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“Why Do Anime Characters Look White?”


A discussion of why anime characters “look white,” arguing that it is in fact whites rather than Japanese who see them as white, has found its way back to Japan and prompted much debate amongst the Japanese themselves.

The original piece, published in English and arguing that it is all a matter of perception:

Why do the Japanese draw themselves as white? You see that especially in manga and anime.

As it turns out, that is an American opinion, not a Japanese one. The Japanese see anime characters as being Japanese. It is Americans who think they are white. Why? Because to them white is the Default Human Being.


If I draw a stick figure, most Americans will assume that it is a white man. Because to them that is the Default Human Being. For them to think it is a woman I have to add a dress or long hair; for Asian, I have to add slanted eyes; for black, I add kinky hair or brown skin. Etc.

The Other has to be marked. If there are no stereotyped markings of otherness, then white is assumed.

Americans apply this thinking to Japanese drawings. But to the Japanese the Default Human Being is Japanese! So they feel no need to make their characters “look Asian”. They just have to make them look like people and everyone in Japan will assume they are Japanese – no matter how improbable their physical appearance.

You see the same thing in America: After all, why do people think Marge Simpson is white? Look at her skin: it is yellow. Look at her hair: it is a blue Afro. But the Default Human Being thing is so strong that lacking other clear, stereotyped signs of being either black or Asian she defaults to white.


When you think about it there is nothing particularly white about how anime characters look:

huge round eyes – no one looks like that, not even white people (even though that style of drawing eyes does go back to Betty Boop).
yellow hair – but they also have blue hair and green hair and all the rest. Therefore hair colour is not about being true to life.
small noses – compared to the rest of the world whites have long noses that stick out.
white skin – but many Japanese have skin just as pale and white as most White Americans.

Besides, that is not how the Japanese draw white or even Chinese people. The otherness of foreigners is clearly marked by physical stereotypes – just as Americans do with people of colour. In anime White Americans are stereotyped as having yellow hair, blue eyes and a long or big nose:


Gone are the big round eyes and the strange hair colours. Because those things have nothing to do with whiteness.

Note that the Japanese drop the markings of otherness if the action is set in a foreign land, like China or America. In that case the characters are drawn in the regular anime style. Because for that story the Default Human Being is understood.

Some Americans, even some scholars, will argue against this view of anime. They want to think the Japanese worship America or worship whiteness and use anime to prove it. But they seem to be driven more by their own racism and nationalism than anything else.

It is indeed notable how many western theories of Japanese self-perception prefer to see colourful anime characters as a sign of the Japanese aping their American betters.

On the other hand, surgical procedures to create non-Asian looking “double eyelids” are highly popular throughout East Asia, and seem to suggest the impact of western ideals of beauty on the Japanese are not quite so easily dismissed as mere Yankee presumptuousness.

Naturally, 2ch has something to say about all this, particularly as it gives them a cherished opportunity to rubbish Americans:

It’s because it looks cool!

Their skin is just because they aren’t using any colouring or toning.

It’s because they are recognising the beauty of blonde hair and blue eyes.

Because if they were drawn by westerners even a 12-year-old would come out looking macho!

Those damn foreigners love fussing over this stuff, don’t they? Who cares about race or whatever, it’s anime.

I get the impression keeping things simple like that helps when exporting to the states…

But there aren’t any of those crew-cut beefcakes Americans love?

They look western? I think the style looks to be uniquely Japanese…

I live in Canada – what the Canadians are always asking me is why anime characters have no noses?

It looks pretty bad with too much nose detail – normally they just leave a shadow underneath.

What do they want? Bucktoothed bespectacled Japanese with glasses?

Westerners who come out in anime always look totally different to the main characters, don’t they?

Were there westerners with pink and green hair now?

The video version:

That video says it all…

Anime characters don’t look like any real race. Anyone with eyes that big is an alien for sure…

I think the men are done in western style (with narrow faces and deeply pronounced features) whilst the women are Asian (round faces and shallow features).

But aren’t they just emphasising the differences between the sexes?

The “pale skin” Japanese like is “the pale skin of Japanese,” not the pales skin of whites.

Who cares whether they’re white or black, it doesn’t matter. But it really is rather characteristic of Japanese manga and games to insist on trotting out an obviously Japanese guy with a katana into an otherwise fantastic setting…

Yanks going on about race need to go and look at Strike Witches – the Japanese are all flat-chested little weasels.

Japanese don’t care about race like that – if it were American you’d have to include a bunch of different races or be accused of discrimination. Those guys are the ones who are abnormal.

There are a lot of titles with obvious western settings and obviously western characters, but there are also lots with Japanese settings and characters.

Honestly, those guys think too highly of themselves! I don’t see any anime full of fat people!

What they mean to say is that anime characters don’t look like how they think Asians should look.

I’d understand if they were talking about games – you hardly see any Japanese names there.

To think they look white just shows the conceitedness of westerners.

Beauty = white people. So inevitably manga full of beautiful people have to be full of white looking people. In the end they end up full of Japanese who don’t look Japanese.

Most Japanese do believe in the superiority of the west. They masochistically think Japanese things are ugly in comparison.

How presumptuous of them to say they look like whites!

It’s just so you can easily tell characters apart. Don’t think about it too hard.

Leave a Comment


  • That video is full of bs. Without implying any sort of desire, anime characters generally look white. Japanese people bleaching/dying hair various shades of brown/blonde etc, getting eyelid surgery = features owned by whites = trying to look white. Green hair, blue hair, whatever, black is not a colour. So there are asians with wide eyes and whites with less, but you must look at the mass majority.

    But it doesn’t really matter. Japanese that draw anime-style characters aren’t trying to make them look white. However, they do end up looking more white than Japanese based on primary features. The end.

  • I don’t get what the fuss and butthurt is about. I have never once saw anime characters from Japanese anime as “white”. If they have Japanese names, then that is what they are, Japanese. It doesn’t matter if Usagi Tsukino or Minako Aino (Sailor Moon) appear as white girls with very long blonde hair and blue eyes. If they have Japanese names, then that is what they are-Japanese. Who cares about skin and hair colors of anime characters? I never give it any attention, nor do I mind and neither should anyone else. Japanese anime has foreign characters of all skin tones and nationalities (yes, Blacks, too) and there’s nothing wrong with it. I agree with what the 2chers say. It is just anime. Get the fuck over it FFS.

  • So…The point is basically that everyone is racist, even in Anime? Big discovery.

    We can’t help the labels we put on others or the way we interpret things — that’s basically how we’re raised.

    Classic example? Read about “Knight Siggy” in Dominic Deegan.

  • This is due to problems with japan, about xenophobia, it’s very clear that Japan is a country as well as many others: racist. And this is reflected in many aspects of everyday life, how many black characters with a starring role, is in some manga? none, how many Latinos, are with important roles in some manga? none, they are all white characters with significant roles, Latinos, blacks have only minor roles funny or pathetic.

  • Attack of the weeaboos trying to defend Japan even though they are not Japanese and/or live in Japan.
    The anime characters look white to me because
    1. The majority of asians do not have big round eyes
    2. The most common surgery in Asia is “fixing the eyes”
    3. Most Japanese women don’t have Cs or Ds as breast sizes( The Idols or JAV don’t count because the majority have surgery to get their breast that big)
    4.Look at how the asians/japanese drew themselves in the past(There eyes were not big and round)
    5.Anime was copied from American cartoons(If there were no cartoons there would be no anime)
    6.Ask anybody who does not watch anime and show them a picture of an anime character.99% percent of the time they will say the character is white unless the character has a different color skin.

    Notice that I did not mention about hair color and eye color. Any race can have multiple hair and eye colors.

  • It’s really a stylistic thing. Take how various artists portray the same character archetype, and you see the point. Some would go for large, rounded eyes, and think that’s the cutest thing ever. Others go for a more Asian-appearing slanted eye, and that comes off as just as attractive.

    Irrespective of setting, which would override your sense of “These characters are from X”, It varies so wildly from one person to the next, that unless you’re portraying some well known stereotype, people will typically default them to their own race. Why? Because people RELATE to the characters in a story. Regardless of where the character hails from, if we’re watching a story, we want to relate to the characters in it, and in that way be a part of the story.

    If you watch a live-action movie, do you make a particular point of the race of the main character? Unless it’s an integral element to the story, it will dissipate in people’s minds as they connect to the character.

    It’s much in the same sense that if you didn’t know someone who was white, asian, or whatever race, and met someone of that group, it would stick out as a detail to you. After knowing them for some time, that detail begins to fade. Sure, you’re aware of it, but it no longer matters, because you’ve connected to that person.

    And so, why should the race of the characters matter in any program you’re watching?

  • It has always amused me that people think anime characters look white … … Anime characters have Asian features the big eyes and small noses is just to be “cute”… Anime heads are blocky.. broad and flat check out profile views of Asians … then look at Anime chars .. its fairly obvious.

  • Anonymous says:

    I’d like to say that not all artists make Caucasian people have prominent features, a lot of the time its for comedy. A lot of the time, characters are asian. But look at series like Full Metal Alchemist and GOSICK. They are obviously not Japanese because they take place in fictional countries somewhere in Europe (well except the main guy in GOSICK since it clearly says he’s japanese ;P) It really doesn’t matter, depends on the story.

    So yeah. They don’y ALWAYS draw foreigners weird, and they’re just supposed to be people in the end anyways

  • Anonymous says:

    yeah, im asian and anime characters have always looked white to me. there were exceptions when the eyes were drawn more squinty and the hair was black.

    plus most of my friends are white, the reason someone would say that an anime-drawn character looked asian was because anime to them is synonymous with asians!

    and white people don’t usually love anime…

  • This article especially pisses me off. Not everyone is an utter and complete dumbass. Don’t just group everyone in the U.S. together because not all of us are idiots. And also I want you to show me an Asian with DD Tits, Cause I’ve never seen any, average breast size in Japan: B average breast size in U.S.: C, average breast size in anime… DDD. Hmm someth8ing doesn’t quite add up does it? let’s try it another way. Average Height in Japan: 5’6″ Average Height in U.S.: 6′ Average height in Anime:(difficult to tell… but) also about 6’Oh! Let’s do one more! Average Hair Color in Japan:Brown/dark average in U.S.: Brown. Average color in Anime: Rainbow(all kinds) So It seems Japanese model anime characters after whites after all, but the moral of the story is that anime characters look the way they do because A:The Japanese WISH they had bigger breasts, and they even like them, the bigger they are. B:The Japanese are short, Wish they were taller, so they make their anime characters what they prefer in their respective male/female tastes. I don’t think anime was made after whites specifically. I believe anime character female ones, are made to please the men of Japan and the male ones, The Women of japan, or any other combination. But don’t go saying that every American is racist, Cause we’re not. And don’t make it like we seem stupid either, Cause we’re definitely not all stupid.

  • Anonymous says:

    This is the most obvious article ever. Though I can see why a lot of us westerners see this, though I don’t really, it’s because they don’t realistically look Asian either. There are Asians with non-anime shaped faces and westerners with anime-shaped faces. The video is cheating a little because the female they took had high cheek bones, maybe of scandinavian ancestry. No one ever thought anime looked Scandinavian. So it really looks like a race all on it’s own, wait -no, correction… a species all on it’s own. Sometimes it looks more asian and sometimes more western. Only someone with a bias would blame either side. And, admit it, Ryu does look western. Ryu has more muscle than the guy he was based on (who also has a non-anime shaped face) and muscle is the Asian stereotype for westerners. I could write a whole book about this. Just know that I would consider you an idiot to blame either side. But as usual 2ch, like 4chan, is racist, stubborn and biased. A bunch o’ trolls that don’t represent Japan in any way.

  • Our best conclusion is to say that the Japanese have an inferiority complex about their real-life looks and secretly wish to blend in with their western neighbors. I also think that they wish to separate themselves from their other Asian neighbors as well. Anyone who’s been on Sankaku for a long time knows the insane hostilities towards each other.

    • Have you even met a Japanese person? =___=
      If you ask me, they’re actually very proud of their culture. I once met this racist cashier during a vacation to Japan. Westerners in anime are heavily stereotypicalized and exaggerated(see David Rice in Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro).

  • Now this is just ridiculous, I mean wtf? it’s obvious that the whites are being racist and trolls once again…

    They think again the ‘aris race = white skin’ only belongs to euro and americans, and all other are either black or dark brown.

    Sigh the whites are still RACIST, and WILL ALWAYS be racist!

  • Look at Japanese art from any previous period – from the Buddha figures of Tori Busshi thru ukiyo-e woodblock prints, and you’ll see that the figures were depicted with Japanese features. Anime characters are clearly NOT “default human beings” – they are Caucasian.

    • Uhhh, no. Just…no.
      Many of them are clearly not Caucasian. If you take a look at the setting, the names, even extra info like favorite foods, you’ll see that there are plenty that relate and imply the race of the characters.

      Your logic is basically the same thing as Caucasians depicting themselves in cartoons as having heads as large as their bodies.

      Also, people’s opinions on beauty change over time. In the past, pale was popular all around the world(includes Caucasians). But now Caucasians favor tanned skin. Maybe people in ancient Japan favored small slanted eyes. Style and fashion and aesthetics will surely change as time goes by.

      Although I may be the stereotypical asian (pale, slanted eyes, small figure. I’m Chinese FYI.), I do have a friend who is Japanese with very large round eyes and very anime-like features.

      Despite this, anime characters in general aren’t very defined in general, so a anime character that was deliberately made Caucasian(ex:Lelouch from Code Geass) could look the same as an anime character who is asian(ex:Kagura from Code Geass).

      Overall, since this is such a debatable subject, I would just base the ethnicity on info the mangaka gives.

  • I am Japanese.
    The American and the European are fundamentally misunderstanding it.

    The Japanese is a mixed blood at Jomon (inborn double) and Yayoi (race of single that came from Korea).
    The Japanese doesn’t have diagonal eyes. Please come to Japan if you think that it is a lie.
    It is Mongol and South Korean that has diagonal eyes.

    Japanese and Chinese’s one person in two people are naturally double.
    I am also naturally double. This is free true.
    Please look at the photograph in Togo Heihachiro and Saigo takamori with wikipedia. Yukio Hatoyama, Taro Aso, and Mao Zedong.
    If they are not the diagonal, they are not single either.

    The German made a mistake in me in Germany.
    “You are not east Asian and you look like the Italian. ”
    It is because of the reason nosey, double, and black hair. It is foolish.

    It is true that there is a Japanese who undergoes plastic operation on its eyelid.
    They have the complex for not Caucasian but a double Japanese.
    It is also true that sense of values was changed to the “West” in the 20th century. Therefore, it came to be assumed that double was beautiful.

    However, the ordinary Japanese and Chinese hardly undergo plastic operation. 95% of the population is not undergone on plastic operation.
    Still, there is a lot of double men. It is because of naturally double and ox-eyed.

    However, a lot of South Koreans seem to undergo plastic operation.
    Mongol and the South Korean seem certainly to have a lot of people of single.

    In a word, the American and the European are to be poisoned in racial discrimination Hollywood.
    It is only Ken Watanabe that “Japanese actor” was appointed to a Japanese post in Hollywood.

    I’m sorry in poor English.
    As for these sentences, I want you to diffuse.
    We will wait for the answer of Caucasian.

  • “Honestly, those guys think too highly of themselves! I don’t see any anime full of fat people!”

    “Fuck, I missed Real Drive.”

    And to hell with those stereotypes. The “fat Yanks” shtick is just because of everyone else relying too much on the deeply flawed BMI scale (where a bodybuilder with a figure like a Greek marble statue registers as “fat and unhealthy”).

    Besides, if there is such a weight issue, it’s more of a prosperity issue than anything. Good-tasting food is easy to get in plentiful amounts for low prices in the States. Skinny fuckers are jealous.

  • i think they look white, not American, or Canadian, or British, just their skin color is very similar to a white piece of paper, therefore they are white, unless they mention it in the anime itself i don’t think of where it is taking place, just some ambiguous non existent land where the are some people with whitish skin and large eyes

  • Wow, I can’t believe this is even a issue. It’s anime. I’m a white, average height, average build, U.S. citizen and the only time I have even thought about race in anime, is when it is pointedly obvious to the storyline. When my daughter was little she asked me,”Is Mr. Popo (Dragonball) human?”. I told her that it wasn’t made clear, that I had wondered the same thing. See we weren’t wondering about his color, we wondered about whether he was from another planet like most of the other characters, lol. With anime, race or nationality is only as important as the story being told.
    As far as the default human, the whole reasoning behind this argument is silly. The default human for almost everyone is usually whoever raised you. For me that was a white family and extended family of multiple races and multiple combinations of races. I grew up feeling like I belonged with everybody. Admittedly most of my family were lighter skinned. regardless of race, but no one cared who looked like who.
    I guess my whole point is that the people who make a big deal out of these things are usually just looking for a place to belong, like family or community. Some people see white, some asian, some foreign, and some like me who just don’t care. I really don’t see what it matters, as long as there is no hate involved or misconceptions don’t get in the way of the storyline. If we identify with characters, what does it matter how?
    I think this whole thing is just unnecessary,anime belongs to everybody!

  • I’m a white (and to add to that, almost-blond with blue eyes…) yet my skin is darker than most anime characters and I always thought about those as japanese. Well, there are exceptions like e.g. Lupin III who looks like westerner to me, but in general I mostly share the views presented in the posted video. IMHO all the people who see anime characters as caucasian are either blind or closet racists.

  • I like how they make everyone look on anime if it were up to us americans they would draw a mixture of a indian(native american) with mochasins and a tomahawk with a fro and big lips and just all these other shit in anime tan skin and white or purple hair sounds cool haha

  • It’s all about ethnocentrism. People tend to view the world in regards to their own culture. The thing about anime is that because the characters are so stylized, it’s easy to interpret the characters to be what the viewer considers the default race in their own mind. Their own.

  • This is a topic i find most interesting. Being african american i understand some of the bias ideas behind depicting art in the form of those a little less understood.Some images of blacks seem to be based on old timey characture-like images ( think mr. popo or the dude hangin around in Darker Than Black) of what blacks are suppose to look like but, usually don’t have an acurate look,if you’ve actually ever seen a black person.But the personality types of such characters don’t seem to emulate stereotypes behavior.So I wonder, if the fictional character acts realistic, why does what it looks like make people so defensive? In deed, I would think it sort of funny if people looked at a character with purple skin and said “Is this a black guy/chick??They don’t sound Ghetto at all…maybe it’s(‘insert your nationality here’).”

  • meh. I always saw anime characters… mainly just anime characters.

    for the characters in animu in school settings/things that *are* japan, then they…are…well…japanese to me.

    either way in my opinion. it’s a fucking anime character. I don’t see them as anything else

  • The fact of the matter is, they do look white. Their skin is white (well white compared to Asian skin). Yes you do get some white Japanese, but that is because they have bleached or lightened it in some way to make it more white.
    You cannot deny that they try to make the skin look white. As for the reason, ask any Japanese. They say ‘it looks more beautiful’. They’re the ones wanting to look white, not us white ppl being haughty about our own race.
    Besides I am white and I wish I were able to have darker skin.

    • 150 years of insisting they aren’t little yellow/brown people and therefore shouldn’t be beaten, enslaved and pillaged by the Royal Navy, British East-India Company, and all the rest of their friendly neighbours.

  • Amazingly enough, most of the 2ch comments were pretty decent. It’s not odd to associate something you see with yourself, especially when it’s as undistinguished as anime. The real question would be “why do so many anime characters not look like they have any ethnicity?” And Marge is white because of how she acts.

  • “If it were American you’d have to include a bunch of different races or be accused of discrimination. Those guys are the ones who are abnormal.”

    This is only half right. America actually is abnormal with it’s diversity, but they include lots of races to portray that, and sometimes they have to even bend over backwards when different races of Americans complain about not getting portrayed well enough.

  • Watch it you guys when blaming amerikkans for ignorance…there are few here to vote your comment down, because of their hurt pride.

    I mean, it’s quite shocking news to suddenly learn that you’re not a inspiration material for anime character :O

  • OK. All this I can understand. No problem. Differences in culture and the like. One question though, why is it that when a character is intentionally non-Japanese, but also not of east Asian decent, they have blond hair and blue eyes most of the time? Like Ana Coppola or Quatre from Gundam Wing. Isn’t Quatre supposed to be Arab, by the way? I also find it interesting that Duo, the American, isn’t blond and blue in spite of that trend.

  • I always thought they looked white too. to me, its just the eyes. Hair colors are also different colored among the white people.

    Anyway, its always like this in some US toon where an asian is among a group of american characters (like in the Simpsons, Family GUy, etc) where their eyes are round circles, but asians’ eyes are somewhat horizontal-oval shaped.

    Anyways, i stil believe they look white. It just never bothered me.

  • Characters with brown, yellow or orange hair are white. Characters with black, blue, purple or red hair are asian. Green and pink are neither.

    Azu-nyan: asian (slanted eyes, black hair).
    Mio: asian (straight black hair, pale skin).
    Yui, Ritsu: white (brown hair). <- _This_ is the reason for the debate.
    Mugi: white (blonde, curvy hair).

    Did you notice that K-On has all natural hair colours?

  • “Japanese don’t care about race like that – if it were American you’d have to include a bunch of different races or be accused of discrimination. Those guys are the ones who are abnormal.”

    You DO have to include a bunch of different races. America has a lot of different races in its population so it’d be weird for a story taking place in America to have only white people.

    Plus there has to be a black guy who dies first. Its a rule.

  • I don’t fuss over race, it’s just those silly Americans. (Not Japanese or Asian) All Americans ever seem to care about is race. I also hate that whole over the top beefcake shit but I don’t really see it that much these days.

  • I can only laugh that after all of this there are still people blindly believing that anime characters are based of Caucasians, or Americans to be more precise at times.
    And what’s more, trying to prove so…
    Well…I guess there is a ton of people that love to have own ego tickled (including me)
    But still…I’m not so self-centered to believe that rest of the world should adore and worship me.

    Aside of that, there’s nothing more to see here, move along.

  • lol, You can’t show me a stick figure and ask me if it’s white or whatever. The problem here is cultural differences. I can excuse variety in hair color most of the time but when I see blond hair and blue eyes the first thing to come to mind isn’t “yeah this person Japanese” at least not in the more realistically drawn cartoons. Above all else, what I want to know is why anime keeps screwing up black people? I know this isn’t always the case but seriously. Why?

  • -No matter what they say, the characters in Anime and manga are more like Westerners.

    -The simpson is not anime and Marge Simpson is white cuz the yellow is the replacement for white.
    There are African American characters (the skin is brown). FAIL AT LOGIC 2CH!.

    -If a white girl use pink in her hair is more like the anime character OF PINK HAIR.

    -About the eye color of the anime characters:
    read and cry Asians.

    -We (the Westerners) have conquered your perception of beauty since long time ago. but japanese people can always dream of being Westerner in their animes and mangas.
    Do not make stupid topics to try to get away from reality. Reality is in front of you when you look at the mirror. Get it?

    • You’re only saying this because you’re a Westerner.
      Reading your post makes me cringe at the fact that I am one.

      Ironically, you’re not the creator of any manga(neither am I) so neither of us can really say what ethnicity a character is.

      I think you’re forgetting that anime is FICTION. In fiction, hair, eye, and skin can be ANY color.

      In Code Geass, Suzaku is Japanese, but has green eyes.

      And no, I don’t think we’ve conquered their perception of beauty. Notice how Japan favors girls with childish features, but America favors big breasts and big lipped girls? Japan has also favored paleness even before white settlers came, and most East Asian people are pale.

      I’ve tried being nice in my post, but in the end I cannot escape the obvious: You are an ignorant white supremacist/racist.

      I will admit that this post shows that I am a weaboo, since I know a lot about Japanese culture.

  • Wow I always wondered what they had to say on this topic……*sniffs the air and coughs* God who brought bullshit in here don’t you know a lot of people are allergic to that stuff. Damn the nerve of people these days.

  • It’s really on a case by case basis. There are a lot of characters that do look japanese. But there are also a lot of characters that really do look like “white” people (and are supposed to be japanese). Anyone who says otherwise is in serious denial.

  • – everyone who doesn’t think about it for long will probably assume that the humanoids they’re watching are similar to what they know (themselves, their society) than anything else. Nevertheless I’d argue that as weird and goofy as anime characters look – the base that has been altered (colored hair, enlarged eyes etc.) is a caucasian in terms of skin color and features. Go ahead and argue – there are examples of animes that adopt both a more caucasian look and those that try and emphasize an asiatic look, in addition to others.
    You cannot deny the fact that if you were to present 100 anime characters to anyone world over, in some large random sample, that they’d probably trend toward identifying the characters as “white” rather than anything else. I really don’t give a shit enough to do that though, I’m just pissed the Japanese censor their porn and are so xenophobic – we’re trying to help you out fellow perverts!

    • “they’d probably trend toward identifying the characters as “white”


      I think anime eyes are larger than both Caucasian eyes and Asian eyes. And most of the asians I know have eyes as large/small as the Caucasians I know.

      I must agree that there are some anime that seem more Caucasian, but some that are obviously more Asian. Setting, names, and various aspects also influence which one the anime is more similar to.

  • It’s no secret, that Japanese secretly wish to be something else. Lots of Japanese nationalists hate Japanese born in other countries.

    And anime girls always have white characteristics. Caucasian noses, colored eyes/hair and light skin. None of that sounds Japanese, because it’s not.

    Think I’m wrong? Then explain why hentai/ero always goes with PINK nipples and vagoos. If they were meant to look Asian, the girls would have TAN nipples and vagoos. Oh snap!

    BTW if Japan was picking colors which represented Asians, for their primary cast, they would use those came colors as a representation of other parts of Asia too. Which they do not.

    That said, stupid weaboos will do anything to fool themselves into thinking Japan wants to (and does) see itself in it’s own media outlets.

    • “That said, stupid weaboos will do anything to fool themselves into thinking Japan wants to (and does) see itself in it’s own media outlets.”

      Considering that neither you nor the weaboos are Japanese, I think neither of you have a right to say what Japan wants to/does see in it’s own media. Which means I can’t either, since I’m African.

      Only Japanese people can truly say that.

      Your first reason doesn’t make sense.

      Do white people have pink hair? No.

      Hmmm, interesting. Actually, although most asian girls have tan nipples, there are asian girls with naturally pink nipples.

  • If I draw a stick figure, most Americans will assume that it is a white man. Because to them that is the Default Human Being. For them to think it is a woman I have to add a dress or long hair; for Asian, I have to add slanted eyes; for black, I add kinky hair or brown skin. Etc.

    I recall lots of slanted eyes in those old Japanese wood block and ink art.

  • If I draw a stick figure, most Americans will assume that it is a white man. Because to them that is the Default Human Being. For them to think it is a woman I have to add a dress or long hair; for Asian, I have to add slanted eyes; for black, I add kinky hair or brown skin. Etc.

    What a crock of shit. Look at old Japanese art and you will see alot of slanted eyes.

  • When I read manga/watched anime I always assumed they were what the Japanese idolized to be and that’s not Caucasian but Asian. Although perhaps in some way influenced by the Western culture and their own inferiority complexes.
    Years and years of evolution manifesting into the perfect Japanese~

    • Whether they use racial profiling to make distinctions between race is racism or just to make a distinction that the character is not default. Whether that is racism or not America and every other country has done the same thing in animations.

      • If you really want to get into what is normal and abnormal, it’s all subjective an imaginary term that doesn’t exist outside of society. Designed to isolate people we don’t understand from our personal reality. It’s a mechanism many organisms do within tribes, packs, colonies and society. It’s a part of unnatural selection.

  • So if a white person looks at an anime character and sees a white person, and a Japanese person looks at an anime character and sees a Japanese person, what it is about that specific look that makes it the default in the human mind?

  • In the video version they claim big eyes aren’t an exclusive feature of whites, so they show pictures of blacks, Australians, and Mexicans. And then comes the fourth image,

    “Asians don’t always have small eyes.”

    *queue the image of a shopped Japanese girl*

  • Who’s the idiot who editted that video?? The freaking subtitles go by so fast I have to pause on every screen for five seconds and it makes it unwatchable!

    Not to mention that the font seems to not really st
    and out very well either, but it’s mostly the freaking speed that makes that whole thing a pain in the ass to read..!

  • I’ll have to partially disagree with this.

    While I also think that not ALL common characters from animes and mangas are portraied as caucasians, there are several non-stereotypical characters from several animes that are modeled that way.

    Take for instance, Becky from Pani Poni Dash.
    If we take several foreign characters from Strike Witches, they are also made the same way.

    Ok, several anime characters have different eye colors and hair colors, but several times when the character has blue eyes and is blonde, he/she was based on a caucasian look.

    And everyone who’s been long enough here in Sankaku knows how much manga and anime authors use or trace 3D pics to compose their stuff, right?

    There’s much of the strong influence worldwide fashion and beauty standards in play too. Thin, pale skin, big round eyes, etc.

    I’ve also watched animes that actually had characters with slanted eyes to reinforce the fact that they were asian.

    And if you think deep about it, why is it that big round eyes look better than slanted eyes in anime?

    It is expected for crazy nationalist otaku shut-ins to not understand or turn an eye to how their own society works… for instance, it’s a known fact that lots of japanese women and men admires caucasian girls even asking to take pics with them publicly, doesn’t matter if they are complete strangers and aren’t even celebrities (for sankakuites – remember the sailor moon girls?).

    You also can’t argue that not long ago (and maybe even know), a plastic surgery that was very much required from japanese women was that one to make the eye look more “caucasian”.

    I’m not saying that this is a good thing… it’s just consequence of the culture we live in. And I’m also not saying that all mangakas and anime character designers think like that… but ignoring the fact that several of them do design their characters based on caucasian characteristics is either a lack of understanding of the society we live in, idiotic nationalism or some sort of phobia lots of japanese seems to have towards foreign people.

    Remember not long ago beauty was represented by chubby people. Who knows? Maybe some decades from now the beauty standard will be slanted eyes and dark skin, and animation will also be drawn that way.

    • I actually like your comment, though I think many characters aren’t portrayed as Caucasian. Note the names, unless the mangaka specifically says they aren’t. (Ex: Gokudera from Reborn has a Japanese name, but is half Italian. Mukuro and Byakuran are from the same series, have Japanese names, but are completely Italian.)

      Oddly enough, I think Mukuro looks asian but Byakuran looks ambiguous.

  • Most of these people are seriously reading way too far into this.

    Also, for a good example of proper difference, I give you Monster. You can clearly tell which characters belong to which ethnicity despite them not using any such overblown detail in colour. I mean, compare Kenzo Tenma to Wolfgang Grimmer, for example, and it’s pretty obvious which one is Asian and which one is European. And most anime completely lacks this kind of general difference.

  • lol…I’ve had fun reading this. To be honest, I never really thought about it and pretty much don’t care.

    I will say the pink nipples argument is actually a good point and funny.

    I haven’t seen too many Japanese with pink nipples.

  • Funny enough, when black people draw black people, they are not white with blue eyes and yellow hair (yet there are some with one or more of these features). It’s about how much a population/public fantasize about itself. The articles about women enlarging their eyes while making up and it appears in a magazine says it all. That’s what people want. Just the same way you will see black girls with with silk hair in music videos.

    Seriously, in nature that’s not how it works. But that’s how marketing does.

    • See? Everyone stereotypes!

      Non-whites just like to bitch about whites being racist because SOME European countries decided to claim the whole fucking world a few hundred years ago (or as much as they could manage to colonize)…

  • Ok, I am here to explain to you all, the race of itself. The race in which anime characters are, is a race itself. While others may argue they are simply drawn, drowning in their own ignorance, there is obviously another world, one so primitive it does not have 3 dimensions. The people of anime have not advanced far enough in order to render themselves into another dimension. While the race of anime is known of their extravagant beauty, recent experiments to materialize one of their race into the third dimension caused horrible deformations. Not only did the experiments lose close to all their beauty, they also adapted a rather creepy appearance. Along with that they also lost their reproducing organs as well as the ability to move their face, rendering them in one emotion for eternity. I used this article for my research on the matter at hand.

  • well basically the video is true the americans think everybody in the world would like to be them (white).
    But in anime the characters really look japanese, not everybody in japan wants to be white.

    In my case being a white-mexican, i dont even care about races, basically the video says it all, americans sometime think differently that everybody else.

    In short, anime characters look japanese, and their foreing characters look foreing n.n

  • “Those damn foreigners love fussing over this stuff, don’t they? Who cares about race or whatever, it’s anime.”
    Honestly, those damn foreigners this is the only thing why Japan still on map not like part of the China, but who cares.
    Well, I think anime characters looks white, because japanese wanna looks like white people at the subconscious level. We all watched this shitty ecchi like Princess Lover where all white girls fall in love with otaku style japanese freak. Or guys in shoujo, no one typical japanese looks like they. Of course japanese will never agree with this, but many psychologists talk about this their complex. All reasons this is their appearance, but who give a fuck about it. This style is looks good and this is the only important thing.

  • This somehow comes back onto cosplay.. Americas saying that the japanese characters look white so only white people can pull it off.
    Unless in the anime.. it’s noted of the race of the character (They are usually japanese.) Like Patricia Martin is american, but she speaks japanese. (Well yea.)
    and Heroman it has japanese characters talking but it’s in USA (It also has some english speakers.)

    So unless noted of the race, I don’t usually pay attention.

  • Fact of the matter is, RL sucks anyway so it doesnt matter which race is some miniscule degree closer to 2D. Both are in the end, fail because the anime norm for beautiful people is nigh 100%.

    Indeed, to be an ugly anime character is essentially like being a horribly disfigured war victim in RL, and is certainly worth no small amount of pity.

  • The irony is that many anime and manga that have Japanese characters looking “white”, portray the Chinese and Koreans with the same physical stereotypes Westerners use for the Japanese (as if those three ethnicities looked that different from each other IRL).

    • They portray background characters using exaggerated features. Media, both 2D and 3D, from all over the world, have a habit of portraying the extras as ugly compared to the main characters.

      Thats why you don’t see Li Shenshong/Hei from Darker than Black with exaggerated features. Its why you don’t see Tousen from Bleach with exaggerated features.

  • it took me lot of time that anime char were japonese when i was young.
    a child don’t know at all about japan.
    and with the censor of the name we had at this time (on the mid 90’s all anime char had western name), i though people were from america or so… didn’t understand at all why they were eating rice and using chopsticks… but well i didn’t saw anything asian on them so…

    and even nom it’s sometime very difficult to know when a char is NOT japonese.
    i remember on FMP, when they said Testarossa was from east europe i didn’t know before they said it.
    the worst was on until death do us part, when they said the blonde was to visible… like we can see without colors on a manga o_O

    but what seems way more strange is about (vilain) chinese on mangas. almost everytime they have a yellow skin…
    it’s like if you’re asian you’re white if you’re on the good side, and yellow if you’re with the bad guys… seems pretty strange for me

  • “Default Human Being” Is the most racist term I’ve ever heard. And considering all the blacks and latinos in my state, I think the person who wrote that original article is a GIGANTIC racist.

  • I’m an American and I read lots of manga and watch tons of anime. To be honest… arguing it to be any race is like arguing your race is dominant… I never thought about what race anime/manga characters were and if the plot said it was in Japan, unless the characters were given specialized background stories, I believed them to be Japanese. Likewise if the plot is in London, I would assume them to be English/British.

    As stated by others…. It’s anime… just enjoy it… arguing about this stuff cuts down on what you could be reading and watching 🙂

  • Not every anime we watch looks the same because every creator has there own twist. Sure some characters have bigger eyes but its not a must for an anime. If you have watched enough anime you know that its up to the creator to decide look at fist of the north star now look at K-on!. Both are anime but they certainly aren’t the same style. Yes westerners generally have more features or defined features in there shows or comics but thats not a must and lately when watching tv its certainly not true anymore. Great point about the default I never thought of it like that. But I take offense to people thinking anime has to be a certain way it doesn’t, and nor does “western style”. It’s all up to the creator and whatever there particular style is.

  • LOL I love how 2ch sit there and say we but to much on race when all they do is talk about dirty foreigners. We just had an honest question. Why does it appear to be all white people in anime. then they act like we are being racist. When infact the last few articles about the battle between 2ch VS sankaku had them calling us nothing but dirty foreigners.

    2ch’s anthem “Color me a hypocrite.” “2ch’s hypocritical pride is what unites us all!”

    Those 2 lines should be their mission statement, anthem, and across the top of every page.

    • Exactly. I love Japan just as much as the next person on this site, but they shouldn’t put the Japanese up on this pedestal. Japanese people can be racist and oftentimes are VERY racist. We like to think that the Japanese are all ‘lol, yayyy happy anime fun times we’re perfect and like everyone 😀 😀 :D’ when in reality it isn’t like that. The racism against other Southeast Asians is incredibly high and racism against any gaijin is high, too.

      Every part of the world has racist people in it, so get over the fact that Japan isn’t perfect. Whites can be racist and so can the Japanese, along with any other group out there.

      Silly Japanophiles. 8’D

    • Lmfao, I love how The West automatically equals AMERICA to most people. Other Westerners think the same thing, people just like to shove America out in front so that everyone can have ANOTHER reason to bitch about the US.

      Also, the things the 2ch-ers are saying are just as racist. Just because you’re white doesn’t mean you can’t be discriminated against.
      So much irony.

  • “Japanese don’t care about race like that – if it were American you’d have to include a bunch of different races or be accused of discrimination. Those guys are the ones who are abnormal.”

    I hope I’m not the only one who liked this comment.

  • Something I heard awhile back was that the character design for anime/manga characters came directly out of the post war desire to appease/placate the Americans.

    That is they represent the Japanese but were given a more neutral or western (as was said Betty Boop) style.

  • 5:56 in the video. That arm sent me into a laughing fit.

    It is fairly amusing how few people seemingly realize that they paint themselves as the ideal of beauty… Despite how incredibly natural it is for a people to do so.

    Those Japanese look very Japanese.

  • Just cause americans can’t cosplay for shit it doesn’t mean anything. What about animes that are set in some different world like DBZ, OP, Naruto etc. are they all still Japanese? What about anime set in different parts of the world, are they still Japanese??

    Now Look below V

    Japanese People:

    Anime Characters:

    Be honest do they even look remotely similar, sure some mangaka have actually drew characters that actually look Japanese in the past

    But what does the majority say to you??

    Presumptuous my ass.

  • I think most of us who don’t have are heads in the clouds are saying that most anime characters look more)European then they do Japanese.

    Do the Japanese people look in the mirror? No they don’t need to, they just have to look at each other to see.

    That they all are black domed haired, eye slanted people. They don’t have brown, red, blond hair etc.
    Nor do they have brown, blown, hazel colored eyes etc..

    Yes they do have a yellow tone in their skin for many (mainly Chineese) and no most Japanese girls do not have pink nipples.

    I can keep going with this, it’s so easy to see when your not a weeboo and a blind Japanese.

    It’s not about whites being the beautiful race when you have some Asian putting down foreigners for liking anime that are full of “Asians” or superior “Japanese”.

    If anime characters are so Japanese, then why do Japanese cosplayers, need colored wigs, coloring products, those eye opening cases, photoshop, lots of makeup etc. etc. etc.

    • “If anime characters are so Japanese, then why do Japanese cosplayers, need colored wigs, coloring products, those eye opening cases, photoshop, lots of makeup etc. etc. etc.”

      Westerners oftentimes need wigs,contacts, photoshop, and makeup too, and often for same reasons.

      I’m just glad you’re not a racist. (Well, you don’t come across as one.) Your argument is actually decent.

  • Something so simple and yet so hard to understand… we draw because we like to draw or we are bored and drawing is just something to do, mangakas draws because they like to draw, if not they wouldn’t be mangakas and work in something else, same with animation, of course there are exceptions… but that’s what we call it, “Exceptions”.

  • Zanosuke_Kurosaki says:

    “Gone are the big round eyes and the strange hair colours. Because those things have nothing to do with whiteness.”

    Funny, I hold my hand up near both the pink-haired woman and the blond-haired guy and whadda ya know, pretty close match. Looks “white” to me. So that “default state of being” thing is just a load of horsepucky.

    Also: Oh, so hair of blue and green and purple and pink and orange and mauve and such all have something to do with Japaneseness? Pffft, yet another bit in there that’s full of it outside of J-Pop and attention slut girls.

    Finally, the Simpsons bit? Oh of fucking COURSE they’re “white” – they’re a “standard” nuclear family living in suburban America and they’re highly dysfunctional with it being a wonder they’ve not killed each other yet. If that doesn’t say “white”, what does? =P

  • The reason Anime characters are drawn the way they are is simply international marketing. The goal of every Anime is to get international DVD or Blu Ray release. The US and Europe are big markets so characters have to appeal to those markets.

    Japanese will watch Anime that has “Japanese” looking characters or “Western” looking characters. The US and Europe might not watch an Anime where all the characters look “Japanese” simply because Westerners are not use to identifying individuals with more subtle differences of facial features.

    • What on Earth are you talking about?

      Anime and manga producers completely ignore Western markets. In their eyes, we’re either pirates or we don’t exist (this has an element of truth, but I think it’s become a vicious circle).

      When Japanese companies *do* try to appeal to Westerners with their character design, they don’t make them more “white”, they make them more masculine.

  • I think the question isn’t “Why do they look white?” but why don’t they look Japanese?

    You can argue that anime-style characters don’t look Caucasian, but the fact of the matter is that they don’t look Asian either.

    In the end, the answer has nothing to do with race, but style. They look the way they look because that’s how they are drawn.

  • The smug sense of chastisement is pretty hilarious given that the mini-essay explicitly says that Japanese do the exact same thing.

    What I’d like to know is if Japanese experience the same thing with American cartoons. Do the Powerpuff Girls look Asian to them?

  • I can see why people think so (the eyes are more visible, the hair is a colour other than black, etc.).

    It’s true, anime varies human attributes so much they don’t look like any one race but I’m going to condemned this author anyway. He gives points that either make no sense or relies on characteristics as common to all anime but vary greatly which make his point invalid. For example, has he seen Lucky Star? The american looks and sounds more japanese than the rest of the characters. And what about Brock from pokemon? lol Why is he so different from the rest?

    This author is an idiot for not doing proper research and for trying to play the I’m-awesome-because-I’m-not-racist card.

  • I agree completely, Anime characters are most certainly asian. This is proven not only by cosplay but by the character styles themselves. People who claim that the Japanese have some sort of inferiority complex or want to be white are insane, If anything the Japanese see Americans much like the rest of the world sees them, as loud obnoxious rednecks, then theres the left over hatred from nagasaki and hiroshima which contrary to popular belief hasn’t vanished into thin air. All the protests against american bases / the stationing of aircraft carriers etc these things happen for a reason . Now South Koreans? The prevalence of plastic surgery there makes me wonder if they want to be white. I’ve even seen a South Korean girl refer to the procedure that straightens their eyes as “getting them fixed” as if there was something wrong with them to begin with. The South Koreans were liberated by the west and so it’s understandable that they might think highly of americans but again it’s stupid to go labeling cultures and stereotyping. From what I’ve seen every single culture on earth thinks of itself as the cats whiskers.

    • How does cosplay prove anything about the “race” of a cartoon character?

      Also: “…the Japanese see Americans much like the rest of the world sees them, as loud obnoxious rednecks…”

      A little later: “…it’s stupid to go labeling cultures and stereotyping.”

      I would suggest some remedial logic courses.

      • Did I hurt your feelings by any chance? I said it was stupid to stereotype I don’t recall denying the existence of stereotypes. Stereotypes are very real, try dealing with them instead of whining like an imbecile.

        As far as cosplay is concerned I believe the reason the Japanese are so much better at it is because anime characters in general are based on asians, I would have thought a monkey could have inferred that from what I wrote which is why I didn’t bother clarifying. ^_^

  • This is bullshit, stop screwing up… anime is just anime, who cares how they look? Osamu Tezuka was the one who gave life to the anime but you kwnow how he did it? he was the first in using the round eyes in the anime characters, being that their main feature and not the color, and that was a thing he copied of disney characters like mickey. Is true that americans were the first in animation but that doesn’t mean that they have the right to judge the work of other people.

  • Personally, I’ve always found anime to be representstive of what asians typically don’t have themselves: multi-coloured hair potential, huge eyes and whatnot. I never found them Caucasian, per se, but also there is only so much to a character is naturally blonde and blue-eyed.

  • The perception of the character race depends greatly on the creator drawing style.
    I propose an experiment involving an enormous anime database that includes most of drawing styles, and an equally big human database of all over the world. Then find the most suitable match from 2D to 3D and see what happens.

    I find this the most appropiate way to find the “answer” to this “problem”.

  • I think the reasons why anime characters look white to Westerners but not to Japanese people are quite obvious:

    1. Westerners see colour as the most important determiner of race. What race their facial features are typical of is up for debate, but there’s no doubt that most anime characters have white skin. Real Japanese people tend to be much darker than the idols in the ads splashed all over this site.

    2. The style you see in nearly all anime and manga is ultimately derived from a few American cartoons from the 30s, 40s and 50s. I suppose that people who are brought up with that style being dominant will just see it as “anime style” and won’t notice any racial features.

    3. There are occasionally characters who definitely look Asian, and they stick out far more than the characters who are designed to look white.

    It’s also worth noting that Japanese video game characters nearly always look very Western, even when it’s a fantasy setting. See FF for examples.

    Really, this “hurr durr Americans see anime characters as white because they are racist” attitude stems from 2ch butthurt and Americans trying to be politically correct and showing how enlightened and racially sensitive they are. It’s interesting that the original post comes from a site full of sociologists which is clearly popular amongst left-wing academics.

    There are good reasons for Westerners to believe that anime characters look white. That doesn’t mean that they were consciously designed to look white; obviously they weren’t. But when one looks at the differences between how Westerners and the Japanese see race and the differences between how they perceive the anime art style, it’s not hard to see how Westerners might come to the conclusion that anime characters are designed to look white.

  • Yes, some people made arrogant or idiotic comments about anime characters being white.


    If you cant narrow your comments down to the person who made the remarkes that you disagree with in the first place than it just proves that you ( Yes you members of 2 chan who flame whites ) that you are the racist bigots on the net.

    PS: as far as your comments, “go die” to other’s in Japan that may seem ok or even cool, but to the rest of us the fact that you said that is like saying, “Im a sissy little bitch that cant do anything on my own so will you please do what I am too scared to do myself?”

  • My favorite game to play while watching anime is “Spot the Black guy” I’ve counted 6 so far 5 being actual main/secondary characters. Does that make me an ignorant foreign asshole that pays too much attention to race? Either way my answer is the same…It doesn’t really matter.

  • All I know is, in Japan they have skin whitener….that just reeks of skin color insecurity and or white skin complex. And say what you want, but aside from the crazy hair colors, if you give an anime character blonde hair white skin and blue or green eyes they don’t look asian. I havn’t seen many Japs come out of their momma with a stock set of blue eyes and blonde hair, sorry.

  • So if i get it well, Americans are all fat guys with cowboy hats, Japanese are a bunch of emo’s and naughty schoolgirls,
    and Frenchies (me :p) wear beret, eat frogs,
    drive cars from the 50′ and…we’ve got mimes!!!

    On the next topic, black people and fantasy. 😀

  • When I was in Indonesia people were wearing long sleeves,hats etc everything to cover up their skin while it was really hot because they wanted to have white skin,even my family does it.
    But most people there have dark skin because of the climate though

  • Americans? Who said anything about Americans? I believe they said that anime/manga characters were white – not American. Funny how it was the Japanese who assumed white meant American, aye.

    Lol, those racist Japanese are so cute, with their xenophobia and mass fleeing to better countries like little parasites. Awww, so widdle and cute with their irony ignoring.

    God, I’m glad I know a few Japanese people, else I’d hate the whole fucking polluted dump of a country.

  • Don’t really care about the race of anime characters. I’m an Asian American so it kind of feels like the video is telling Americans to get off their high-horse when they probably didn’t put as much thought into it as these people commenting have. As for the Sakura’s profile part, it’s a lot easier to draw a face with no definition and the anime-watching demographic really seem to hate realistic features on the face (prominent nose, laugh lines, cheek definition) and I don’t think that’s a matter of race but style. I hate how they seem to lump America’s perspective of beauty as a whole because everybody is different within cultures. Oh Japan~

  • There is the same thing about Mexican comics, All arround the world the humans draw itself in the standard Human stereotype for them. So, if you carefully observe, you may see that the anime characters have a variety pallete od skin colours, some are most burnette, or Morish (or japanese, like Sakura Kinomoto) than others that have a snow white skin (like Miku).

    The japanese draw mexicans like their stereotype of mexican, a big and strong person, whith dark skin (but not much dark like an afro) semicurled black o brown hair and hard face. The examples are like Sado Yasutora in Bleach(and his Grandpa) or Lala Gonzáles in School Rumble.

    Demo, i don’t much care about how they draw japanese or United States people (Because american is refer to all America Continent, not only the US)or Mexican or europen people. The draws are adorable.


  • i would have to agree with the whole default human being concept. when you are watching anime, it automatically assumes that the characters are Japanese unless otherwise noted.

    But then again, historically speaking the concept of beauty has always been associated as whiter, lighter, paler skin with blond hair as a plus. Regardless of race, culture or ethnicity, the more lighter your skin is the more “beautiful” you are in society.

  • Actually its because the paper is white and it costs a lot to color in a character plus characters colored in black look really bad since artists who do manga drawns don’t have 300 hours per page to color them in which it would take per page. Its only a matter of materials at hand to do the drawnings.

    This (the original article) is just a politically correct discussion which has nothing to do with the facts.

  • I always though they draw the characters like that because it was easier. They always did the characters white because it was easier and cheaper. This has made all Anime/Manga’s characters carbon copies of each other. Resulting that I can’t see/read something from Clamp,…

    Well at least One Piece and FMA are international in therms of character. And they still wonder why One Piece outsell everything now-a-days…

  • “Japanese don’t care about race like that – if it were American you’d have to include a bunch of different races or be accused of discrimination. Those guys are the ones who are abnormal.”

    Damn right.

  • japan generally doesn’t know how black people work huh?

    unless they are stero types, i always wonder if they are really tan or black.

    an to whoever the fuck made that video, jesus… you know its a stereotype for a reason… i got to the eye part before i knew it was going down hill fast.

    asians have squinty fucking eyes is a stereotype for a reason… most of them look like they are squinting all the time.

    and the example they show? is an idol i wouldn’t be surprised if she had plastic surgery

    point being, why is it that anime looks to have none of the characteristics of a asian?

    • In case of Anime , paints which color black people are higher price than “white or yellow” ones(I don’t know you think how it looks ) which are purchased in bulk.
      In case of Manga , painting black or whatever is chore.

  • Last time I went to Japan, people there have a clear white skin.

    Last time I was in Europe (today), it’s still popular to have a slight toned skin, aching to brown. Why? It’s a sign of wealth.

    Do these people “worship” Asians, Africans or any southern people?

  • why are they pulling in ethnic race into this?
    the question was clearly “are anime characters WHITE” (not american).

    obviously the most anime characters are from north.
    both america and Europe have colored people likewise do they all have white people.

    that video presented wasn’t too great, but I guess it took forth some points. but it compared american old men with young Japanese girls, which wasn’t the best.

    Anime characters ARE WHITE, but not western.

  • God dam Americans they really are stupid, I have had first hand experience

    I’m from South Africa and while on holiday in a popular coastal town one actually asked me if I were a Zulu while i was having a drink

    This was a really stupid thing to say seeing as I look like a nazi poster child seriously I’m ultra white and suddenly he started asking me about how was apartheid and if I was a member of the AWB

    The fact is Americans are stupid I’ve always seen anime carracters as japanese or the race they are told be if they arent japanese

  • I think this is something rather american,
    never thought about race on anime characters.

    For me its japanese names = japanese. Look at Strike Witches, most characters that are supposed to be white look like any other anime character.

  • Im American and most of my friends think anime characters are modeled after whites. My position has always been that the skin/big eyes/crazy hair of anime is purely for artistic style purposes and not modeled after any race. Anime characters are hotter than any race! I’ll send this link to my friends to set them straight.

  • “On the other hand, surgical procedures to create non-Asian looking “double eyelids” are highly popular throughout East Asia, and seem to suggest the impact of western ideals of beauty on the Japanese are not quite so easily dismissed as mere Yankee presumptuousness.”

    This is a sentence tempting Miss Read intentionally. It is Korea that double eyelid operations are popular, and it is not East Asia. The double eyelid operation is not prosperous in China and Japan. Korea is society with much discrimination judged from an appearance. Therefore a double eyelid operation became popular.

  • It’s drawn like that because it’s easier. That’s why I hate most of Clamps productions, every character has the same face (only the color of the eyes, cut and the color of hair changes). That makes the anime boring. They’re all clones!!!
    That’s why I love One Piece, every character is unique, every face is different. I love how Mr. Oda breaks conventions and still sells more manga then anyone else in Japan… Long live Oda King!! Long live One Piece!!

  • These two posts won:

    “Japanese don’t care about race like that – if it were American you’d have to include a bunch of different races or be accused of discrimination. Those guys are the ones who are abnormal.”


    “Honestly, those guys think too highly of themselves! I don’t see any anime full of fat people!”

  • “As it turns out, that is an American opinion, not a Japanese one. The Japanese see anime characters as being Japanese. It is Americans who think they are white. Why? Because to them white is the Default Human Being.”

    This is the best explanation I’ve ever read.

    I’m so sick of all these shitty sites trying to explain that with the good old “it’s because anime are influenced by Walt Disney/the westerners” bullshit

    fuck. I’ve been watching anime since I’m born 30 years ago, I’ve never seen anime characters as white, or even as japanese people. I’ve always seen them as anime characters.

    Though, I’m in japan right now, and it’s funny how I’m actually finding many similarities between japanese people and anime characters

    I’m so sick of these dumbasses who don’t know a crap about manga/anime and are always asking “why anime characters don’t look like japanese people” that I’ll print this article and throw it on their stupid face

  • Sounds like a made up thing to me. I view anime characters as completely Japanese unless it’s a character that is obviously intended to be of another nationality. For example Celty of Durarara was an Irish spirit so obviously she was not a Japanese character, etc.

    In fact I refuse to watch an anime that has been dubbed in English because they almost always sound so different from the original Japanese that it destroys the story for me. I view anime as so Japanese that it’s given me an unhealthy obsession with Japanese women. 😉

  • I think the main issue here is how the viewer identifies with the characters. When an anime comes over, and you notice most of the characters have lighter skin tones, have Western or Biblical sounding names, and speak American or British English, most people can’t help but put them in the category of ‘white’, and somehow fundamentally assume this would appeal to white people. White people would have an intrinsically easier time identifying with the characters because of these traits.

    It’s not anime, but for instance, when I played FFVII, and acquired Barrett into the team, it’s pretty blatantly assumed he’s black. You can’t tell me all the other characters reflect ‘anime-ese’, and Barrett doesn’t reflect a real world example of skin color. They might all have crazy hair, eyes and outfits, but you can’t deny how skin color makes a difference, and consequently your real world categorization of the characters.

    Skin color is an easy way for Western movies and other media to target an audience, so I can understand why Westerners immediately assume most anime characters reflect whiteness.

    • They don’t have any traits specific to asians, so that’s why I always went with DFH=caucascian. Or to be more precise – I wondered why do they draw japanese characters (if she is a japanese schoolgirl in japanese school and with japanese name, I would take a risk that she is supposed to be racially asian) as whites.

      Obligatory troll:
      Hell, 99% girls have huuuuge boobs, so obviously not japanese:P

  • Because every time they try to do an ethnic character, people get all mad about it being correct or not.
    It also depends on what anime your watching.
    Cowboy Bebop had a lot of ethnic characters in it.

  • They said people think this way because white is the default, I’m not white and never thought of it as the default but in my opinion they do appear Caucasian. In the Simpsons they show every race including Asians and you can tell the difference, the blue hair…really not sure about that but never paid attention to it since hair in that show is never distinct. Like how Lisa & Bart have and you would think that if they are white that hair thats so close to skin tone would probably be blond but there are also blond people on the show so as I mentioned earlier, not clear on hair color and think the Simpsons in general weren’t really a good example.

  • Yes, blame the Americans for being racist when asking a seemingly innocent question about anime characters with Japanese names and blonde hair and blue eyes.

    Let’s just ignore the many many examples of terrible stereotyping of black people in anime and Japanese video games and media.

    That’s convenient now, isn’t it?

  • Fucking americans with their heads shuvved up their arses. The nations doesn’t seem to realise that nobody worships them at all and rather takes the piss out of them. I’m a white guy and I don’t assume any ethnicities for any characters.

  • “Japanese don’t care about race like that – if it were American you’d have to include a bunch of different races or be accused of discrimination. Those guys are the ones who are abnormal.”


  • Lots of “Who cares?” posts. I approve. THIS is forced drama.

    If there’s anything to get worked up over, it’s when a character IS blatantly white, often with some twist on eyes, a square/protruding chin on males, and very often an effect on the nose, usually making them bigger.

    Does any of this imply anything?

    The correct answer, again, is “Who cares?”

  • N ot to mention, they compare US side profile with asian front profile (and twist the latter a bit to make it fit) to somehow prove that US-whores don’t fit their precious anime-characters.

    We’re really supposed to take that video seriously?

  • Usually when I’m designing anime characters my immediate response is an Asian character. Unless I’m designing a fairy tale character. I think White. Plus white folks body build just don’t look cute. Asians are petite and cute, whilst; Whites are tall and sexy.

  • It’s time someone pointed out that not all “Anime and Manga” aren’t made for “Foreigners”, Okay?

    They are made for their domestic market which they are planning to sell them too.

    Exceptions to the rule are anime like “Highschool of the Dead” which are obviously made for international audiences.

    This “Stereotyping” nonsense has to atop. The “Race” of the characters are mostly related to the setting of the anime/manga unless stated otherwise, such as the foreigner main character (Example: Darker than Black).

  • “Those damn foreigners love fussing over this stuff, don’t they? Who cares about race or whatever, it’s anime.”

    Ahahaha, ultra-nationalistic part of Japan, the 2ch suddenly don’t care about race? 😀 😀 😀

    Oh man, that whole issue must have really hurt.

    • Nation does not equal race. No where did they mention not caring about their nation.

      If the Japanese cared about their own race they wouldn’t be kicking out japanese born on foreign soil from their country. For example, those born and raised in Brazil.

      Dunno why people keep spinning nationalism with race. The only thing the above comment showed is just how deep-rooted “race” is in eurocentric minds.

  • From what I remember the Nameks are green for sure and King Cold was purple. We are talking about anime characters right? They come in different shape and sizes, come on for sure we can destroy planets like they do too. Let us start relating real world=anime…

  • I just love anime no matter what. But if a character in the anime has a back-ground of being Caucasian or Japanese than totally acceptable. If the story takes place in Japan than they’re Japanese. Darker Than Black is a great example because they actually went through the full-length of telling what the character’s back-ground was. Hei is Chinese and Suou is Russian/Japanese, etc. Of course Japanese are going to create Japanese characters. If they have Japanese sub-cultures and everything. Unless they state that it’s a gaijin in the anime series. Or you can just simply tell but what the mangaka or illustrators were implementing. Or look at Black Butler/Kuroshitsuji, I don’t think that Ciel Phantomhive is Japanese unless stated. I mean Queen Victoria is from Britian so I can only mean as much as facts are given unless Ciel Phantomhive has a Japanese history. And then you can discuss bishojo/bishonen and the likes. It’ll never end. Anime is just anime. You just watch it. But if it’s obvious than it’s obvious.

  • I (Caucasian- 50% Scottish 50% Peruvian) always figured the more peachy the skin was the more white they looked to me, pale was Japanese. When i look at my fist’s they turn pale and red with a more peachy white to them but when i have seen some Japanese peoples skin it’s pale and red when the fist is clinched. So someone like Kazari from Railgun with a more fair pale skin to her compared to Mikoto of the same show she has a more peachy tone at even when i hold my hand to the screen she matches, so naturally i would assume “whitey”. Also (though black hair really is just a every dark brown) i rarely see a Japanese person as a brunette or light brown compared to Caucasian people (without the use of dyes) so just by natural assumption i think “no dye = white” because why would i assume the character uses dye unless its revealed they do. But outside of normal colour’s for skin or hair its always my natural assumption IRL to say white; like with the Simpson’s or for avatar, if i didn’t know that the guy in the avatar was apart of a white army I’d assume he was white regardless. YET with anime i can’t be sure, unless i hear a back story to them i assume they are jap despite my natural assumptions just because I’ve learned to them this is jap, i don’t know why his/her skin matches my skin more but what ever he/shes jap so lets go along with it. I’ve had this discussion before with my Viet and Chinese friends and they both agreed that some characters skin tones match mine more then either of their’s (both lighter skinned then me) and we don’t know why but we all came to the answer “who cares and just watch” but for the sake of the argument i close with SOME do look more white then others some ridiculously more so then others

  • It’s simply because Japanese people generally aren’t naturally able to have blonde hair, blue eyes (and most of the time large breasts).

    The Japanese themselves realise that they all have the same hair/eye colour and when drawing it makes the characters a lot less interesting if they resemble real like Japanese people. Thus they draw them with different hair colours, many of which only whites are able to naturally have.

    They also put in some unnatural hair colours for a person of any race, but yeah – the reason why anime characters in fact DO look more white than any other race is due to the fact that whites can actually naturally be born with Blonde and Red hair and or blue/green eyes whilst Asians will only ever been born with Black hair and brown eyes.

    There are some anime characters like Lelouche in Code Geass who is assuredly meant to be European, but he in fact looks Japanese as he has dark hair and eyes and a thin/short statue. Thus he looks more Japanese.

    Usagi/Serena from Sailor Moon – she’s a tall blonde with blue eyes and an ample bossom. She looks white as no Japanese person could naturally look this way, while a white person could.

  • at 1st i used to ponder about this from time to time but the thing i thought was odd about asian anime characters was the absence of squinty or double-eyelid eyes.

    -even tho yea these days the cosmetic surgery to remove double-eylids is there PLUS those special contacts to bulge open your eyeslits a bit more.

    Lol i remember thinking “yea asians make good cartoons and their eyes are fixed in them but TOO MUCH. da anime eyes are HUUUGE XD”

    these days its all just a MEH to me tho. Anime chars dont look white they look like cartoon chars void of the notion of “race”

  • Anime characters really arent designed to look like any race and thats one of the features I love about it.

    Just seems like -some- Americans got the smug idea that the Japanese idolise them so much they design everything to look like them. Even though the Japanese dont, and even though the characters dont look like them.

    I wish people would just forget about the race barrier and see us as Humans not as Whites or Asians.. etc. It would make the world a happier, less tense, (less lawsuits), less strict regulations (has to be a black guy in the film or we gonna get sued) and better place.

  • There’s an interesting article on the Escapist that discusses this concept in video games in light of the increased exposure of the role of ethnic backgrounds and stereotypes.

    One study demonstrated that people project their race onto the main character and that this is hardly an specific phenomenon. I don’t get why people get their knickers in a twist about this as it’s simply a human condition, part of our collective cognitive and logical fallacies.

  • I’d be lying if I claimed this debate didn’t visit my mind back when I started to watch more anime, but soon after I realised anime characters mostly belong to the “cute” or “cool” races (that may look like totally different species in shoujo series), not any Asian, Caucasian, African, or other breeds. While the video tried to demonstrate they are modelled specifically after the Japanese stock, I wouldn’t really count on that seeing how people all around the world find anime shapes pleasant (and some even claim they are modelled after their own race). It has to be something more scientific.

    Quite an interesting article, in any case.

  • At end of war movie industry grew, Americans could sell movies to EU and them self. But Japan could sell movies to Asia but people in Asia are poor, And EU and USA don’t want to watch movies with only Japanese cast.
    So they begin to make Anime and Manga because of low production cost.
    Also most of Manga are Black and white.Black paper would be to expensive and not to mention white pencil.
    And also if you make characters which are neutral, you can sell this Anime to many countries, so bigger profit.

  • Old-ish discussion. I guess it just got fresh exposure at 2chan, hence this update with their replies.

    Typical extreme xenophobia especially when they say the hilarious “oh, those Americans are the only one we care, BECAUSE WE DON’T”…. Oh the delicious irony…

    That said, I do think the western look does play a bit of a role. It’s just that the stylized cartoonish looks can intermingle with more ‘exotic’ western looks such as people having grey, blue, green eyes and having an assortment of hair color. Being the homogenous peoples Eastern Asians are, there’s usually no room to imagine outside the box.

    Not to say that they are ‘made to look western’, it’s just that it’s plain obvious that they take certain inspiration from how many foreigners may look.

    The ‘eyes wide’ look of anime is one thing, double eyelids another being ‘western influenced’. What is funny, like the article says is that when anime draw westerners, they put in more angles to them. Which is somewhat ironic.

  • “Japanese don’t care about race like that – if it were American you’d have to include a bunch of different races or be accused of discrimination. Those guys are the ones who are abnormal.”

    yea that about how usa tv works right there. usa tv all ways need to have a black guys in it or some black group will sue them.

  • seriously… why are people even bothering with races and racial features in anime? its just like people fussing about 2D loli… its nonsense… =___= 2D lolis should be left alone… they’re not friggin real. same with this topic.

  • Surely, the answer is simply that the Japanese ARE white. They have light-coloured skin. Hence white. Since when has “white” implied “European in origin”? Skin colour isn’t a race, it’s just a reflection of the amount of sunlight where you evolved.

  • I always thought when they drew anime/manga thats how they wished they looked like, pretty, big boobs or dicks, eyes that you can see, and different natural hair colors. . . I dont really care about skin color

  • So uhh why is something this stupid allowed to get attention? I thought everyone thought something similar to what I do, Fictional beings don’t relate to most shit in reality, especialy to something as stupid as race. Why the hell does that even mater?

  • Ok , man im sure that my post will end in drivel but personally i love girls with her white skin ( not nearly as albinism ) long hair black/brown , straight hair , with a normal nose , and her blue/green/light brown eyes and i dont like big eyes no not so much little , and average ones

  • “On the other hand, surgical procedures to create non-Asian looking “double eyelids” are highly popular throughout East Asia, and seem to suggest the impact of western ideals of beauty on the Japanese are not quite so easily dismissed as mere Yankee presumptuousness.”

    …which means the whole point of your article is invalid.