japanese to me. but to be honest, so did pic b. one thing that for me makes it easier is makeup. Chinese wear much less. Also, generally speaking, Chinese seem to be a slight bit darker toned skin. though i failed the test, i can boast that i can tell both Japanese n Chinese apart from African Americans with 100% accuracy!!!!!

  7. Jenny Kang

    On March 25, 2012 at 3:54 am


    MOst of the japanese I known have very slanted eyes. Many don’t even have much eyes. It is a small slit opening with no eyelid creases, big round faces and short limbs. I seen Japanese in all different shades. You people need to remember being japanese is a nationality and not an ethnicity. With Japan the mixture of people are different. You can see japanese looking very southeast asian with dark tan skin and round eyes too. They maybe the ainu stock. Look at the royal family members of Japan. The only one that doesn’t have ugly eyes is the princess. I forgot her name. She is the one that can speak many lanaguages and I think she is marry to the oldest prince. I think her name princess marsuko or something like that. The princes and his mom have very typical small japanse eyes. Anyway the small eyes can be in any asian race. In the case of China since it is so freaking big, there is 1.3 billon nationals, so you will see more abundant small eyes cuz they are not all the same people Northern chinese usally have small eyes with no eyelid creases and theylook like koreanic and japonic people.

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