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The Difference Between Japanese and Chinese People

I myself am Chinese and I have found that people often confuse between people of these countries so I will try my best to explain the difference.

Before I start, I would like to say that none of the things I am saying is meant to be offensive in any way. Also, the information may not be 100% accurate; it is just the way I tell the difference. Also, please comment and let me know of ways which you use to tell the difference because I’m interested to know.

I am Chinese so I grew up around Chinese people which makes it easier for me to tell the difference in the same way someone English would probably be able to tell the difference between England and German people. I admit that it is quite hard to tell the difference without hearing them speak and you can’t be right all the time but it is possible to guess correctly which nationality they are.

Here are some of the ways I use to tell the difference:

1. Skin Tone

As I said this is not always true but in general it is. Japanese people tend to have a lighter skin colour than Chinese people. The difference is subtle but I would estimate that it is true for every 5 in 4 people.

2. Eye Shape

Personally, I never really liked it when someone commented about the size and shape of eyes. However eye shapes are an important part in identifying between the two nationalities. I find that Japanese people’s eyes sometimes – but not always – angle slightly more upwards than Chinese. Likewise, some Chinese people’s eyes angle slightly downwards. This is not always the case as many have eyes which do not angle upwards or downwards but it is more likely for someone Japanese for their eyes to angle upwards and vice versa for Chinese.

I would also like to state that Chinese/ Japanese/ etc people do not always have smaller eyes but they may seem smaller because of the way their eyelids are and also the way Europeans’ eyes tend to be more deep set.

3. Hair Colour

Although most Asian people have black (very dark brown) hair, their is a difference between how dark it is. I find that in general someone who is Chinese has darker hair than someone Japanese. Though this can be unreliable as a lot of people dye their hair and it is fashionable in China to have brown highlights.

I’m not going to talk about their personalities because I believe there is no ‘typical’ Japanese or Chinese. Everyone’s personality and the way they act are different so if I tried to sum it up I would just be stereotyping. Judging whether someone is Chinese or Japanese can be hard and there’s no harm just asking the person whether they are Chinese or Japanese. It can be a lot better than just staring at the person trying to work out which race they are from!

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User Comments
  1. daijiubu

    On February 20, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    totally agree.

  2. jgvkhgrf

    On March 9, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Also the shape of the face….chinese people tend to have rounder faces

  3. Samara

    On April 15, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    Great info. I always wondered how to differentiate each one of them. It’s kind of hard sometimes! but that really helps!

  4. Hazz

    On April 28, 2009 at 9:51 am

    good article. thanks for the help =]

  5. nigel

    On May 4, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    why does it matter? does it matter what ethnicity/nationality someone is? Just writing these sorts of articles is racist. Every singly one of you should be ashamed. Why the hell does it matter if someone is Japanese or Chinese?

  6. nicole

    On May 6, 2009 at 9:52 am

    nigel theres nothing wrong with being curious

  7. emma

    On May 9, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    thanks for the tips! aces.

  8. Muff

    On May 9, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    Why do we have to debate such sensitive issues?

    - – = chinese
    / = japanese

    Great food either way! Mind the beef!!

  9. Jamesha Walker

    On May 19, 2009 at 1:21 am

    It SHOULD matter… at least to me. As a fine artist, I don’t find Japanese women’s (or men’s) eyes to be more slanted upward than those of Chinese men or women. I have met some Japanese, and find them to be far from a stereotype of their people, much less Japanese culture. I draw Japanese women, whom I find having bags under their eyes, but yet beautiful just the same. What I HATE the most is when chowder-headed jackass take Japanese people in general for their Chinese counterparts! MAN, that pisses me clean off!!
    I wouldn’t even think of doing such a stupidly perverted thing, much less even wish to “exploit” my Japanese or Chinese sisters! For pity’s sake, Japan and China have different cultures, different languages, and different media. When will people ever get it? When it’s one of their own?

  10. six gun

    On May 24, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Why is there always some PC type stating that having healthy discussion about physical differences between one group and another is racist. This is cobblers.
    I would say that the number of differences given were very tiny.

    Anyway I have just come over from Youtube – for some strange reason Youtube recommended a shed load of vid of young Japanese women. Well they were all very nice. Someone commented on Japanese being difference in appearance to Chinese and Koreans. That Japanese were aryan – rounder eye shape. Well I doubt very much the validity of this. The Oriental racial group “evolved” and are adapted to artic type weather conditions, or at least this is the theory.
    Unfortunately we get racially obsessed people going on about and this stifles interesting research into the origins, differences and such like about human kind. Different does not mean better or worse – and certainly does not automatically mean racist.

  11. ka-yan

    On June 6, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    hello =p i found ur article lol

    gd article =]

  12. Disdain

    On June 9, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    i think the writer of this article should just keep on doing what there doing. you were very sweet and apologetic about any one you may offend, and made sure to state this was your observation not something every one should believe if they did not wish to. now you all starting trouble on this nice persons page need to shut up stop make undue trouble and go away. don’t leave a comment….your behavior protests to much!

  13. IamMe

    On June 23, 2009 at 2:42 am

    I think that when you say “general” you are talking about what you see on TV. First thing, you were from China but what part? Different parts of China have different people with different traits. For example, nothern parts of China have people with lighter skin tones than southern parts of China. Since I’m from Liaoning of China, I can tell you that many of my japanese friends have darker skin tones than me, naturally. Second, there is no such thing as a “Chinese look” or a “Japanese look”. A “Chinese look” is basically stereotypical because people draw these conclusions from watching tv. The mainstream channels for the Chinese people happen to be from the southern part of China. TVB of Hong Kong is southern and their people carry more south east asian traits. TVBS of Taiwan is also southern, so their skin tone is still darker than many northerners. Therefore, there is no “chinese look”. Cantonese people of China have certain things that distinguish them from Fujianese people of China. Likewise, Liaoning people look different from Beijing people. There is no “japanese look” because japanese people are a mix of people. They can either be dark or light. Their eyes do not slant up generally. This is all stereotypical because it comes from CERTAIN celebrities that appear on television. Truthfully, the only way you can tell if someone is Japanese is by process of elimination according to the way they dress. Other than that, there is no way to differentiate between Chinese and Japanese. Here in Liaoning, many of my friends dress like the Japanese people on TV and tend to look like them about 80% of the time. Please get the facts straight before posting this because people can get offended even though you mean no offense.

  14. Hannah

    On June 27, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Wow, everyone calm down! The writer of the article obviously didnt mean to offend anyone and was only trying to help out anyone who is curious about the topic – like me. If you didnt want to read this sort of thing then why search for it in the first place? Everything written in the article was simply knowledge that the writer took time to share with other people and the writer never said that it was true for everyone or you had to believe it. Everyone has their own views and opinions and if you dont want to believe this then just stick with what you think! I personally liked this article and found it interesting to see how people tell the difference – even if you say it isn’t true. You did a good job, you should just ignore the bad comments from people who have nothing better to do than to go around criticising perfectly good articles.

  15. Eireann

    On July 3, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    I don’t find this article offensive at all – I actually find it rather interesting – but in my experience, Japanese people are usually a little darker-skinned than Chinese. But then again, I guess it depends on where you’re from, right?

  16. Harry

    On July 5, 2009 at 7:33 am

    how can you tell the difference between the features of far eastern people. can you from the features tell where they are from?

  17. wardy

    On July 17, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    i am chinese but according to yu ihave the characteristics of japanese people
    does this meen i should start eating sushi?

  18. angel

    On July 20, 2009 at 5:16 am

    what a load of bull! I am Chinese but living in Europe and I have seen many Japanese people and friends with dark skin tones. Like all yellow-skinned people, some are born darker and some are more pale. It depends on their natural skin colour and the amount of sunlight they have been exposed to. Even some white people are more pale than other whites. I would sometimes confused a HK/Taiwan/Chinese person with a Japanese person especially if he/she dresses up fully like a Japanese, as is the trend in East Asia now to follow Japanese fashion. Even Japanese people themselves do confused me with one of their own sometimes. The way I differentiate Japanese from Chinese is by their hair, which is seemingly finer and slightly more wavy than the Chinese who tend to have straighter hair, and their eyes, (many Japanese have single eyelids). But I have seen Chinese/Koreans with similar characteristics, and this is where the confusion starts. As for hair colour, Japanese and Chinese have exactly the same colour of black hair! So I do not know where you got the information that Japanese have lighter hair colour. From the media? Since I am living in London, I have seen many people from all over East Asia. Sometimes, I can tell the difference between Chinese/Japanese/Korean, but sometimes I get all confused.

  19. Lia

    On July 23, 2009 at 10:47 am

    If you don’ t have anything nice to say… don’t say it! I wouldn’t say all of this is true either but the writer did mention that and said you didn’t have to believe it, so keep your opinions to yourself.

  20. Shinzo

    On July 24, 2009 at 6:40 am

    I am Japanese , But Your Sayings Are Not True Only The Diference in Eyes So You are wrong! Usotsuki!

  21. .....

    On July 24, 2009 at 6:51 am

    alam nyo ba ang policy ng mga chinese ay:
    kapag ang nanay ay nanganak ng dalawa o tatlo isa o dalawa ang papatayin doon.. yun ang policy nila!
    kaya ang mga delata na pagkain minsan katulad ng luncheon meat minsan subukan nyo magluto ng luncheon meat, maaamoy mo parang tae ng baboy na may halo ng laman ng bata na instik… lahat ng sinasabi ko ay totoo! kung ayawa nyo maniwala bahala kayo!
    sino ba ang nagpauso ng shabu? mga instik dapat talaga hindi nayan nakakalusot ang mga instik sa bansa natin! mga bad influence sila! ito pa isa ang mga taiwanese ay ganun di ang taiwanese kasi are considered as chinese! kaya kadiri sila eaw! mas maganda japanese o koreans kaysa sa instik! mga kung anu-ano ang inimbento mga shabu! hayop kayo! mga Instik! kaya galit ang mga pilipino kadalasan ang mga pilipino sa mga intsik!!!!!
    kadiri mga sars nyo pagalingin nyo!!!!

  22. abc

    On July 30, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    I am Japanese and I also found this article interesting, but not offensive. Neither would I say that all the information given is true but i guess that just differs depending where you come from.

  23. Chrys

    On September 11, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    This is a most interesting discussion for me. I wish that it would go on forever. To me, making a generalization about a race is just
    an observation from an impression. A generalization can never
    be proved. I believe that it is the differences among us that allows
    us to have interesting lives although sometimes dangerous. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. We can all learn from each other.

  24. AfraidToSay

    On October 5, 2009 at 2:20 am

    geez you people need to do SOME research. the word \”chinese\” refers to a country of people. within the country there are ethnic groups as such: hui, mongol, han, zhang, etc. the word \”japanese\” refers to another country of people. within japan, there are other ethnic groups as such: ainu, ryukyuan, yamato, han, korean, etc. now do some research on these rather than watch so much of the media.

  25. Karla

    On October 15, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    Nigel, and everyone else that wonders why people are posting such articles or why people are inquiring:

    I came across this article from entering “differences between chinese and japanese” in my search engine. I did that because I am a ethnic diversity class and it is one of our assignments. Now it’s not about the differences in appearance but it is differences. I feel that this is a relative article when it comes to any ethnic group that are similar.
    I am Puerto Rican and I often overhear people trying to guess where I’m from or where other hispanics are from based on appearances. IT is only human and natural to be curious about someone else’s ethnic background. In the case of hispanics there is no way at all that is guaranteed to guess what country they are from. I don’t really understand the nature of this article comparing appearances of the two japanese or chinese. I guess some people just want to know. I don’t think anyone of any race looks the EXACT same. Maybe an individual here and there might look similar but not the EXACT same.


    On October 17, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    oh my god.

    @bizabeth and anybody else how believes in her crap: you must be from south china if you\’re saying that japanese have lighter skin.

    actually, even some south chinese have lighter skin that japanese. a lot of japanese people have naturally yellowy darkish skin, since they have some south east asian genes in them and ainu crap or something like that. and its fashionable for japanese to have tanned skin – so theres your argument out the window.

    also hair is untrue, since japanese people put alot of chemicals in their hair which reduces the vibrancy of the black in their hair.

    YOU GUYS are so stupid. you cant even TELL THE DIFFERENCE. NOBODY CAN you idiot stop trying to categroise them and try and make it easier.

    THE only way you can tell is by their LANGUAGE and FASHION. duh. but thats beginning to bnecome hard now because there are overlaps in their fashion sense these days. japanese dress ridiculous (white people think it looks amazing and continue to do so, whereas other asians thought it was cool at first but then realised how trashy it looked), whereas koreans know how to dress.

  27. Peace101LT

    On October 20, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    Chinese are better.

  28. someone

    On October 25, 2009 at 9:46 am

    wat bad info…:-@

  29. claire

    On November 2, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    i would just like to know the difference between chinese and japanese faces out of interest for the different people in the world, to check out whether the eyes slanting up or down had anything to do with it or whether that was just a racist myth and so that i am not ignorant.
    i think people should get to know the different people of the world and get the stupid questions out of the way so we can all move forward as a planet. well i’ve done my bit anyway and thank you for the info.

  30. Croven

    On November 3, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    Wow this is a gr8 article, it all depends on genetics and exact location, even with those everyone is different and unique :) i totally love Asia, hope someday i can afford to travel :D

  31. S Hegde

    On November 21, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    I’m sorry, but your comment about eye shape difference between Japanese and Chinese people is TOTALLY wrong.

    Japanese typical eye shape is downward pointing towards the edge of each eye. Chinese is straighter pointing (e.e. towards the top-ish part of the eye).

    This is a known genetical fact. If you can’t get that right then, I don’t see the point of reading the rest of the post (and BTW I am British, but have visited both countries on multiple occasions).

  32. Yoake

    On November 27, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    Seriously guys, come on. He wrote this to help people who want to know. Everyone is different. The Japanese and Chinese can’t be classified with the same characteristics because that’s what make them one or the other. This is not intended on offending anyone and it’s also stated that it may differ from person to person. What the statistics are. You may be the only Chinese or Japanese person with features as the opposite, it’s what the most is, not everyone. Read what’s written first.

  33. magic

    On November 28, 2009 at 2:37 am

    “NIGEL” and “SIX GUN” SHUUUUUTTT UUUPP! where can we get ride of some stupid people such as you? the writer told her/his opinion.why can’t we talk about anything because the fear of “racist” label? pick up your old and ridiculous racism card and go to your own stupid political media!!
    sorry for my nervousness.and thanks for writers (and other visitors) information. I’ve always wanted to know this affair.
    I would be thankful if you told me about differences between japanese and chinese culture and traditions.

  34. reality

    On December 11, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Japanese have lighter skin?-I’ve been in Japan for many years and I found most Japanese women wear thick make up. They like to make their skin look whiter because this is the way they think what beauty is.

    Japanese have lighter hair color?-They dye their hair. Even Japanese men do so.

  35. jelena

    On December 26, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    I\’ve found this site by typing \”the differences between J.and C. people\” because I was curious to know if there are any differences and what they are. I don\’t see why should it neccessarily be racist if you want to know. As a European, I could probably describe you what a \”typical\” citizen of each of the European countries looks like, and then go and fail to identify a person\’s origins only because it IS individual how each person looks like. Anyway, judging by these comments, I have concluded that you can\’t tell the difference more than people of white race can among themselves.

    I want to thank the writer for sharing his knowledge with us and he DID emphasise that it is all relative and only according to him. He also said that it is best to ask a person where they are from, which he himself must often do. So please stop attacking him for things he didn\’t say or mean.

  36. bubbleq

    On December 30, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    how about hair standing straight up on chinamanese;)

  37. Fujiwara Miyabi

    On January 2, 2010 at 10:36 pm


    I am from Nagoya,Japan

    you are tell wrong data about different thing

    Japanese have downward eye do not upward

    who tell you upward?

    some Chinese have lighter skin than Japanese but the Japanese have mixed red and yelow skin!

    Some Japanese have eye bag

  38. MissAnime47

    On January 9, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    first i would like to say ANIME ROXX! and i speak japanese so i know that its different from chinese but sometimes i get confused if i think i see a chinese person whos japanese or a japanese person whos reallly chinese and i could only telll them apart if they talk. i hate when my friends say japanese and chinese look the same cas they are not the same but i just dont telll i dont know the differnce either. but yea japanese and chinese people rock and so does anime! dont ever 4get that :-D

  39. Yeesh

    On January 31, 2010 at 7:35 am

    Yeesh. Chill pills all around, people.

    Discussions about race, even about physical features, are not automatically racist. There’s nothing racist about Bizabeth’s text. And she/he keeps saying that this is in GENERAL, that it doesn’t always apply. Even if she/he is wrong, it’s still not racist. Just wrong.

    People are so oversensitive. And frankly, it strikes me as a little racist to be so panicky about race in the first place. We’re all different! Why not talk about it? As long as no value judgements are made, it’s all good.

    I googled my way here because I’m writing a story with a Japanese character in it, and I needed to know whether there are any ways to tell the difference between Chinese, Japanese and Koreans just by looking at their faces. I certainly can’t, but I’m European and I have no experience trying. I thought that maybe Chinese people can spot Koreans, and the other way around.

    From this heated discussion, I’m taking that even if there maybe are some general differences, there are likely too many individuals within each group who defy those characteristics, for any reliable identification to be possible, even by people in the know. That it would be like trying to differentiate between Russians, Frenchmen and Romanians. Easy by language and culture, very, very difficult by facial features.

    Does that sound about right?

  40. Valerie

    On February 23, 2010 at 12:30 am

    I found this article quite interesting. I have always been interested in learning about the cultural traits behind ethic traits. I understand the OP is just offering her thoughts of ethic differences. Again, don’t take it personally; we know it’s not a 100% fact. I’m Hispanic under Mexican/Native American that gets mistakenly for other list of Hispanics or Europeans. I’m light skinned with light brown hair. What you think of what Mexican or Native American look like in your head, I have the opposite facial features. It’s even more interesting to hear from people saying that whites must have run in my family. Not really. Maybe but one can never be too sure.

  41. Yuki

    On March 6, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    I am Japanese and I want to tell you about the nose . Well I notice Chinese people have flat nose.

  42. Hiro

    On March 6, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    I am Japanese I can tell between Chinese people and from other part of asians.
    I do not take personal about the different about Japanese and Chinese.

  43. Saška

    On March 25, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    i for one, am fascinated with cultures on general therefore i dont think it’s ”racist” to simply be curious where someones from. people mistake me for englsih when i’m serbian (not even CLOSE to english) all the time, but i dont get offended. I may look like an english person, but i’m not, and thre’s no harm in somebody making that mistake. They’re not mind readers. The person who wrote the article simply wanted to help out those who may be having a difficult time telling the difference between japanese and chinese people. They are both beautiful people, and i see no racism in simply expanding your knowledge a little further. Some of you are a little touchy, try to be more open (:
    your article was a great help

  44. Saška

    On March 25, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    *am fascinated with cultures IN general, that was meant to say
    p.s. i speak mandarin & can write in pinyin and symbols =D

  45. Ghena

    On April 1, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    This is most certainly not racist. This person who wrote this is obviously trying to tell people out there how to recognize the different people. How would you like it if someone called you Chinese and you were Japanese?

  46. Violet

    On April 5, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    I just call them Asians….cause their from asia right? so i just call them Asians.

  47. Jim

    On April 18, 2010 at 7:02 am

    This most certainly is racist but racism is not bad. I don’t know how we got to this but recognizing a difference amongst races (but not a superiority) is not bad. Recognizing NO difference is wrong; as each race has a beautiful culture to share. I’d rather recognize these differences than pretend they don’t exists (as some PC types do). BTW: I’m white but engaged to an Ethiopian.

  48. Rachel

    On April 29, 2010 at 12:56 am

    @CHIJAKO,Japanese people are white as hell, even whiter than caucasians sometimes. U can tell cos alot of them, as well as koreans, have pink as opposed to yellow/olive undertones. Its cos they live up north where its cold and where there is little sun, same goes for northern chinese people. My Mum’s malaysian chinese and is really dark and has pretty big SEAsian style eyes, people think she’s filipino or thai at first, but she’s 100% chinese. Hokkien to be exact. I don’t think you can even compare ‘chinese’ as such to korean or japanese, cos chinese people are so diverse, China’s ALOT bigger than Korea/Japan and their people are less xenophobic, Japanese are known for their xenophobia, Chinese people have had to adapt to all sorts of environments over many thousands of years so 1 chinese person cud look completely different to another despite both being ‘chinese’.

  49. Demushkin

    On May 9, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    White people are the most diverse in terms of appearance.

  50. Charles Patel Smith

    On May 15, 2010 at 11:54 am

    My wife and youngest daughter are from central China, we live in Southern California. There is a substantial Asian population here. The visual difference between Japanese and Chinese people is quite obvious but not easily described in accurate detail. So many exceptions, when in the midst of a group it is easy to identify the origin of the people.

    As a generalization Japanese appear more western in dress and behavior.

  51. mikkydub

    On May 15, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    fantastic subject, but i thought the Japanese islands were inhabited by the chinese peoples 1000s of years back, there for looking the same, well in the same way as all nations because nobody has the same shaped eyes, face, etc. I mean many british, different shape face. Or difference between welsh and english,, anyway anynone interested in Japanese history and samurai please read SHOGUN one ace novel

  52. Akira Kimura

    On May 21, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    Everybody please calm down!! First of all,this article was created for those who are curious about something like this. This is their own idea on the differences of Japanese and the Chinese. It says that it may be wrong! This was not meant to be offensive in any way at all,and if you think this is racist then don’t look this stuff up and don’t comment. I personally think that some parts are wrong because people are different but the author tried his best. That said,I think they all look alike,but I’m not going to stare and randomly walk up to them and ask them if they are Japanese or Chinese. That would be plain out rude.

  53. Paul

    On May 22, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    “that it is true for every 5 in 4 people.”

    you totally suck at maths. :) )

    maybe it is 4 out of 5

  54. airi

    On May 28, 2010 at 1:32 am

    China is a really big country so there tends to be a big difference in facial features depending on where you are. It’s like any country; there’s no definate way to say something like ‘that’s a chinese face’ or ‘that’s a japanese face’. And the skin tone thing- it’s a matter of who likes tanning more and it just so happens to be a fad in Japan right now.
    Anyways, I don’t think that it’s important whether or not you can tell the difference between a Japanese person and a Chinese person….let’s face it, at the end of the day, 90% of people still won’t be able to tell the difference.
    Japanese, Chinese or Korean…whatever, we’re all still considered asian

  55. nigelisanidioticmoron

    On June 25, 2010 at 5:00 am

    This article isn’t racist.
    People generally become confused between Chinese,Japanese,Korean,etc,people and want to know who belongs to which nationality to clear the cofusion.

  56. Double0

    On June 26, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    It’s not racist to wonder what nationality someone is in fact I believe it is very nice to be so interested in someone that you want to be able to tell where they are from besides if you were from America and you were confused with someone from australlia how woud it fell to know that someone either couldn’t tell the difference or just didn’t care enought to? So they would probably be a little insulted if you mixed the two of them up so to those of you who think its wrong to want to know think harder aboutthe situation plz

  57. Blackgirl

    On August 16, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    There is nothing rong with being racist. I hate white people. But that’s okay. I love president obama and especially Miss Michelle. All you gooks and crackers need to eat some samiches.

  58. Slagsmålsklubben

    On September 4, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    This article is very relevant to me, as I’m studying up on Asian facial features for a comic. Thanks!

    There’s not a trace of racism in this article, look up the definition, guys.

  59. Patrick

    On September 5, 2010 at 6:21 am

    I am white Canadian of European ancestry. I think we need more Asian people in Canada and more of everyone really. It shouldn’t matter what you look like. If you are a good person, then that’s what really matters. I think white people tend to assume that everyone who looks Asian is probably Chinese. I know I’ve made the mistake. The person I assumed to be Chinese is actually from the Philippines and whom I was sure looked very much like a Chinese person I know. I felt very embarrassed at the time. I have not met very many Japanese people to know the differences. But in general, I think Asians have very interesting facial features and varying skin tones.

    On the other hand, I can never tell which country another white person even similar looking to myself is from until they speak. And unless I recognize the language, it’s still hard. I might have difficulty telling Dutch and Germans apart, or Germans and Swedes, or perhaps even Dutch and South Africans because I’m not familiar with any of those languages. Take it from me, a white person, when I say that a given white person’s country of origin can be anywhere from easy to difficult to identify as well.

  60. Karl

    On September 20, 2010 at 3:44 am

    I believe it is very nice to be so interested in someone that you want to be able to tell where they are from.

  61. eika

    On September 24, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    i am a japanese… actually japnese dont has lighter skin tone than chinese…i had been to china like beijing and shanghai..i think chinese has lighter skintone than japanese.. mainlyjapnese guy are more tan..but girls has lighter skin tone

  62. Lilme

    On October 5, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    I just came across this blog as I am trying to find for myself just what is the difference between Japanese and Chinese in terms of looks. There MUST be a certain stereotype? Because if there is, then I must fit it…
    I’ve always been mistaken for Japanese (or Korean) my whole life, whether surrounded by my own Chinese people or anyone else, strangely including Caucasians (who usu. presuppose all E.Asians to be Chinese).
    Everyone tells me I don\’t look typical Chinese, but no one can tell me exactly what the difference is…so I WANT to know.
    BTW, I have a very round face, thin lips, very pale skin, eyes that are not too small or big, nor are they slanted upwards.

  63. Jim

    On October 8, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    There is nothing racist about this. I would like to know this person. Sounds like someone I could be friends with. Each culture, Japanese/Chinese, is facinating in itself. If I identify someone as Japanese that kicks me off in a different direction. If I identify someone as Chinese, another direction. Nothing racial or derogatory about it.

  64. Celtic god man guy

    On October 11, 2010 at 3:27 am

    Ffrom my personal experience Chinese people are a lot more friendly its seems harder to talk to japanese poeple then chinese or even vietnamese for that matter

  65. Cj

    On October 11, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    The writer was not offencive, just wrong.

  66. Cj

    On October 11, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    People in Japan, like people in China, have a diverse range of skin tones. Some Japanese people are pale, some have what is described in some newspapers as ‘olive or mediterranean’ skin while some Japanese people have very very dark skin.

    People in Japan have all shapes of eyes. Some are very small and narrow, Some are hugh and round. Some are deep set and some seem like they are poping out of the person’s head.

    Noses are another area that racial theorists like to try and focus on. In Japan, supposedly the most hemogenous nation on Earth, there are all kinds of noses. From flat wide noses to massive long noses with very high bridges.

    Think about a the features of a Japanese face. Form a vivid mantal picture, better yet draw the features if you can, but be as exact as you can. Then catch the Tokyo metro for a while. If you are honest with yourself you will probably find that less than a quarter of the people you see will fit your description.

  67. macaco

    On October 13, 2010 at 10:30 am

    staring is better

  68. Kai

    On October 27, 2010 at 3:15 am

    Japanese and Chinese aren’t the same. for god’s sake I am just sick of weserners who thinks were related to each other.
    OK i agree thinking in this way is normal, because we are neighbour countries. We mixed alot of culture and stuff together, but that doesnt mean FFS that we are the same, alright…People these day’s mix alot, so its useless to say that these two people look like each other. Japanese are People from Siberia who settled to Japan, and then later created the word “Nippon (European people named it Japan. is his so hard to understand, believe what I wrote now? Same story is for Turkey, They settled from Mongolia & Siberia to Roman lands, does that mean they are white? NO! In my opinion what Turkish people said about us is right. We are Altaic people from Siberia. YAMATO is nonsense. I know my own people better that you FFS. We try to have our own culture, langauge etc. Japan tries to be unique. Thats the reason why we left Siberia to make our own country somewhere. This is the truth and you cannot change it, no matter what you do. saying that we are rootless is something that will make me laugh the whole night out of dissapointment. Westerners like you know nothing about us.
    Chinese are our enemies, we are not the same. I dont have to force you to believe this, because I dont care if you dont believe.

  69. Star

    On November 14, 2010 at 10:03 am

    1st off I want to say that you are very wrong… I feel there is no harm in wanting to know someones race… I beleive this statement makes you sound like you have some kind of personal issue.. (if i am wrong I am sorry) But i do want you to realize that not ALL people HATE!!! I LOVE all races, color, sex, orientation, etc…
    I LOVE to know differences between cultures and people in general, it is the curiousity spark in me. I myself am white with a few other nationalities in me(oh wait, that dont matter to you). But if you know the difference between a race then it may be more easier to speak to them.
    IE; For instance, lets say I walked up to someone and hadn’t heard them speak yet and decided to talk to them in there native tounge, I say Ni Hao to some Japanese person and they may feel offended, likewise if i said something Japanese to a Chinese person.. Or German to a Sweed, etc…
    Knowing the differences between cultures, I think can help you to respect there customs as well, You wouldnt want to do something extremely rude or disrespectful to someone just because it is respectful and accepted in another culture…

    Like I said earlier, I have a love for all cultures and races, people are people and just kowing what race they are doesnt make you racest, its the thoughts, actions or words you speak towards them or at them or about them is want can make you racest…

    Please be more open minded and try not to judge others on there curiousity or other until you know there motives… I myself speak a little bit of a few languages and I find when I talk to someone in there native tounge, it makes them happy, and that makes me happy. Just tryin to bring a little more love and joy into the world…

    P.s. I know I made a judgement call earlier to you about you possibly having some kind of personal issue, I do appologise, i guess i was just trying to allow you to see what it feels like when you judge someone before you know what there real motive is or whathave you… I dont beleive an eye for an eye, but I do beleive in life lesons.. maybe i didnt go about it the correct way, but it was the only thing that came to mind at the time…

    Thank you for letting me ramble on…

    (~~~~~~~ “nigel

    On May 4, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    why does it matter? does it matter what ethnicity/nationality someone is? Just writing these sorts of articles is racist. Every singly one of you should be ashamed. Why the hell does it matter if someone is Japanese or Chinese?” ~~~~~~~~)

  70. Star

    On November 14, 2010 at 10:16 am

    @ NIGEL~~~~~1st off I want to say that you are very wrong… I feel there is no harm in wanting to know someones race… I beleive this statement makes you sound like you have some kind of personal issue.. (if i am wrong I am sorry) But i do want you to realize that not ALL people HATE!!! I LOVE all races, color, sex, orientation, etc…
    I LOVE to know differences between cultures and people in general, it is the curiousity spark in me. I myself am white with a few other nationalities in me(oh wait, that dont matter to you). But if you know the difference between a race then it may be more easier to speak to them.
    IE; For instance, lets say I walked up to someone and hadn\’t heard them speak yet and decided to talk to them in there native tounge, I say Ni Hao to some Japanese person and they may feel offended, likewise if i said something Japanese to a Chinese person.. Or German to a Sweed, etc…
    Knowing the differences between cultures, I think can help you to respect there customs as well, You wouldnt want to do something extremely rude or disrespectful to someone just because it is respectful and accepted in another culture…

    Like I said earlier, I have a love for all cultures and races, people are people and just kowing what race they are doesnt make you racest, its the thoughts, actions or words you speak towards them or at them or about them is want can make you racest…

    Please be more open minded and try not to judge others on there curiousity or other until you know there motives… I myself speak a little bit of a few languages and I find when I talk to someone in there native tounge, it makes them happy, and that makes me happy. Just tryin to bring a little more love and joy into the world…

    P.s. I know I made a judgement call earlier to you about you possibly having some kind of personal issue, I do appologise, i guess i was just trying to allow you to see what it feels like when you judge someone before you know what there real motive is or whathave you… I dont beleive an eye for an eye, but I do beleive in life lesons.. maybe i didnt go about it the correct way, but it was the only thing that came to mind at the time…

    BTW, I found the entire section interesting and enlightening from all of you…
    One thing is for sure, we ARE all human and all bleed the same.. Much love to all…

    Thank you for letting me ramble on…

    (~~~~~~~ \” NIGEL
    On May 4, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    why does it matter? does it matter what ethnicity/nationality someone is? Just writing these sorts of articles is racist. Every singly one of you should be ashamed. Why the hell does it matter if someone is Japanese or Chinese?\” ~~~~~~~~)

  71. Star

    On November 14, 2010 at 10:24 am

    I appologise my post, posted twice, i was having a problem with my internet!!!

  72. maths

    On November 20, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    5 out of 4 people have diffrent skin tones.. i find this very strange.. erm 5 oout of 4 people???

  73. munini

    On December 6, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    i really dont know how to tell the diffrence between japanese and chinese when i look at them. I think its cuz i dont see them a lot. Im learning japanese so i know the difference in their languages but not the apperence.

  74. Megan

    On December 14, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Hello there,
    I found your article because I was looking into how to draw the differences between Chinese and Japanese people. I couldn’t remember which one had more of a tendency for the angle of the eyes but every time I see someone of Asian origin it is hard for me to tell exactly where they come from by looking at them. As an artist I am always looking out for subtle differences in people as a whole so that I can draw better. I just wanted to thank you for posting this. If anyone else has any suggestions for any physical traits that set any nation apart from others I would be very interested in hearing them. You can e-mail me at with the title Comic Differences, of Comic Drawings if you have helpful tips. Thanks again.

  75. Megan

    On December 14, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    P.S. I believe that the people that come up and automatically think posts like this are racist are prolly Americans, and everyone knows that Americans are very proud and stubborn people, and like to find ways to fight about stupid stuff. Note to all that I too am an American so I can say that my fellow country men tend to be rather idiotic when it comes to the subject of racial differences.
    I personally think that being different is awesome. I’m just curious about what makes us look different from an art perspective.

  76. Megan

    On December 15, 2010 at 2:01 am

    Okay so after reading this I went and looked at about 30 pics of different women of each nationality. What I noticed (not what is fact) is that as far as the eyes go the steeper angle is usually on the inner side of the eye for Chinese and the outer side of the eye for Japanese. I’ve also noted that Chinese tend to have wider noses including the bridge right between the eyes. I’ve found more Japanese with curly/wavy hair than Chinese. But as for color I’ve not found much difference. I’ve seen a lot more curves in the Chinese than I have the Japanese … leading me to believe that the Chinese have a broader bone setting than Japanese. Over all, the only way I would be able to tell who is Japanese and who is Chinese is if I had one of each standing side by side and even then it would be hard, and prolly rather akward since I would be staring at them both for a while. But my findings will help me with a random comic I’m writing, I want it’s characters to look and act realistically in case I ever publish it. I’ve been doing a lot of research on different cultures and religions and appearances for this.

  77. james

    On December 30, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    can\’t we all just ge alone…?

  78. At

    On January 20, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    I agree with Rachel. I’m half Japanese my dad is Japanese and my mom is white, but my dad is lighter than my mom. as for hair, his hair’s really dark brown but not black. japanese do have lighter skin && hair generally.

  79. Quincey

    On January 27, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Wow this is a long running dialog. So you know my perspective I have the greatest respect national pride and none for racism. I’m neither Chinese, Nippon nor any of the Eurasian / Asian races decedents nor ethic groups. Racially speaking there is no significant difference between any of Asian ethic groups. It can be nothing but raciest or nationalist to believe otherwise. If you believe that genetics is accurate then you can come to no other conclusion than that the so called Asian and so called Europeans are cousins and certainly share common ancestors. Please look at the length and breadth of Europe / Eurasia / China / Nippon and its wide range of shapes and colors before you jump to silly conclusions, Race is a sociopolitical illusion. However it is no more racist to examine the diversity of human kind than it is to wonder at the differences between yourself and your siblings. We fashion ourselves into groups to establish belonging / connection. We protect the group to maintain a sense of self. Because we are separate does not make us different. We share common superficial traits with those whom we choose to group with. The young group with the young and so on. It is stupid to believe that the Asian eyelid does not have a common source or that it truly matters what differences have been socially engineered into the two cultures under discussion. The truth is that the Nippon and Chinese peoples have built a millennia reason to mistrust each other and therefore see difference where there is no genetic reason to see a difference. As the original writer noticed, throughout the great diversity of people of china the subtle differences that he noted can be found. He was just talking in general. To me it is just another family squabble like the one between Arabs / Judea / Persians. I may be 100% wrong about the things I wrote but discussion is a good thing.

  80. bob

    On February 8, 2011 at 9:45 am

    they are both the same thing

  81. lowina ho

    On February 8, 2011 at 9:47 am

    i know a chinky called muhamed :|

  82. Sam nascimento

    On February 8, 2011 at 9:49 am

    i know, i’ve got a girlfriend who’s half jap half chinese.. one eye is pointing up the other one pointing down :/

  83. lowina ho

    On February 8, 2011 at 9:51 am

    yeah i hate it when that happens …. i have a boyfriend who is black and im asian … i like turtles

  84. lowina

    On February 8, 2011 at 9:52 am

    yeah i hate it when that happens …. i have a boyfriend who is black and im asian … i like turtles

  85. im so asian

    On February 10, 2011 at 10:14 am

    chinky people are weird they are all like asian and things….

  86. Sentis

    On February 11, 2011 at 10:24 am

    The reason it’s important, in my opinion, is ’cause I wouldn’t like to mix them up and get in awkward situation because of it.
    By the way I’m nor Jap nor Chi. And I completely agree to fact that it doesn’t matter what race or what ever people are.
    For me it’s simple. I have recently started study Japanese, so I just would like to be able recognize Japanese people from those who seems quite the same (to me). So that I’d not walk to Chinese person and try to start conversation in Japanese.

  87. K Green

    On February 15, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    I searched this topic out of simple curiosity and thank the author for her insights. I think the faces of all of us various human races are interesting and compelling and sought greater understanding of those I don’t generally encounter (and hopefully information that might help me to not unintentionally offend or feel uncomfortable for feeling ignorant). I disagree with those who see racist motive in posting about or searching for distinguishing features. It’s just simple curiosity and also I believe instinctive to try to recognize and understand facial features. Generally helps humans correctly interpret what somebody else is communicating. Thanks to the original poster for helping shed light and thanks to all who posted positive comments. : )

  88. Noam

    On February 18, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    Hmm.. I found this article very interesting. I’m an Israeli girl who’s obsessed with Asian people, and here in Israel people always think that all of the Asian people look the same way… It makes me really angry. Well, I can’t tell them all apart, but sometimes I have my own feelings. I watch Asian dramas all the time, mostly Japanese and Korean – and I’m also a fan of these two countries’ music, seeing so many of them all the time… Sometimes I can look at the person and tell whether he/she is Korean or Japanese. I’m not sure if it’s their eyes, but there’s something about it.

    Well in Israel it’s kinda easy to tell them apart… I know that saying this sounds rude and terrible, but it’s because of the jobs they get here – Thai people usually work in the fields, Chinese people usually work in building sites, Phillipino people usually work with old people…

    Anyways, gotta explore this thing!

  89. Valerie

    On February 21, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    I believe it only matters to be able to tell the difference to keep from offending someone. For example, how would you feel if you were Chinese and people called you Japanese all the time or vice versa? I am not saying that it is offensive, but you never know how one might feel. I have ran into this issue with Mexicans and Cubans. I offended a lady because I said she was Mexican but she was really from Cuba. Both countries speak Spanish and they do kinda look similar, but it was really offensive to her so it is nice to be able to know how to tell the difference. I am not racist, I would just like to not offend anyone.

  90. im so asian

    On March 1, 2011 at 7:44 am

    your all gay

  91. Lisa Nami

    On March 2, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    i think that this person tried really hard, all of you are being very ignorant and i think that you need to calm down. she was just trying and i am a asian teacher so i would know the teacher, so please children, calm down, because this girl was just trying.

  92. xizhimen

    On March 16, 2011 at 6:11 am

    i m Chinese and the only people i can tell that they are not Korean or Japanese in China are those people ,check out the their pics,they are Chinese,but like very different from other Chinese.

  93. crimsonwings

    On March 17, 2011 at 1:23 am

    i find the post helpful,it tells me what i want to know so i can draw better. thanks!

  94. hater

    On April 2, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    worst article ever really rubbish hardly that much info and probably all wrong only some japanese people have characteristics your giving people the wrong ideas between japanese people and chinese people even though its important which is which u shouldnt write about it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  95. Luckas

    On April 3, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Chinese have small dicks.

  96. Jazz

    On April 24, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    As a japanese, i can tell whether a person is japanese or chinese 3 seconds. I can just tell by the essence, attitude, behavior, and appearance. The thing i hate the most in this world is stereotypical people.
    I am not saying this for all people, but in general, the japanese culture is a lot more polite and there people are more behaved than Chinese, but it definitly depends on the person. I live in an area overpopulated with Chinese in the past 5 years, and 95% of them are rude and cluelessly loud. But I am not being racist because I have Chinese friends myself. The Japanese and Chinese cultures are completely different, event though they are right next to eachother.
    Overall, I absolutely HATE stereotypical people who think they can say things that completely false about other cultures.

  97. James

    On April 27, 2011 at 1:27 am

    Japanese people are all short and stocky

  98. hnfkdohpnfgo

    On May 5, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    lol….language? .-.

  99. black

    On May 14, 2011 at 3:35 am

    This is misleading

  100. Angel

    On June 2, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    I still cant tell the difference, and the methods described in this article arent really reliable. thats like saying theres a difference between a black person from Africa and a black person from England. I dont think there really is one other than cultural. They just come from different places, but are descendents of the same racial groups.

  101. un-known

    On June 15, 2011 at 5:54 am

    not many different but they r still yellow

  102. Man

    On July 31, 2011 at 2:44 am

    The writer is a typcal stupid and ignorant nerdy southern chinese.He used his his hometown to represents the entire China,sounds hilarious right? it is like how a Spanish trying to stereotype Europeans just based on the people of Spain.

  103. someone

    On December 16, 2011 at 1:45 am

    i hate the way some people calls this person stupid and ignorant. she is just trying to help others, even if the information is wrong. if someone helps you wrongly, would you call them stupid and dumb, or would you at least thank them for trying?

    why not just say :”your information is wrong, but thanks for trying to be helpful?” even just saying “your information is wrong” is better than calling the person an idiot for their efforts.

  104. Susan

    On January 18, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    I would simply like to comment that I thought it was very admirable that you included the statement about not being offensive to anyone and would like to know if you were. I think that shows real characteristics and I applaud you. So many people don’t even consider others feelings before they go blogging or making statements/ opinions.. Great job!!!!!

  105. David

    On March 27, 2012 at 9:27 am

    I find Japanese people to be more tanned than Chinese people, but you have a lot of Japanese who have the lightest of the lightest skin tone; then again, you have such Chinese people as well. And the eyes – Japanese people usually have bigger eyes.

    I usually notice the difference as well, and not only in language and physical feautres, but also in personality and attitude.

  106. 苺史郎

    On April 2, 2012 at 8:38 pm


  107. mike

    On April 17, 2012 at 8:02 am

    i think its the complete other way around, i come from a asian background and from my observation i have found that (some) japanese people are very dark because of the fact that they live on a island lower to the equator… also i have noticed that japanese people also have bigger eyes then most chinese people (the ones i know atleast)

    im half white and look white but i can easily tell the difference between korean, japanese, chinese and alot of different southern asians in a couple seconds… its very easy to tell.

  108. 華仔

    On April 27, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    You people do realise that there are over 50 Chinese ethnic groups, don’t you? The main one is Han, and they all don’t even look a-like.

    Han people from the Mainland look totally different than Han Chinese in Taiwan (over 90% of Taiwan’s population is Han) and also Hong Kong.

    To me; Hong Konger girls are shorter, Mainlander girls have whiter skin and much taller and to me, much prettier. And, HK people usually have the big, flat nose.
    I’m overseas Han Chinese living in HK; I also lived in Taiwan and Mainland for a while.

  109. charlemagne prokopyshyn

    On May 12, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    hi great article and great comments by everyone! im designing a logo for a chinese company and i dont want to offend them by making objects or the cartoons look too japanese so this article helps as part of my research so thank you!

  110. unknown

    On June 5, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    I just wondering why do you only use european people as an example:0

  111. Edith Hamnett

    On July 26, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    I have read with interest all the comments. I must say that I always did wonder how you could tell the difference between japanese and chinese. I conclude its culture and language so thank you all for comments.

  112. ssenkcuf

    On August 22, 2012 at 7:47 am

    hahaha….what an article a sore loser..booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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