We know that most people can't distinguish Asian people from each other, however, there are some tiny details that can help you figure out if someone is Japanese, Chinese, or Korean. In this post, instead of focusing only on the aspects of the Japanese language and culture, we will have a look at some common physical features of Japanese people as well as the most popular Japanese names and nicknames.
Japanese roots are mixed but it is known that they have largely originated from southeast Asia and Indonesia. In history, during the country’s Sakoku 鎖国 (1633-1639) which is a self-imposed embargo period where no outsiders were allowed in the country at all, Japan had not had lots of migrations, and for this reason, they are quite homogenous nowadays, with little genetic influence from other places. That's why their genetics have stayed the same for centuries and as a result of this Japanese people have similar appearances to each other.
China is a huge country with many different minorities and different genetics. The Han people, which are the majority in China, trace their roots to North China, however, China consists of various minorities from Mongolia, the Middle East, and Russia. Therefore, their appearances vary depending on the region of the country.
It is widely accepted that Korean origins can be traced back to early settlements in South China and Taiwan. However, the three countries have been isolated in recent history, and as a result, each has a homogenous society. Their languages are completely different, so are their appearances.
This blog post focuses on some differences and similarities of these three nationalities, and some tips for when you meet an Asian person for the first time which could give you an idea of where they are from. Hopefully, you won't mistake people for the wrong ethnicity from now on, or at least you will be able to tell whether they are Japanese or not.
Japanese people are similar to the Chinese and Korean people in terms of skin color type. It is hard to say what color is their skin since it changes according to which region they come from. For example, people from northern Japan such as Hokkaido where the climate is cold tend to have a paler skin tone, but in southern areas such as Okinawa where it is hot and tropical, people can have darker skin tone.
Studies have shown that their skin is more resistant to aging than most western and European people. Their skin looks like porcelain and it tends to be clear and smooth. However, their skin type can be more sensitive to the environment, especially chemicals and strong skin products. For this reason, Japanese people prefer to use more natural ingredients in their beauty products which helps women maintain undamaged and healthy skin as they get older. We can observe the same case in Korea.
Of course, it is heavily based on people's lifestyles, but genetics still has an important role when it comes to body type. However, it is observed that people from Japan tend to be relatively shorter and slimmer compared to people from other countries. For example, the average height for men in Japan is 171.2cm (5′ 7.4″) compared to 178.2cm (5′ 10.2″) in the USA.
People from these three nationalities may look similar but there are a few differences in their facial features. The Japanese face is generally longer and wider, while the Korean face has a more sculpted jaw and higher cheekbones. And the Han Chinese have a rounder face.
When it comes to their eyes, Japanese eyes are described as bigger and angled downwards, contrary to the Chinese eyes which are angled upwards. Koreans often have smaller eyes. But again, this is just a generalization and they can vary from one person to another.
It may be easier for you to tell whether a person is Japanese, Korean, or Chinese by just looking at the way they dress. Japanese people prefer to wear plain and clean. They don't like standing out. Of course, I'm excluding the Harajuku fashion style while generalizing this.
Unlike the Japanese, most Korean people like wearing bright and more colorful clothes. They like standing out with their dressing style.
Chinese people tend to be quite mixed, they are influenced by Japanese fashion and western-style clothing. Also, Chinese young people are highly influenced by Japanese street fashion.
Japanese women prefer neutral tones in makeup in order to have a natural-looking like no makeup-makeup style. There are also some extreme makeup trends such as Ganguro (ガングロ) but they are not long-lasting, they just come and go.
Chinese girls prefer the smoky look and red lipstick, whereas Korean women prefer the straight-brow look. But again, every person is unique, so these preferences can vary and are not set in stone.
Japanese names don't only sound cool but also they have pretty meanings. While some Japanese names can be written with kanji characters, some Japanese names are written with hiragana characters. A Japanese name can have more than one meaning, but we tried to show you the most common ones. We have listed the most popular first names for boys and girls.
By nickname, we mean the titles we use to call or refer to someone in daily life, not the nicknames that you use in online games. For example, you rarely call your spouse by his/her name, but you use a nickname like 'honey'. So, we have gathered the most commonly used nicknames in Japanese.
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