What’s The Difference Between The Facial Features Of Chinese, Japanese, And Korean People?

Differences Between Facial Features Of Chinese, Japanese, And Korean People 

There is an unfortunate misconception amongst many non-Asian people that people from various Asian backgrounds look the same.

It can be difficult to see physical differences when you don’t know what to look for or have not met people from Chinese, Japanese, or Korean backgrounds. 

While there are some commonalities between people who hail from Asian countries, there are also many distinct differences that are actually quite easy to see.

Each country also has its own expansive history with various cultures encapsulated in their countries, while also having their own preserved traditions. 

Common Chinese Facial Features

China is a very large country, and with that, there are variances in physical characteristics depending on where a Chinese person or their ancestors were born.

The differentiations are often seen between people from northern and southern China. 

A person from northern China tends to have a square facial structure with small facial features, such as the eyes or nose. Conversely, people from southern China have more rounded faces with more prominent eyes and broad noses. 

In China, peoples’ eyes tend to slant downwards at the ends as well. Their lips are plumper than their counterparts, especially regarding the lower lip. 

Common Japanese Facial Features

One of the easiest ways to tell someone may be from Japan is a more elongated, oval-shaped face. Their cheekbones also tend to sit lower on the face, and their facial structure tends to be wider than those in China or Korea. The nose can vary in size, but they tend to be prominent. 

People from Japan also tend to have more rounded eyes that will sometimes slant upwards at the ends. It’s also common for people from Japan to have almond-shaped eyes.

A Japanese person’s mouth is often small but stretches out wider along the face with thinner lips. 

Common Korean Facial Features 

A person from Korea will usually have a round face with high cheekbones. Their eyes are smaller than their Chinese or Japanese counterparts, and their noses are small but long. In Korea, people tend to have smaller lips and mouths. 

The Common Misconception Regarding Asian Peoples’ Eyes

One very popular yet misinformed belief is that “slanted” eyes or small eyes are signature features of Asian people. This is not true; while some Asian cultures have smaller eyes, this feature can also be seen outside Asian populations. 

The reason that some Asians possess smaller eyes is because of a genetic variance wherein the eyelid doesn’t have the same kinds of folds that people from other ethnic backgrounds do. That said, not all Asian people will be born with small eyes. 

Differences In Skin Tone Between Chinese, Korean, And Japanese People 

People from China may have different skin tones depending on which part of the country they are from. People from northern China tend to have lighter skin than those from southern China.

People from Korea tend to have much lighter skin than those from China or Japan. 

The differences in skin tone can be seen when looking at a person’s face. People from Japan tend to have very light skin, especially if they hail from northern regions of Japan.

In China, people tend to have light skin as well, but their skin tone is still darker than those in Japan. There is also more of a variation in complexions in people from China.

The Difference In Style And Appearance Between Chinese, Japanese, And Korean People 

There are aesthetics, and physical presentation attributes that are attributed to each of these cultures. This can help some people differentiate between these three cultures, though it’s fair to say that fashion and beauty trends from China, Japan, and Korea have spread worldwide. 

In China, people tend to like elegant dressing, with high quality and price point being some of the deciding factors for what to wear. It’s not unlikely to see people dressed up, wearing their finest jewels. People in China are not afraid to be flashy. 

In Japan, there are various Japanese subcultures of fashion recognized around the world. People in Japan appreciate their traditional garments and some people still wear them today, including things like kimonos and hakamas.

People in Japan are also known for their kawaii aesthetic, which takes inspiration from anime and other aspects of popular culture. There’s also the schoolgirl look, the Western modern look, and many other styles. 

In Korea, fashion and the way one presents themself is more about individual taste and showcasing personality.

While people in Korea are fans of popular fashion brands, they also like incorporating interesting mixes of color and pattern into their wardrobes. 

Cultural Differences And Similarities Between China, Korea, And Japan 

All three of these Asian countries have rich, diverse histories that span centuries, and they are all very different in many ways.

It’s fair to say that many Japanese customs and traditions, and even some of the language, were inspired by China, with various aspects of the culture evolving in Japan.

China and Japan both value religion, spirituality, and tradition in their own ways. 

In Japan, people are known for being very disciplined in their extreme work ethic and education which has helped develop a healthy economy.

In China, people tend to be fairly subdued and extremely polite to others. In Korea, people are also known for being passionate about school and work, and they are also humble and friendly. 

It’s known that there has been a history of tension between North Korea and South Korea, with North Korea being much more secluded from the rest of the world.

South Korea has been able to separate itself from the reputation that North Korea has garnered, becoming a developed part of the country with much more freedom. 

All three countries have their own pockets of communities spread throughout. These communities contribute a lot to the countries’ unique cultures with things such as regional food, language, customs, and ways of life. 

How To Tell Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese Apart

MT Lee
My fascination with Japan began several years back at a roadside bonsai stand while on vacation. I became more interested in the where and why's more than the trees themselves. My love of Bonsai led me to further research my interest in the gardens where they originated from and the places and people that surrounded those little trees. My curiosity was well rewarded upon visiting Saitama where the National Bonsai Museum was located and Omiya Village the bonsai mecca for lovers of this ancient art form. Exploring many towns and villages and even making my way to Japan's furthest southern prefecture of Okinawa. I hope to share my love of this wonderful and exotic place with all those who want to know more about Japan.