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Why do the majority of anime characters look white/Caucasian?
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Posted 7/23/14 , edited 7/23/14

elan7aad10 wrote:

Come to think of it, I wonder why Japanese people use so many Japanese words and phrases. They must be all fans of Japanese culture after all.


???
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Posted 7/23/14
Well, a Japanese person explained to me that Japanese people include English in songs and use English words because it is "cool". Anime characters didn't strike any Japanese person I knew as "white" though.

Well, except for characters like this
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Posted 7/23/14

Dubnoman wrote:


baofu wrote:

The short answer is because Tezuka drew them that way, and he was influenced by early Disney and Fleicher cartoons.



Only poster to get it right so far. I read parts of that link from second post...I think the person (in the link) was just making up stuff.


What I once heard, when someone else asked this question, is that when the Japanese animation industry was beginning, several years after the end of WW II (when Japan was rebuilding as a nation), the people building the foundation of Japanese animation decided to make the characters be white and have bigger eyes (than realistic portrayals of people) because they were mimicking Disney animation (and apparently other types of American animation). With humbleness being a big part of Japanese culture, it was meant as a way to pay some respect to the Americans, who defeated Japan in WW II (and later showed mercy to a defeated Japan). That is what was explained to me before. Anime characters being white-looking characters by default (as there are black and other dark skinned characters in anime, too) ended up becoming the standard.


Or, may be, they actually used anime to encipher secret messages of imperial resurgence powers, and with most data encoded in characters eyes, those had to be quite big to accommodate for the polite Japanese letter style.
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Posted 7/23/14

Lowlights wrote:


Raimu4 wrote:

Because its the master race


Nice try Stormfront


How do you know what Stormfront is?
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20 / M / Eng Land
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Posted 7/23/14
I find it kind of funny that anime characters are often clarified in descriptions for having big eyes, when that idea was taken from Disney cartoons. To this day with stuff like Frozen, the big eyes and small noses make me think back to anime.
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27 / M / at the Earls wait
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Posted 7/23/14
Because white people think that. Unless a series is set in a very European setting like FMA or Hellsing I always think of the characters as Japanese or as having no particular race
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18 / F / Seattle, Washington
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Posted 7/23/14
I feel like when they're drawing and animating these storylines... They're not really thinking about ethnicity or race. They're just making the characters look visually appealing.

And before anyone starts saying anything about Europeans/Americans looking more visually appealing, just stop to think about it for a moment. You could come up with equal, valid arguments for either side. Why? Because they don't really look like any race, at least in my eyes. Anime characters look like anime characters, and that's just about it. Would an anime character look American in real life? No... How about Japanese? Still no... They're simply unrealistic, as many before me have pointed out.
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Posted 7/23/14 , edited 7/23/14
I'm glad so many answers happily say that things are the way things are and just leave it at that. I should really just work, drink, sleep, and not think so much.
(edit: tone is meant to be provocative, but not high-and-mighty. Hmm, maybe a drink might not be so bad,...)
Vodash 
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Posted 7/23/14
I think the male anime characters look japanese while female anime characters look more western.
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Posted 7/23/14
The following link explains why it's completely wrong to assume big eyes to be any kind of a feature that refers to any particular race.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuteness

Big eyes is an infantile feature which elicits a protective instinctual emotive response
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26 / M / Socal
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Posted 7/24/14 , edited 7/24/14
Yeah they're white, not saying Western or Eastern, just saying the color of their skin. Their skin color is white, unless they have a tan or something. There are very few black anime characters.

Now do they resemble Americans or foreigners, or do they resemble the Japanese?
Physically, neither. or rather both or all, they represent perfection(creators pick and choose).

Everything else like mannerisms, Japan.
Frithy 
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Posted 7/24/14 , edited 7/24/14
They simply draw what is most aesthetically pleasing, i.e. artists draw the character in a way which portrays ideas of beauty or manliness. It just so happens that some Japanese ideals of beauty match up with western ideas. I was watching a video about a Japanese lady who received plastic surgery and people asked her if she did it to look more Caucasian. She responded saying "no, i simply did it to look more beautiful."
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Posted 7/24/14
baofu 
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Posted 7/24/14

Dubnoman wrote:


baofu wrote:

The short answer is because Tezuka drew them that way, and he was influenced by early Disney and Fleicher cartoons.



Only poster to get it right so far. I read parts of that link from second post...I think the person (in the link) was just making up stuff.


What I once heard, when someone else asked this question, is that when the Japanese animation industry was beginning, several years after the end of WW II (when Japan was rebuilding as a nation), the people building the foundation of Japanese animation decided to make the characters be white and have bigger eyes (than realistic portrayals of people) because they were mimicking Disney animation (and apparently other types of American animation). With humbleness being a big part of Japanese culture, it was meant as a way to pay some respect to the Americans, who defeated Japan in WW II (and later showed mercy to a defeated Japan). That is what was explained to me before. Anime characters being white-looking characters by default (as there are black and other dark skinned characters in anime, too) ended up becoming the standard.


I'd also throw in that we Americans dropped the a-bomb on Japan twice and occupied them for several years after WW2. Those things tend to hit you in the national identity.
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Posted 7/24/14


It's not mine, but agreed. I saw it a couple of years ago, and it immediately came to mind for the topic. Glad the article is still active.
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