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Why Does Anime Center Around White Characters?  
User currently offlineConcordeBoy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 1488 times:

I've been curious about this for a while, perhaps someone here would know...

The primary/protagonistic characters in Japanese animation are always Caucasian.... even for cartoons with plots based in Japan, or where they walk around dressed like geishas in kimonos; it's not like there's a bunch of blondes running around Tokyo for cryin' out loud.  Yeah sure




It's an easy perspective to overlook, until you notice that the old, antagonistic, or just plain decript characters never fail to resemble Oriental Asians in their appearance.




...is there a reason for this, other than odd self-loathing?

It's been like this since Anime first started being exported worldwide. Always a curiousity to me.

20 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineFlyingbronco05 From United States of America, joined May 2002, 3840 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 1472 times:

Why is it ok for black rappers to have only black women in their videos but the second a black person is not seen in a white persons video, some black people get pissed?

It's just the way things are.

FB05



Never Trust Your Fuel Gauge
User currently offlinePPGMD From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 2453 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 1460 times:

It really depends on the artist. In most shows even Japanese characters(including famous samurais) are painted caucasian colors.

I think it's because it's easier to make the subtle details appear on the characters. Also remember it's not something tailored to US, almost all anime is made for Japanese audiences.



At worst, you screw up and die.
User currently offlineLHMark From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 7255 posts, RR: 48
Reply 3, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 1447 times:

Leave it alone. It's perfect the way it is!

Signed, MD90



"Sympathy is something that shouldn't be bestowed on the Yankees. Apparently it angers them." - Bob Feller
User currently offlineGreg From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 1439 times:

Oddly enough....it's likely they are seen as more 'mysterious' to the Asian culture--particularly blondes.

It's funny because all my Asian friends swear it's the white folks that 'all look alike'. After listening to their explanations....it sounds reasonable.

A more likely explanation is it will play to a limited audience if all the characters had strictly Asian features. The US and Europe are large markets for promotion and follow-on merchandising.


User currently offlineConcordeBoy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 1429 times:

Also remember it's not something tailored to US, almost all anime is made for Japanese audiences.

My point exactly... therefore, why depict everyone as a displaced European??


......and that also doesn't explain why all the villanous or "undesirable" characters almost always are drawn with Asian features. That to me, is the most disturbing aspect of the whole thing. Talk about low self-image.

[Edited 2004-07-30 23:55:00]

User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 6, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 1410 times:

You ever hear of 'Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids'... That was a CLASSIC.


"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineConcordeBoy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 1405 times:

....yes, and its characters were also a direct reflection of the primary audience which it targetted.

User currently offlineBartiniMan From Australia, joined Jul 2001, 315 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 1367 times:

Greg I'd love to hear your asian friends' explanation.

I watched a british documentary about the human body, the one presented by that moustached-british-professor-dude.
Anyway, he said that asians dont have naturally curly hair, theirs is always straight (yes i know there might be an exception or two.) Just like you never see a native african with straight hair, theirs is pretty much always super-curly.
Whereas caucasians have a mixture between the two.

So my point is, asians all look the same in terms of hair styles to me. Whereas caucasians can't look similair because of their varying types of hair.

I'll summarize, in terms of hairstyles, asians do look the same, whereas caucasians dont.

Now this is only an observation and not a racist-fuelled post.

I have many asian friends, Im from Australia after all, so please dont attack me.

BartiniMan



User currently offlineSpaceman From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 534 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 1346 times:

If you really have to ask the questions this way then why are the Simpsons yellow? Are they Asians?

User currently offlineMD-90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 8494 posts, RR: 12
Reply 10, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 1340 times:

Why are the Simpsons yellow?

User currently offlineSOUTHAMERICA From Colombia, joined Dec 2003, 2496 posts, RR: 10
Reply 11, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 1333 times:

Something that catches my attention even more, is the fact that the eyes of these anime-characters are drawn extremely over-sized (just look at the first picture posted by ConcordeBoy at the beginning), when their creators are recognized, physically, for having very small eyes....



SOUTHAMERICA


User currently offline767Lover From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 1292 times:

I asked my boyfriend about this. He is half Japanese (his mother was born in Japan.)

Apparently the Japanese have a fascination with Western culture, and it is often central in pop culture there.


User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 13, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 1288 times:

Why are the Simpsons yellow?

1) They live too close to the Springfield Nuclear Powerplant..???
2) Homer works at Springfield Nuclear Powerplant...???
3) Something to do with Marge's blue hair dye...???

Those are my 3 guesses....LoL.

Actually there is something in my DVD, 'Simpsons- Season One'. I'll have to look it up.



"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 19
Reply 14, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 1259 times:

Why does everything have to be politically correct?

Anime originates in Japan, one of the most homogeneous socities (ethnically) in the free world.
The characters portrayed are not caucasian, they're Japanese.
They're created (especially the females) with the ideal woman image of the Japanese audience in mind (who probably dream of blonde women a lot as a sexual fantasy).

Indeed it's no different from ghetto rappers having only black people in their bands and videos (except the occasional white cop getting beaten up).



I wish I were flying
User currently offlineLuv767s From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 270 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 1224 times:

"I asked my boyfriend about this. He is half Japanese (his mother was born in Japan.)

Apparently the Japanese have a fascination with Western culture, and it is often central in pop culture there. "

I'm glad you said this. Being half Japanese and having many Asian, and Asian-American friends I can tell you that Asians have a sick obsession with the Anglo look, whether that be European or American. In fact many many many Asian women both in America and Asia have surgery on their eyes to put a fold in their eyelids to make them appear less slanted and more rounded.

MTV did a show on this exact subject and many of the people they interviewed said that they think looking Anglo is a sign of success or something close to that.

So, back to the anime issue, I agree that it most likely has something to do with the "ideal" form...and that probably isn't a 4 foot nothing squatty Japanese person with dark features.



-"...never have I been a blue calm sea, I have always been a storm"
User currently offlineTristarenvy From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2265 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 1220 times:

I'm still wondering what the fascination with tentacles, is?!?!?!?

Actually the reason the Simpson's are yellow, according to the cast who were being interviewed on that show "Inside The Actor's Studio", is because Matt Groening wanted to mess with everyone's head's who were watching the show. People at home would adjust the color on their TV's to make the characters look natural, and screw up the color!

[Edited 2004-08-02 19:33:07]


If you don't stand for SOMETHING, you'll fall for ANYTHING.
User currently offlinePPGMD From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 2453 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 1208 times:

I'm still wondering what the fascination with tentacles, is?!?!?!?

Quite simple actually, who wouldn't want controllable 20-30' d**ks.



At worst, you screw up and die.
User currently offlineEA CO AS From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 13252 posts, RR: 62
Reply 18, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 1199 times:
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Most good Anime can be traced back to one great show - Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman (Science Ninja Team Gatchaman):

http://www.chronicsite.com/gatchaman/

For those of you scratching your heads saying, "Huh?" - just look at the main character - you'll probably say, "OHHHH! I know THAT show!"  Big thumbs up






By the way, the "Asians are fascinated with Western culture," explanation is correct - especially when you consider that the two "main" heroes of the team are named "Ken" and "Joe" but everyone else has Japanese names.

Known in the U.S. as "Battle of the Planets" or "G-Force," this show basically kicked Anime into high gear.







"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan
User currently offlineJaysit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 1193 times:

Actually, if you have been to Tokyo, you will see MANY young Japanese women (and men) sporting blond, red, and orange dye jobs. Its not really a desire to be caucasian but more of a fashion statement. I even noticed many young Japanese women with colored contact lenses. These getups are usually accompanied by really cutting edge fashions, high heels, etc that you would never see outside of Tokyo !

So, while these Anime characters may appear caucasian to Westerners, I think that many japanese see the Anime as either being caucasian, eurasian, or japanese with makeup etc.


User currently offlineConcordeBoy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (9 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 1185 times:

Actually, if you have been to Tokyo, you will see MANY young Japanese women (and men) sporting blond, red, and orange dye jobs.

Well, yeah, every place has its freaks...

...I was commenting more on the Oriental/Caucasian (actual ones!) ratio  Laugh out loud


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