Sometimes I can easily tell the difference and other times I can't. When I can tell the difference right away, I can't describe how I know (i.e. give a breakdown of which features this person does or doesn't have that led me to my conclusion). Rather, it's a feeling I get after taking in a person's entire look. Looking at characteristics such as a person's facial features, skintone, and styling (hair and clothing) can help you differentiate between different Asian ethnicities. Here are some things I've gathered on my own and heard from friends. Keep in mind that these are generalizations (some subjective) and don't apply to everyone:
- Koreans and Japanese tend to be fair skinned (this applies more to girls than to guys). They also tend to have more homogenous looks in comparison to Chinese.
- Japanese tend to be shorter while Koreans tend to be taller
- Korean guys tend to be buffer than Chinese and Japanese guys because they work out more
- Japanese guys are skinny
- Chinese have the most diverse look so they really can't be categorized. For example, Southern Chinese tend to be shorter and tanned whereas Northern Chinese tend to be taller. Although I have seen fair skinned Chinese, I've heard from other people that they don't associate Chinese people with being fair skinned. Perhaps this is due to Chinese having more diverse looks compared to Koreans and Japanese.
- Koreans tend to have smaller eyes due to the fact that a higher percentage of them naturally have single eyelids. However, the double eyelid procedure is extremely popular so you can't go on this factor alone when you're trying to determine if someone is Korean or not.
- Koreans tend to have flatter faces (e.g. when you look at them from a slight side angle, their cheekbones are not prominent). I haven't really noticed this on my own but this is what I've heard from a few friends. I actually think most Asians don't have prominent cheekbones anyway but I digress.
- Japanese eyes tend to slant upwards and Chinese eyes tend to slant downwards. (This is according to my friend and I'm not sure how valid this statement is.)
- Some Koreans have eyes that are shaped like upside down crescent moons. These become especially prominent when a person smiles. Although not all Koreans have these, I characterize them as Korean eyes because I haven't seen any Chinese or Japanese with similar eyes. A perfect example of a Korean with crescent eyes is Hyori Lee:
That's all I can think of for now. If I think of more later, I will add them.
Edited by solemnmite, 02 August 2006 - 07:15 PM.