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Is it possible to distinguish between Asians, physically?


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I think I'm getting the hang of whether someone might be Japanese, Chinese, Korean, etc. but I still find some difficulty in it. I suppose it's rather trivial and not too important, but is there any distinct physical differences between East Asians?

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but is there any distinct physical differences between East Asians?

There are physical differences even within each East Asian country. Since genes in Korea and Japan are not as varied (no source, I read it somewhere), people there tend to look more similar to each other. So, basically you would look for "common" Japanese or Korean traits, if you don't find either, you would guess Chinese? I believe any "look/trait" you can find in Japan or Korea you can find in China, with different concentration. Different cultures + levels of economic development also tend to differentiate the physical traits of the populations.

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Hm...it's pretty hard to tell I guess (Ive got 8 out of the 18), especially for someone like me, who is a Chinese himself, but lives among Westerners...I wonder if Chinese people living in China could distinguish Chinese and non Chinese from each other, but I think so. It is harder if they have to decide between Japanese and Koreans though...

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all the countries in asia.

so many asians.

so little time.












Hong Kong





Korea, North

Korea, South









Papua New Guinea




Sri Lanka








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Only 5 out of 18... In Beijing, I usually could tell, but here in TW it gets much harder: you can't tell Taiwanese, Japanese and Koreans apart by style, like you can do in Beijing, because they have largely the same style.

Koreans sometimes/often have a very 'Korean' face, and then it's easy to see they're Korean. Japanese are much harder, I think. And many Japanese I met here are half or whole huaqiao, so logically you really can't tell from theit face where they're from.

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Actually, I think those of us with low scores should be proud. It shows that we are unconcerned with such petty matters as nationality and ethnicity, and view everyone as an equal member of the human race :mrgreen:

Of course, if I'd got 16/18 I might have had a different opinion . . .


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Very interesting site ! Got 10 out of 18 (considered "normal" by the site standard...)

Different cultures + levels of economic development also tend to differentiate the physical traits of the populations.

Geography (climate and situation) also influence a lot. Gastronomy also : what you eat also change your skin.

What is also interesting is the change the look of expatriates. Eventually , Roddy will look more Chinese than a Westerner :wink: (For Asians, all Westerners look alike...)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I got only 2 right. "Inversely Amazing - Not easy to get all that wrong." :(

I'm ashamed :oops:

Well, I blame absence of Asians in my country! :mrgreen:

Do you know that we don't even have Sinology on our Universities? I tried to enroll to the Chinese Language Group (Linguistics Study Group) on Zagreb University, but I ended up taking private lessons from the teacher. She was Chinese, and we spoke English as the "intermediate" language.

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I got 8 points.

Last week I was in a german discotheque and there were two chinese (I thought they were...) men who were dancing on the same dance floor as I.

I was happy to find an opportunity to try to talk chinese a bit.

After a while they went to the bar. There I asked one of them "你是中国人吗?". After a few seconds I realized that I maybe shouldn't have asked him this. He replied in German :

Him: I'm sorry, I didn't understand.

Me: Are you chinese?

Him: No I'm sorry, I'm japanese.

:oops: *oooops* :oops:

Then I didn't dare going on talking with him, and left the bar...

That's the reason why I asked myself how and if it was possible to distinguish the different asian people. :-?

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That sites just a joke. It takes the extremes (the chinese guy who is always told he looks japanese) and puts those pictures up, or the person is making some weird face so you can't make out any features at all.

There are distinct differences, although I'd say China is such a large country you could probably split it up if you really wanted to.

Roddy... ladies man.

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For me, Koreans are the easiest to tell between the three (though I have had little contact with Northern Chinese other than those from the Jianghuai region), perhaps If I lived in Harbin I would say otherwise. Many Japanese have that southern, Austronesian blend that makes it much harder, plus the guys get tans. But I agree with Quest, there exists a Chinese face for every Korean or Japanese face, simply by sheer numbers, geographic size and genetic diversity amongst the Chinese. Most Chinese in China assume the common face of their region is "the Chinese face," but it's actually very diverse.

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