Do Asian people stereotype other Asians?
June 20, 2006 7:28 PM   Subscribe

Can'tWeAllGetAlongFilter: Do Asian people stereotype other Asians?

Do Asian people have stereotypical folk beliefs about people from other Asian groups? If so, what are they?
Do they hold national stereotypes? Do (some) Japanese people, for example, believe that "All Korean people are like (X,Y and Z)?" Do they stereotype people from other provinces of their own country? Do (some) people from Chinese province A make rude jokes about people from Chinese province B?

Do these stereotypes survive in the folk cultures of Asian immigrants to Western countries?
posted by jason's_planet to Society & Culture (76 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
Can you imagine a country not having regional stereotypes? "What are people from Tokyo like?" "Y'know, same as everywhere." Unlikely.
posted by aubilenon at 7:30 PM on June 20, 2006 [3 favorites]


Ummm... of course. For instance, there's no love lost between the Koreans and Japanese.
posted by Doohickie at 7:34 PM on June 20, 2006


As a general rule, there's no love lost between any East Asian country and Japan.
posted by Ptrin at 7:41 PM on June 20, 2006


I learned the term "fobby" from a chineese-american girl who was not fobby.
posted by Good Brain at 7:46 PM on June 20, 2006


In India, people in Pune will say, oh those people from Bombay are like this (3 hour drive away.)

Why do you ask this question?
posted by sweetkid at 7:47 PM on June 20, 2006


@aubilenon

OK, sure. But what exactly are those stereotypical beliefs? Are you familiar with any of them yourself? Could you elaborate?

@Doohickie

Love lost is one thing. But if you asked a Korean, for example, to characterize Japanese people as a group, what folk beliefs would show up in his response?

(And vice versa, how would Japanese people characterize Koreans as a group?)
posted by jason's_planet at 7:47 PM on June 20, 2006


Well in their defense, it mostly seems to be because Japanese don't really consider themselves to be part of Asia. In Asia yes, part of Asia no. Kinda like how Israelis claim to be part of Europe.
Japanese no longer hate Koreans like they used to. There has been a lot of progress made on that front, oddly enough by Korean television. There are now Korean dramas on Japanese primetime tv these days. It's kind of a boom right now.
On the other hand, Japanese believe all Chinese people are thieves, muggers, lockpicking burglars, etc. This stereotype is reinforced by the government and media.
posted by nightchrome at 7:50 PM on June 20, 2006 [2 favorites]


Aw hell yeah. Different countries have stereotypes of different countries, and different regions have stereotypes of people from other regions. City folk make fun of hicks, country folk make fun of city slickers.

jason's_planet "If so, what are they? "

As far as "what they are", well, I'll be Mr. Japan Representative (note: these are not my stereotypes, but the extreme end of the typical negative stereotype):

Koreans
  • Drunkards
  • Short fused
  • Loud
  • Women are loose
Chinese
  • Lazy
  • Dishonest
  • Sullen
Thais
  • Lazy
  • Dishonest

posted by Bugbread at 7:50 PM on June 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


Regarding nightchrome's "muggers and lockpickers" comment, I think there's also a difference between what folks regard people from country A living in country A are like, versus what folks from country A living in the folks' country is like. I doubt most Japanese think of Chinese living in China as lockpicks or gangsters, but Chinese males in Japan: muggers and lockpickers.
posted by Bugbread at 7:53 PM on June 20, 2006


I was out the other day with an incredibly sophisticated girl - she's traveled the world many times over, lived for a while recently in North Korea (!) and just got back from Rwanda. She's ethnic Chinese who grew up in various countries. Imagine my surprise when somehow her cellphone came up and she - this cosmopolitan chick who speaks several languages - said "I never thought I would ever buy anything Korean." Turns out she has a bizarre, visceral hatred of all things Korean. No idea why - I dropped the subject.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:53 PM on June 20, 2006


Why do you ask this question?

Because I don't know that much about Asia.

Asian countries are becoming more powerful and prominent on the world stage. I think that their cultures will become more influential in the coming decades and so, I'd like to know a little more about those cultures, including not-very-savory things like national and regional stereotypes.
posted by jason's_planet at 7:58 PM on June 20, 2006


I have a good friend who's second generation Vietnamese-American. I forget which half of Vietnam her family came from ... the south, I think. Anyhow, she always refers to people from the other part of the country as ignorant hill dwelling hicks.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:05 PM on June 20, 2006


Pop culture reference: In LOST, Jin had to hide the fact he was from a provencial farmin village because of what the "city folk" would think of him.
posted by bjork24 at 8:13 PM on June 20, 2006


Indonesian Chinese at Wikipedia.
posted by gimonca at 8:22 PM on June 20, 2006


japanese do not care a fig about koreans. koreans, however, hate the japanese.
posted by dydecker at 8:23 PM on June 20, 2006


I consulted (as always) the boyfriend, and he chortled and said "Of course we do!"

There's all kinds of stereotypes about various provincial groups in India: Gujaratis are hard-working and money-hungry, Punjabis like to drink and party, et cetera.

Moreover, there is no love lost between Indians and Pakistanis.

Oh, and with regard to the diaspora, my best friend is Indo-Guyanese, and she told me that when filing a matrimonial ad, Guyanese file separately from Indians, because Indians have certain stereotypes about their Guyanese brethren, even though they may speak the same language(s), eat the same food, practice the same religion, and so on.
posted by anjamu at 8:26 PM on June 20, 2006


My Dad once told me that I shouldn't marry a Japanese guy because he would cheat on me, or a Korean guy because he would be mean. I think he said a Chinese guy would beat me.

Then again, he basically ruled out every nationality possible, so it may have been less stereotyping and more just being my dad, since I'm pretty sure I'm still not allowed to date.
posted by snickerdoodle at 8:30 PM on June 20, 2006


Check out the Hate Korea Wave.
posted by johngoren at 8:32 PM on June 20, 2006


I've heard that "honkies" (Hong Kong Chinese) are considered ostentatious, crass and vulgar (think nouveau-riche) by other ethnic Chinese (eg Malaysian Chinese). Not sure what the mainlanders or Taiwanese think of them.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:45 PM on June 20, 2006


Here in China, the mere mention of the word 'Japan' will often set off a torrent of hatred fueled by the government propaganda.

I once took a vacation through southeast Asia. When I returned, my Chinese friends were always commenting about how poor it must have been and how uncultured everyone must have been.

And while I was there in se Asia, there were still lots of people who wanted to kick out the ethnic Chinese. The attitude towards them was much the same as the treatment the Jews got for being 'good with money'. Look at what happened in the Solomon Islands a few months back. Both China and Taiwan airlifted Chinese people out of there because the crappy election results were being blamed on the Chinese somehow.

When reasoning with people they say things like "Yes, I know not all Japanese people are bad, but you know Japanese people are all crazy and want to destroy China."

Really no sense of irony or contradiction here whatsoever.
posted by taschenrechner at 8:48 PM on June 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


My friend from Hong Kong observed once that according to HK media that he recalled, Korean women were supposed to be good-looking and the men dangerous and tough. But he left HK as a kid.
posted by zadcat at 9:02 PM on June 20, 2006


My Chinese (Chinese-American in the sense that she's now a citizen, but not in the sense that she's ethnically Chinese and born American--she lived in Shenyang until just after her 18th birthday--long story) stepsister hates the Japanese. She tells me all Chinese people (in China) hate the Japanese people because they were put into camps by them in WWII, and that the hatred is taught and reinforced in Chinese schools (along with the "fact" that the famous incident in Tiananmen Square never happened aside from Western propaganda--she did her senior year in high school here and asked a history teacher about it, and spent the rest of an entire day crying after they showed her all the school's video footage of the incident).

What Asians in general believe about each other runs with the same stereotypes as anywhere. What many Chinese and North Koreans believe about other Asians is very much a product of what the government wants them to believe.
posted by Cricket at 9:02 PM on June 20, 2006


I live in Japan, and between the Chinese, and the Koreans, there's a lot of issues there for Japanese. On the one hand, most Japanese don't really give a toss, but like nightchrome said Japanese tend to think of Chinese as theives. There are a LOT of Chinese living in Japan now, and that number will get even bigger as time goes on, due to Japan's falling birthrate.

Japan is going through a Korean entertainment boom now, and lots of Korean actors and singers are big in Japan. At the same time, though, Korea makes wild claims about these small disputed islands in the Japan Sea (I forget the name of them). Most Japanese couldn't care less but Koreans tour the place en masse to show their patriotism and bascially say "This is ours!". For things like this, and crazy shit like Korean children's drawings of Japan being nuked and such makes many Japanese think Koreans are a bit....nutty, to put it mildly.

The hatred from China and Korea for Japan is obviously from WWII and very political. Whether or not it's justified is up to you. I think it is to a point, but often these folks go too far and defeat their own purpose and come off looking like loons.
posted by zardoz at 9:04 PM on June 20, 2006


Funny, I call Hong Kong people "Honkers". Light disclaimer, I'm Canadian Chinese from HK. Out of curiosity, I did a little research and found that HK's got a problem with racism.

I recall learning 10 years ago when I visited HK for the first time as an adult that Filipinos ended up with labour jobs... custodians, maids, etc. Kinda like US's latinos, if I may be permitted to stretch the stereotype.

But to answer your last question, I think some of these stereotypes survive in Western cultures. For instance my parents think that Indian people are lazy -- laziness comes up often as a stereotype, doesn't it -- always pointing out our Indian neighbour's unkept jungle of a yard and halfbaked attempts to mow the lawn.
posted by freakystyley at 9:10 PM on June 20, 2006


I once heard a chinese friend of my wife exclaim "Fucking asian drivers!" while in traffic.
posted by Jimbob at 9:18 PM on June 20, 2006


zardoz - Dokdo (Korean name) / Takeshima (Japanese name) is the island you mentioned.
There's also a lot of anger by Koreans at the name "Sea of Japan" and they insist on calling it the "East Sea".

As mentioned before, Koreans really don't like the Japanese after being occupied by them and forced to speak their language and everything a while back. They think Japanese are materialistic, evil, controlling, and, ironically, racist. They think of Chinese as boorish, loud, annoying, uncivilized, etc. I don't really know what they think of the more southern-Asian countries, but they don't like their dark skin.

Interesting side note, there's a big hulla-baloo over spelling Corea/Korea. Most Koreans are convinced that Japan changed the spelling to 'K' so that Japan would be first, alphabetically, for things like the olympics. This is not true.
posted by shokod at 9:54 PM on June 20, 2006


As a second generation Japanese American, I couldn't tell you much about attitudes toward other Asian ethnic groups within Japan itself although I have heard some generalizations of Japanese from different regions.

For instance, my father's side of the family came from Kyushu, the southernmost of the four main islands of Japan. The people from the area are known to be very stubborn and conservative. As it has been said, there is sometimes a little truth in a stereotype* and my father rarely tries new things, hates to travel and has his chauvinistic moments. This article, written by a westerner, covers some of the stereotypes Japanese people have of each other.

Speaking from personal experience, my father held some preconceived opinions of other Asian groups. He immigrated to the U.S. during his teens, so he had grown up in post-war Japan with negative views toward Koreans and Chinese without ever meeting a single person from either country. He was certainly surprised when a Japanese friend of his in the states had a Chinese friend.

My brother has a Chinese-American friend and my dad has said that 40 years ago he would never have thought such a thing would be possible.

His views have also softened in recent years, thanks to his interest in Korean dramas that zardoz and nightchrome mentioned. Recently he's made comments like, "Koreans have a lot of the same values as we do," and so on. (Though he does say that Koreans always sound like they're arguing when they talk. The same could probably be said of the Japanese by Koreans.) He's also been cheering for both the Japanese and the Korean teams in the World Cup.

My mother's Japanese friends, who have lived in the U.S. for several years, scoffed at the idea of enjoying anything made by Koreans until she finally got them to watch a couple of Korean soap operas. Now they're hooked.

Certainly, the ethnically Japanese people born in the U.S. that I know are much more open minded about other Asian Americans and ethnic groups in general.

*However, whatever truth there is in a stereotype about one group of people is also probably true about all people.
posted by shoseph at 10:11 PM on June 20, 2006


I've lived in SE Asia as an International Developmement Worker, and yeah there is racism between Asian cultures. I also remember stories in the Canadian media about some fighting, and even stabbings among Philipino and Vietnamese communities in Vancouver.

That said, white people do this too. I remember all kinds of name calling and ethnic jokes in my schoolyard in North America. The school was mostly white kids- and you could expect various slurs about Germans, Ukrainians, Italians, or Greeks for some odd reason. I can also clearly recall instances of middle class teachers shocked and trying to gently purge our vocabularies of the old-world antagonisms we'd picked up.

I self identify as Ukrainian, and I can clearly remember stupid jokes....
posted by Deep Dish at 10:13 PM on June 20, 2006


Pretty much everyone hates the Japanese, I can tell you that... As far as to what the stereotypes are, I'm not entirely sure.

The general rule of thumb is if country A has been invaded by country B in the past hundred years OR occupied them for more than a hundred years, country A hates country B. For example: The Vietnamese hate the Chinese because they were occupied by them for so long, the Cambodians hate the Vietnamese because they invaded in the late 70s (I think), and everyone hates the Japanese.
posted by borkingchikapa at 10:20 PM on June 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


YES. My Chinese friend hates Chinese girls ("fobs") and refuses to date them.
posted by knave at 10:28 PM on June 20, 2006


It is interesting (and possibly off topic) to note that while it is true that "everyone hates the Japanese", it is also true that everyone is envious of the Japanese and rampantly consumes Japanese culture the way the rest of the world consumes American culture.
posted by nightchrome at 10:32 PM on June 20, 2006


One exception is Taiwan, where the Japanese are generaly liked and the period of Japanese occumpation (1895-1945) remembered with a certain amount of nostalgia. Maybe the massacre by fellow-Chinese Nationalists in 1949 combined with the looming threat of mainland China makes the Japanese seem not so bad in comparison.

There's little prejudice against the Japanese in Hong Kong as well, other than amusement at their willingness to pay the sticker price.
posted by mono blanco at 11:12 PM on June 20, 2006


FOB is short for Fresh Off the Boat, and is contrasted with ABC or CBC, short for American- or Canadian-Born-Chinese normally, but I've heard other Asian pals (especially Indians and Pakistanis) use it (FOB) to refer to immigrants who stick to traditional ways in other countries.

I had a non-practicing Sikh Punjab pal (born in Canada) and who used to mock the FOB Sikhs who thought the furniture issue was important. There's a debate in the Sikh community over whether or not temples should have furniture or not. The debate's evidently really over whether or not all followers of Sikhism should be held as equal even if equality requires hardship, or whether the religion should adapt to modern times. At least one person's been killed over issues related to it.

Here's religioustolerance.org's take on the issue.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 12:31 AM on June 21, 2006


My boyfriend (Korean) claims there is a general hierarchy of Asian with Japan at the top, continental asians in the middle, and island asians at the bottom. Asians higher on the hierarchy are racist about the lower ones, and asians lower on the hierarchy are bitter about the whole thing. With regard to stereotypes, those lower on the hierarchy are bumpkins (think Chun-Li in Street Fighter, a Japanese game) and those higher are imperialists.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 1:17 AM on June 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


The answer to this question is, yes, they do. And so do most people in any other region anywhere else in the world.

Because I don't know that much about Asia.

Asian countries are becoming more powerful and prominent on the world stage. I think that their cultures will become more influential in the coming decades and so, I'd like to know a little more about those cultures, including not-very-savory things like national and regional stereotypes.


I'm Japanese, and this thread saddens me immensely. If you don't know about Asia, and are curious about it, there is nothing to be gained by asking about the stereotypical images that the people of one country hold regarding the people of another (or within different regions of one country). So you've learned now from this thread that "all Asians hate the Japanese"; fine, so what real meaningful fact about Japan or Asia have you learned from that?
If I were to ask, "I'm Asian, and don't know anything about America. I'd like to know more about the culture there. So what are some of the stereotypes do people hold against one another there? Do black people in state A make rude jokes about black people in state B? Do (some) gay people think that all Jewish people are like (X, Y and Z)?" the thread would probably be deleted in a flash. This question reads that way to me. (/rant)
posted by misozaki at 2:29 AM on June 21, 2006 [5 favorites]


Yes, this is a bizarre discussion. Asian? Asia? There is no more, possibly less commonality between Asians than there is between Europeans. Epicanthic folds do not breed comity any more than pale skin.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:36 AM on June 21, 2006


I live and work in Southern China and virtually all of my colleagues are Chinese. In my experience, there are tons of stereotypes that some but not all Chinese people have about other Asian nations as well as other provinces within China, but they are not taken too seriously. It's human nature for people to talk trash about one another, even if only in jest.

As mentioned above, many have something at least a little hateful to say about the Japanese. This one is the dark exception - generally not in jest.

People from Hong Kong are often considered arrogant, condescending, and materialistic by folks from the mainland. (Flip side: HK people are also considered sophisticated, if a bit effete, as well as very professionally capable and excellent with finances.)

People in the countryside are often considered coarse, rude, and ignorant in a kind of bumpkin way. (Flip side: peasants are the salt of the Earth, honest and trustworthy, unfairly oppressed by others.)

People from Shanghai are considered to care about nothing but money and grasping for status, and they are decadent; their town is filled with homosexuals, foreigners, and other undesirable types, etc, etc. (Flip side: Shanghai people are ambitious, quick thinking, cosmopolitan but still know their roots, etc, etc.)

People from Northeastern China (excluding Beijing, sort of) are sometimes booksmart or know a lot about classical or cultural things but they are easily duped and out of touch. Also, many are supposed to be annoyingly self-righteous about being morally or culturally superior to the people from the fast-talking double-dealing South. (Flip side: NE people are straight-talking, honest, moral folk who work hard for themselves and others.)

There are others, about various ethnic minorities that are also quite mixed and reflect the difficult, often painful history of minorities in China. One proverb of the Mosuo ethnic group of Yunnan goes, "there are no white crows and no good Han." (Han is the ethnicity that makes up the vast majority of the Chinese population.) But that's another story.

I don't get the idea that any of these provinicial stereotypes are very seriously believed. I've never met anyone who really thinks that ALL Shanghai people are two-faced money-mad pirates. Pretty much the same as anywhere, I guess. And, of course, the most amusing and/or insulting are all the stereotypes that some Chinese have about foreigners, like me, from the West...
posted by Adam White at 2:39 AM on June 21, 2006 [3 favorites]


It's already been mentioned that the Korean boom is on its way out, but even when it was at its height, it had very little to do with how individual Koreans in Japan were viewed. People may have loved the Korean dramas on TV and various young Korean pop artists, but they would probably still be horrified if their children announced intentions to marry a Korean. It's similar to the attitude towards gays in Japan; many Americans familiar with Japanese entertainment may think that the Japanese are becoming very accepting towards gays, because there are so many gay characters in anime and manga, and also many flamboyantly gay celebrities on tv. However, most Japanese people, when asked, will deny that gays even EXIST in Japan, and it's extremely uncommon for gays here to openly admit their orientation, because it's extremely discriminated against. And yet people love their gay celebrities on TV. It's the same with the Koreans.

Also, Koreans born in Japan, with Japanese names and families, who often can't even speak Korean but are born from an originally Korean line, are still required to carry foreigner identification, and have difficulty with travel visas and other things. They do not have the rights of a normal Japanese citizen, even if they are generations separated from Korea. I'm not sure about other Asian countries, but I believe there are similar problems.
posted by emmling at 4:38 AM on June 21, 2006


I actually think its a fair question to ask about the negative stereotypes amongst Asian countries. Why? Because often this leads to learning about past events between the two societies which then will shed light on present and possible future events. I doubt this poster could have known that Japan invaded and seized Korea as a colony for thirty years prior to the Second World war. This is an important, if not the most important, factor in the relationship between the two nations and peoples.

The same goes for China and Japan. Since 1895 to 1945, Japan has fought belligerent wars in China, and pursued opportunistic policies to claim land and resouces. The Chinese didn't hate the Japanese with the expansion in 1937, but for years of fending off the Japanese.

Question on stereotypes are important, because they can and do reflect the national level decisions and actions of the countries involved. If someone was visiting the southern states of America, I think it would be very important to stress the background of racism that existed and still does in limited form between whites and blacks.

What is critical is not just discussing stereotypes, but making sure to accurately relate the level of prejudice as it exists. Clarifying that your average Chinese won't grab the nearest spoon and gouge out the eyes of a visiting Japanese businessman on sight goes a long way as well towards informing the uninformed.
posted by Atreides at 5:26 AM on June 21, 2006


And while I was there in se Asia, there were still lots of people who wanted to kick out the ethnic Chinese. The attitude towards them was much the same as the treatment the Jews got for being 'good with money'.

My grandfather studied business in SE Asia in the 1950s (later worked in Taiwan and the Philippines), and came across the phrase, "The Chinese are the Jews of the Orient." A pretty concise 1950s Anglo view on things.

YES. My Chinese friend hates Chinese girls ("fobs") and refuses to date them.

Well, who knows what that means, I have friends who are Jewish who don't date their coreligionists of the opposite gender, but they attribute it to habits and characteristics they perceive.

I have a very good friend who's Filipina who believes that Asians are sneaky. I suspect that's an idiosyncratic view, but who knows.
posted by ibmcginty at 5:50 AM on June 21, 2006


In Malaysia:
(note: none of this I believe in)

Malays
- Live off the government
- Wants everyone else to be Muslim or gone
- Conservative
- The One True Race (there's a lot of political stuff about Bumiputeras and affirmative action and all that)
- Farmers, but would be better off if it weren't for Those Darn Chinese

Chinese
- Business people
- Stole businesses and wealth from the Malays
- Care about money only
- Trying to usurp the sovereignity of the Malays
- Top of the class

Indians
- Rubber tappers
- Poor
- Uneducated
- Often ignored

Eurasians
- Snobbish
- "Western"ised
- Immoral
- Rich
- Haughty (hoity-toity?)

Indigenous tribes
- Poor
- Assimilated into Malay

Bangladeshis (in Malaysia)
- Thieves
- Wife-stealers
- Poor
- Illegal
- Dirty
- Stupid

Indonesians (in Malaysia)
- Illegal
- Thieves
- Criminals
- Identity thieves

Filipinos (in Malaysia)
- Maids

Singaporeans (didn't matter what race you are)
- Showoffs
- Not as nice as the Malaysians
- Rivals
- Western wannabes
- Troublemakers

There's a line in Malaysian movie Spinning Gasing which goes along the lines of "Why do the Malays get all the glory, the Chinese get all the money, and the Indians get nothing?"
posted by divabat at 6:24 AM on June 21, 2006


emmling : "However, most Japanese people, when asked, will deny that gays even EXIST in Japan"

I'm sorry, but: huh? Pretty much everyone in Japan knows of the ni-chome area of Shinjuku (a famous gay area of town). Everyone knows that there are gay books and gay comic books. I see no evidence whatsoever that most Japanese would deny gays exist in Japan. That statement strikes me as almost surreal.

emmling : "Also, Koreans born in Japan, with Japanese names and families, who often can't even speak Korean but are born from an originally Korean line, are still required to carry foreigner identification, and have difficulty with travel visas and other things. They do not have the rights of a normal Japanese citizen, even if they are generations separated from Korea."

Well, that's a tricky issue. The reason is because they are legally Koreans, and therefore not Japanese, and therefore must carry foreigner identification, and have only the same rights as other foreigners in Japan. If they become Japanese (which is very simple for them), then they would no longer be legally Korean, and therefore not have to carry foreigner identification, and would have all the rights of a normal Japanese citizen. However, due to ethnic pride and/or family pressure, most choose not to become Japanese citizens. I'm not saying it's a bad thing that they choose not to become citizens, but there isn't much contradiction in a person who chooses to not become a citizen being treated as a non-citizen.
posted by Bugbread at 6:39 AM on June 21, 2006


yeah, i know lots of out gay people in Japan. I'm sure there is discrimination, especially at the employment/housing/political level, but there's a lot of tolerance there, too.
posted by dydecker at 6:55 AM on June 21, 2006


All the replies here are interesting in that while a lost of people are essentially telling the truth a lot of them are also spinning their answers a little to make one race seem like the victim.

I would find it hard to believe that any country doesn't have stereotypes about another. And yes, lots of Asian countries have a great deal of animosity toward Japan as a result of Japan's colonial endeavors in the 1900s. I've always gotten the impression though that these negative feelings were mostly perpetuated by older generations while the younger generations had some of the animosity their parents instilled in them yet loved the popular culture of their neighboring countries.

As for the person who said that Korea and China hate Japan but Japan doesn't care about Korea and China, that's ridiculous. Read: Ugly Images of Asian Rivals Become Best Sellers in Japan from the NY Times.
posted by blim8183 at 7:13 AM on June 21, 2006


knave : "YES. My Chinese friend hates Chinese girls ("fobs") and refuses to date them." (thanks for the nice formatting, bugbread :P)

Funny, I lived by the same rule although I also refused to date CBCs (Canadian-Born Chinese) 'cause I perceived them as spoiled consumerist princesses. That is, until I met my current girlfriend :P.

In retrospect, this is probably because most Honkers who leave HK tend to end up with lots of dough when they sell their realestate in HK. So naturally, their kids end up with some of this dough too... and we all know what happens when kids get too much money at an early age: spoiled consumerist brats!... mostly :P.
posted by freakystyley at 7:24 AM on June 21, 2006


bugbread: Well, that's a tricky issue. The reason is because they are legally Koreans, and therefore not Japanese, and therefore must carry foreigner identification, and have only the same rights as other foreigners in Japan. If they become Japanese (which is very simple for them), then they would no longer be legally Korean, and therefore not have to carry foreigner identification, and would have all the rights of a normal Japanese citizen. However, due to ethnic pride and/or family pressure, most choose not to become Japanese citizens. I'm not saying it's a bad thing that they choose not to become citizens, but there isn't much contradiction in a person who chooses to not become a citizen being treated as a non-citizen.

I think the issue in question is why are they legally a Korean citizen if they generations seperated from their Korean ancestory? If the person speaks Japanese, was born in Japan, and has a Japanese family, he's more Japanese than he is Korean. So then why should the little Korean blood that's in him single him out and deny him citizenship?
posted by blim8183 at 7:24 AM on June 21, 2006


blim8183 : "So then why should the little Korean blood that's in him single him out and deny him citizenship?"

It doesn't.

Let me put it this way: I'm a white guy, living in Japan. My wife is Japanese. But let's pretend that she was American, same as me. If we had a kid, that kid would be American, since neither of us was Japanese. If he chose to, he could get Japanese citizenship, but it wouldn't be automatic. What would be automatic was his being American. Now, let's say he doesn't become a Japanese, but retains his American citizenship instead. Now he meets another American raised in Japan, and they marry, and have a kid. That kid (my grandkid) will also be an American automatically. My grandkid could get a Japanese citizenship, but instead doesn't. And my grandkid meets another American grandkid, and they marry, and now my great-grandchild is born. At this point, I'm dead. My greatgrandchild was born in Japan and speaks only Japanese. His parents were also born in Japan and speak only Japanese. And their parents were also born in Japan and spoke Japanese and kinda some English.

That's the situation. There is nothing preventing my great-grandkid from becoming a Japanese. He's generations separated from his American ancestry. He speaks Japanese, and was born in Japan. Admittedly, he doesn't have a Japanese family name, but that's because America was never a Japanese colony, so I didn't get my name forcibly changed. But besides that, the situation is the same. He's more Japanese than he is American. But it isn't his blood that "singles him out and denies him citizenship", it is that he chooses not to become a citizen. Nothing wrong with that, but it's his choice, not institutional Japanese government racism. And, surprise surprise, since he's an American citizen, not a Japanese citizen, the government treats him like...an American citizen, not a Japanese citizen. If he were to naturalize, the government would treat him like a Japanese citizen, not an American citizen (how the man on the street would treat him is a totally different issue, of course).

That's the situation with long-generation Koreans living in Japan. They aren't treated by the government as Japanese citizens because they aren't Japanese citizens, and the reason they aren't Japanese citizens isn't because of blood or whathaveyou, but because, for better or for worse, they chose not to be Japanese citizens.

blim8183 : "As for the person who said that Korea and China hate Japan but Japan doesn't care about Korea and China, that's ridiculous."

Well, it is and it isn't. I think it should probably have been phrased "Japan, as a whole, doesn't care nearly as much about Korea or China as Korea and China care about Japan". After all, Korea has laws banning Japanese TV, movies, music, etc. China has protests where people throw rocks at Japanese companies. Japan has job, housing, and marriage discrimination, as well as a few bestselling books. Japanese, especially the older generation, might not care for Chinese or Koreans, but they don't care about it nearly as much.
posted by Bugbread at 7:57 AM on June 21, 2006


Ah ok, that clears some stuff up. Thanks. But, my understand of the original question was the Korean/Japanese person in question just had a relative that was Korean and that everyone else in the family was actually Japanese. I must've misread the question.
posted by blim8183 at 7:59 AM on June 21, 2006


Now, let's say he doesn't become a Japanese, but retains his American citizenship instead. Now he meets another American raised in Japan, and they marry, and have a kid. That kid (my grandkid) will also be an American automatically.

If you were talking about Japanese kids in the US that might be true, or Irish or German, but that's not true of the uS. Babies born outside of the US still need to be naturalized before they're citizens, and that becomes more difficult as generations go on. There's no concept of an "ethnic" American as far as U.S. immigration law.
posted by delmoi at 8:11 AM on June 21, 2006


YES! Heh. Two anecdotes—
I had Taiwanese neighbors (Paul and Leilei) who shared their place with another guy (whose name I forget). When we had Paul and Leilei over, I asked about the other roommate. You know, what's he like?
"He's... Chinese," Paul said, like it summed up everything you needed to know about what an utter moron and yobbo his roommate was. While it made sense that Taiwan and the mainland would have prejudices, I never came across it so openly before Paul. He also held a fair number of what seemed to me like totally bizarre prejudices that I haven't heard of in other places, like calling Koreans "Little Chinese" and alledging that Koreans were all shorter and dirtier than mainlanders (though apparently, they were smarter and more noble).
The other story is from when I worked at a Kinkos (third shift) that was right next to our college town's only real disco/club. Wednesday nights were known as "the Asian invasion" by the police, who were out there almost every Wednesday night, as Asian night was by far the most violent night of the week. Apparently, the place was flooded by "gangs" of American kids of Asian descent whose ancestry traced back to different cities/regions/countries, and who just wanted to brawl. Because of the overflow, I was always hearing loud discussions about how Chinese from Toronto couldn't be trusted, but Chinese from Vancouver were cool, but only if they were originally from Szechuan or whatever. There was such an intricate web to these second generation prejudices that I was never able to work them all out. Like, Californians were supposed to be the troublemakers because apparently some Chinese ethnic minority had moved there and "polluted" it or something.
For a white clerk, it all seemed totally surreal.

I also remember a poll from a couple years back that proved that Asians were the most likely to agree with racist statements (though I remember thinking then that this was just because white people had learned what the "right" answer to these questions were).
posted by klangklangston at 8:15 AM on June 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Blim8183: No problem.

FYI, my wife is Japanese, but her dad was Korean, and her mom Japanese, so while I don't know how hard getting citizenship is, I do know for sure that having Korean blood is not an impenetrable obstacle.
posted by Bugbread at 8:16 AM on June 21, 2006


I realize that intellectually, the idea of saying that many Japanese people deny the existence of gays is surreal. I wish it were as surreal as it sounds. And perhaps I misspoke that "most" Japanese people say this. But I have lived in Japan for years now and have spoken to MANY people that deny that gays exist. They know about gay bars; they know about nichome, etc., and yet when the subject of gays come up, sometimes they just stare blankly and say, "But this is Japan!" as if that somehow automatically means that all talk of homosexuality is entirely irrelevant. I've had friends who KNOW I have gay friends in Japan who STILL say to my face that there are no gays in Japan. Whether they can see proof of it around them and whether they are willing to admit it are two entirely different things, it seems. I'm not trying to paint anyone out as a victim; I have many tolerant friends here as well. But the majority of the people around me are either entirely ignorant about homosexuality in Japan or purposefully deny its existence. One guy I know here thinks that all gay males are actually females inside.

I apologize as this has very little to do with the original question; I just wanted to address the question raised about my comment. Please also note that I'm living in Nara, which doesn't really have any notable gay districts, and attitudes may be quite different in more urban places, although even in Osaka I've come across this mindset pretty frequently.
posted by emmling at 8:17 AM on June 21, 2006


Delmoi: Thanks, I wasn't aware of that.
posted by Bugbread at 8:18 AM on June 21, 2006


I had Taiwanese neighbors (Paul and Leilei) who shared their place with another guy (whose name I forget). When we had Paul and Leilei over, I asked about the other roommate. You know, what's he like? "He's... Chinese," Paul said, like it summed up everything you needed to know about what an utter moron and yobbo his roommate was.

Oh man, that reminds me of one time when I was talking to a Chinese girl and the topic of taiwan came up. She told us that in Taiwan human fetuses were a delicacy! She was totally straight-faced the whole time. And she was so blasé about it, like the idea didn't bother her at all. Later on she came close to dumping her boyfriend for a Taiwanese guy.
posted by delmoi at 8:19 AM on June 21, 2006


emmling: I'm curious if it's a regional thing. I lived in Kyushu for a while, and while I never discussed the issue, I would be less surprised by a statement like that there. In Tokyo, it's pretty much unthinkable.
posted by Bugbread at 8:20 AM on June 21, 2006


delmoi : "She told us that in Taiwan human fetuses were a delicacy!"

Delmoi, she's not the only one who thought that. There's a whole page on Snopes about it.
posted by Bugbread at 8:22 AM on June 21, 2006


"I never thought I would ever buy anything Korean."

Samsung plasma is pretty fucking awesome for the price
posted by matteo at 8:22 AM on June 21, 2006


and LG's pretty cheap
posted by matteo at 8:22 AM on June 21, 2006


Side note. I looked it up. A child would be entitled to citizenship, but a grandchild would only be entitled to citizenship if one of the parents resided in the united states for some amount of time. If only one parent is a citizen, then that parent had to have lived in the US for at least one year. And there are more little catches for other situations.
posted by delmoi at 8:29 AM on June 21, 2006


Delmoi: I knew about the requirements for first-generation (because, hey, that's my son we're talking about), but not for additional generations. And, go figure, you looked it up on the page that I've been looking at probably once a week for the last few months. But it looks like it's not "living in the US for one year", but 5 years, 2 or more of which are post age 14, before the baby is born.
posted by Bugbread at 8:52 AM on June 21, 2006


Mainland Chinese people don't view stereotypes as negatively as westerners (of course this is a stereotype itself). Usually these are harmless things like "Germans are handsome, "Americans have lots of money," "girls form sichuan are spicy," or "girls from the Yangtze delta are gentle."

Sometimes they are self promoting, for instance people from the city of Wenzhou call themselves "the Jews of China" because they consider themselves to be so good at business.

Some common negative stereotypes are the people from Henan province are liars and thieves, this also goes for the Muslim minorities from the west of China.

For some strange reason, When Chinese people talk about African people they always seem to make a joke about how bright their teeth are at night. Maybe because of "Darkie toothpaste."

these are all generalizations as well, of course not every Chinese person thinks this way
posted by afu at 9:52 AM on June 21, 2006


Shampoo, anyone?

There is a section of a story in John Varley's Blue Champagne that deals with inter-Asian stereotyping. I specifically remember the phrase: "the Chinese are the Jews of the Orient."

Anecdotally, the Chinese stir-fry cook in one of the dining halls on campus used to always tell my next-door neighbor (on campus) and good friend's sister to leave her Korean boyfriend (she was also Chinese, of Taiwanese parents, if that matters) because he would beat her. This would lead to us having horribly un-PC "Korean Marriage Battles" in SoulCalibur, between the male and female Korean character; not lampooning Koreans for being wifebeaters (my aunt is Koreana), but more the Chinese stereotype, which my Chinese-American friends did not share.
posted by Eideteker at 10:05 AM on June 21, 2006


I want to follow up with something klangklangston said that jibes with my experience : that is, that people in the US don't respond with racist comments (to a survey) because they have "learned" the right answers. I was in Beijing for awhile and heard a few unusual things. One fellow, in a conversation, assured me that "Chinese people love Americans. It's just the Japanese that we don't like." I was vaguely aware of military/colonial conflicts between the two, but this still caught me off-guard.

What I decided, after hearing a few more things, was not that Chinese people had more prejudice than Americans, but rather that there is not a strong cultural force there that encourages people to think differently about "race", or more likely, to hide their ideas. I've just encountered too many prejudiced folks here in the US, who would wait for a quiet moment to let slip that they didn't like black people (often said in codes, such as the time a business associate said she left her neighborhood when it "darkened" too much). I think we have much more well-intentioned, cultural pressure to, at the very least, express openness, rather than actually less-racist people, per se.

It helped too that I mostly talked to college students in Beijing who were very open and welcoming in their attitudes to outsiders (non-Beijingers, Japanese, Americans, British, etc.). And, I think, as has been alluded to upthread, increasing global trade of culture (such as manga and anime here in the US) encourages the younger generations to be more open.
posted by Slothrop at 10:18 AM on June 21, 2006


Reading this entire list of stereotypes, you could replace almost all the Asian nations with different racial/cultural groups in the US. Asia is defined as "Asia" mostly by Westerners--in America, "asian" can mean anyone from India across China to Japan down to the Pacific Islanders. In Great Britain I believe, "asian" means Indian and Pakistani, and East Asian folks are labeled differently.

The way this question was phrased strikes me as pretty naive in assuming Asia is this monolithic entity. Certainly a typical American would be offended if you thought they're basically the same as a Mexican person. Not necessarily being racist, just because everyone has national/ethnic pride, and define themselves in part by what they are not. Geez, even in every American city you have stereotypes based on which part of the town someone's from, so of course Asians have stereotypes about each other, especially since most don't consider themselves part of a larger whole that's supposed to be united in some way.
posted by lychee at 12:48 PM on June 21, 2006


I lived in Malaysia for a year, and I found that one of the only things that the dominant cultures could agree on was their stereotypes of each other.

The Chinese and Indians thought that Malays were lazy, prone to living on government handouts rather than actually working, fundamentalists.

The Indians and Malays thought then Chinese were compulsive overworkers who cared more about making a buck than about spending any time with their kids.

The Malays and Chinese thought that the Indians were lazy, dirty and smelly and had way more kids than they could afford to have.

None of these are true, of course, but they are typical of the kind of conflict in Malaysia. For instance, government jobs are reserved for Malays, and a pretty large chunk of university spaces are as well. Chinese and Indian Malaysians often resent this. On the other hand, (from my experience as a Rotary Exchange Student) most Rotarians were Chinese, because most wealthy Malaysians are Chinese. They are often business people and hire Indonesian/Philippino maids to care for their kids. This could be what underlies the stereotype that they are money-obsessed. Lastly, Indians are generally known the world over as being very family-focused, often living in intergenerational homes. Combine this with the fact that Indians don't have the government benefits that Malays do, or the business connections that Chinese do, and you often end up with large families in small homes.

Keep in mind that my explanation is very stereotyping as well, but I think it demonstrates the underlying factors for the dominant stereotypes that I listed above.
posted by arcticwoman at 1:33 PM on June 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Lychee: And it's nice to have a forum to correct such naivete. And in any case, they could presume there was stereotyping, but have no idea of the substance until they read this thread.

Hell, I'm amazed when American-born Asians of all stripes tout "Asian Pride" or whatnot. It's nice that they like their second generation suburban friends, but they do know there's plenty of real recent history, don't they?
posted by Mercaptan at 1:44 PM on June 21, 2006


emmling --from my recent trip to Tokyo and the people i met at gay bars, many weren't out to the world the way we are in the US, and most didn't even think it important to be out or public about it at all. It really was only those who were more outspoken in general who were out, i found (although that was just a week's worth of barhopping)

Ni-chome is in no way a Christopher St./Chelsea/Castro kind of neighborhood (just a little cruising, and some small flags/signs).
posted by amberglow at 4:29 PM on June 21, 2006


articwoman's a lot more concise than I am. (Where in Malaysia were you, and when?)

I think the issue in question is why are they legally a Korean citizen if they generations seperated from their Korean ancestory? If the person speaks Japanese, was born in Japan, and has a Japanese family, he's more Japanese than he is Korean. So then why should the little Korean blood that's in him single him out and deny him citizenship?

I might also be misintepreting the situation, but Japan might be similar to Malaysia in that they don't have a jus soli system - children born there aren't automatically citizens.

For example, my parents migrated to Malaysia from Bangladesh some 30+ years ago; I was born in Malaysia. Had my parents been permanent residents then, I'd be an automatic citizen. However, my parents were foreigners when I was born, so that made me a foreigner too.

I've lived here, I studied here, I'm practically a Malaysian...but due to citizenship law and how the whole process of permanent residency and citizenship and such works, I am still a Bangladeshi citizen and a Malaysian PR.
posted by divabat at 6:04 PM on June 21, 2006


Wow.

This is my first item. I had no idea I'd get this kind of response!

Very educational. Very enlightening in more ways than one.

I don't have much to add except for a hearty "Thank You!" to everyone who took the time to share experiences and knowledge.

But in closing I would like to address this comment:

I'm Japanese, and this thread saddens me immensely. If you don't know about Asia, and are curious about it, there is nothing to be gained by asking about the stereotypical images that the people of one country hold regarding the people of another (or within different regions of one country). So you've learned now from this thread that "all Asians hate the Japanese"; fine, so what real meaningful fact about Japan or Asia have you learned from that?

I'm terribly sorry that you've taken offense. None was intended. None at all.

That said, I couldn't disagree with you more. I think that there's a lot to be gained by learning about stereotypes. Stereotypes are subtle cultural codes that guide human behavior. Do you think, for example, that it's possible to understand American society without reference to anti-Black racism? It's pretty damn meaningful in American life. It influences our behavior in so many ways, petty and not-so-petty.


Anyway, a huge thank you to everyone who's contributed. I had to stop marking best answers because there were just too many of them.
posted by jason's_planet at 6:31 PM on June 21, 2006


divabat writes "I might also be misintepreting the situation, but Japan might be similar to Malaysia in that they don't have a jus soli system - children born there aren't automatically citizens."

Exactly. I believe that the system is that anyone born to a Japanese parent (even if it's not both parents) is automatically Japanese, regardless of location of birth, and beyond that regular naturalization is the only way to become Japanese. Just being born in Japan doesn't give one citizenship. Also, Japan only recognizes dual citizenship for minors; when you become an adult, you have to choose which to keep.
posted by Bugbread at 7:36 PM on June 21, 2006


What Kyrgyz think of:

Uighur:
shifty, salesmen, cheaters

Dungan:
farmers, good cooks, illiterates

Chechen, Lezgen, et al:
mafiosi, thieves, killers

Korean:
smart, rich, great looting targets

Uzbek:
women are hard workers but ugly; men, see Uighur above
posted by Meatbomb at 8:00 PM on June 21, 2006


Imagine my surprise when somehow her cellphone came up and she - this cosmopolitan chick who speaks several languages - said "I never thought I would ever buy anything Korean."

I'm having trouble imagining your surprise. Sounds like she of all people would know what she's talking about.
posted by bingo at 8:45 PM on June 21, 2006


The "ethnic group X considers pickled human fetus a delicacy" urban legend also popped up in mainland China. A couple of my more credulous coworkers were passing around a forwarded e-mail from Suzhou replete with hideous photographic "evidence."

Naturally, in this instance of the tall tale, the baby eaters were not Taiwanese but Japanese.

I translated a good bit of the Snopes page for them.
posted by Adam White at 1:52 AM on June 22, 2006


jason's_planet: No offense taken. One thing I like about the Metafilter community is that almost any topic will be discussed intelligently and fairly, and much of what people have said above (about stereotypes related to Japan and the Japanese at least) are true. But I still think throwing around stereotypes just reinforces them, and that words like "hate" should be used with caution.
Like people have said above, the root of most of the stereotypes re the Japanese are deeply ingrained in what the Japanese army did during a war that ended over 60 years ago. As someone who never experienced that war or much of its aftermath for that matter, it gets pretty tiring to hear how much everyone still hates us because the government did (and is still doing) a shitty job in terms of admitting to its war crimes and apologizing. On the other hand, it could be argued that Japan has done more than enough in terms of compensation in the form of monetary aid to China (74bn yen ($658m) this year alone, according to this article) and other countries, food aid to North Korea (an old article, but here) and aid in other forms such as assistance in the laying down of infrastructure in Vietnam (my brother is there right now doing this) or inventing robots that detect and remove landmines in places like Cambodia. But it's never enough, we've always been and always will be the bad guys of Asia and it's okay to hate us no matter what we do. The argument goes both ways, and is a complicated and sensitive political issue, which unfortunately probably won't be resolved anytime soon, if ever.

Or take the gay issue being discussed above, which is a Japanese-Japanese stereotype. What emmling said about gays being denied existence might be true where she lives, and what bugbread said about them here in Tokyo might also be true. Japan is a very discriminatory society in terms of intolerance towards people who "stand out" in all kinds of different ways so gay people probably easily fall right under that broad category. But that doesn't say anything about the fact that Japan used to be very open about male-male homosexuality during the Tokugawa Shogunate, and that it was even celebrated as being a form of spiritual bond between one man and another. Only after the Meiji Reformation (about 140 years ago) and the importing of Western culture did homosexuality become taboo. A quick googling turns up all kinds of interesting arcticles in English re this subject, if anybody's interested. e.g.

I should get a blog. Sorry for the long comment.
posted by misozaki at 4:36 AM on June 22, 2006


The "ethnic group X considers pickled human fetus a delicacy" urban legend also popped up in mainland China.

Maybe that specific variation, but the legend of 'ethnic group X eats babies' has a long history in the west as well.
posted by bingo at 8:04 AM on June 22, 2006


Well, Koreans are seen as lazy, drunk, gambling, and fist-fighting. Also, super American in the whole 1950s baseball and apple pie and nuclear family sense. And as people already mentioned, there's hostility between Japan and Korea (though I think it's sometimes overemphasized, especially concerning younger folks).

There's also the whole "Korean girls are sloppy seconds to Japanese girls" thing, but that's a white boy thing, so a bit off topic...

There's also a stereotype that Filipinos are the most attractive and fun. But that might be through my Asian American lens as well.

(It goes without saying, but I don't buy these stereotypes, just reporting what I hear and experience...)
posted by ifjuly at 11:29 AM on June 22, 2006


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