[Image: 2ch and Yaraon]

The above image shows two characters, one done in the “anime style” and the other in an American comic book style. What follows is an explanation as to why Chie Satonaka “looks Japanese.”

Before moving on to the full comparison, which was originally posted on a 2ch thread, there are several things to consider. The country is 98.5 percent Japanese—as in Japanese citizens.

According to Kyodo News, one in 29 babies born in Japan in 2014 had one (or more) non-Japanese parent. That means the number of mixed children in Japan is increasing, and why the total number is still small, there are more diverse Japanese than ever before, challenging preconceptions about Japaneseness. (For more, see the film Hafu.)

About those perceptions... Via 2ch (and Yaraon), below is a comparison between “Japanese people” and “white people.” Some of the physical characteristics are the space between the eye and the eyebrows, a loosely defined jawline, and noticeable nose and cheek features.

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[Image: 2ch and Yaraon]

Via website Tamenal, these comparisons claim to prove that anime characters are mostly Japanese.

[Image via Tamenal]

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[Image via Tamenal]

The problem with the comparisons like this is that those who don’t fit into this comparison then don’t fit in either group, making them loaded. Images like these have been floating around the internet for years, such as the ones below. As Kotaku previously pointed out, these comparisons aren’t exactly ideal and seem to be made to simply further an argument.

[Image: 2ch and Yaraon]

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The other problem with these comparisons is that animators might be looking to a variety of sources, including other anime, with one artist influencing another, and the end result moving further away from reality as artists aren’t then drawing real people, but anime people.

[Image: 2ch and Yaraon]

Another commenter in the same original thread also pointed out that the profiles of many anime characters actually looks similar to a cat’s profile, calling the angle “neko-gata” (猫型) or “cat-shaped” and providing examples of a rather convincing argument.

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[Image: 2ch and Yaraon]
[Image: 2ch and Yaraon]
[Image: 2ch and Yaraon]

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So, do these characters look like cats? Japanese? Or, like anime characters?

But the best way to think about this isn’t about facial structure, stereotypes or physical features. As one commenter put it, “The big eyes and small noses in anime don’t exist in Caucasians or Asians.” They do exist in anime.


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