Created By: EdnaWalker on December 9, 2011 Last Edited By: EdnaWalker on December 10, 2012
Troped

Asian Buck Teeth

When an Asian character is depicted with large buck teeth as defined by common stereotypes.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Rolling Updates

There is unfortunate teeth trope in the early and even mid 20th century in which people of East Asian descent are drawn with buck teeth.

Buck teeth (two middle incisors sticking out of the mouth) are the teeth stereotype most common to Chinese and most other people of East Asian descent. The teeth stereotype most common to Japanese people, however, is either horselike teeth or misaligned teeth (rather like the British Teeth stereotype) that often stick out of the mouth. Both teeth stereotypes are discredited.

World War 2 depictions of the Japanese typically involved either buckteeth, horselike teeth, misaligned teeth rather like British Teeth, or fangs (not Cute Little Fangs, but grotesque Fangs Are Evil).

This is often a component of Yellow Face.

Subtrope of Facial Profiling. Compare with British Teeth.


Examples:

Comic Books
  • Many depictions of Japanese in World War 2 U.S. comics had this feature. An example from SuperDickery.
  • An old Archie comic drawn by Dan De Carlo that had an example of this.
  • All Asians in Mortadelo y Filemón, even in the latest releases.
  • The Adventures of Tintin: Mitsuhirato, a villainous Japanese businessman in China, is drawn with stereotypically buck teeth, notable in a comic that was very progressive for its time in terms of racial attitudes (well, not counting the first book). Understandable in that at the time the character was written, Japan was currently engaged in a very brutal occupation of China, and Herge made his views abundantly clear. A much more sympathetic Japanese policeman does appear in a later book, however, who is drawn normally.
    • From the very first Tintin, the two Chinese torturers have teeth like this.
  • Lucky Luke: the Chinese launderer has teeth like this, as do many others. The leader of the Triads in Rantanplan's Heritage does not, however.
  • Dan's cousin, Chin-Kee from American Born Chinese looks like a bad Chinese stereotype, complete with buck teeth. He is drawn with this trait as part of his "embodiment of every negative Chinese stereotype ever."

Film

Live Action TV
  • On the American version of The Office, Micheal dresses up as a character he calls "Ping," and does a terribly unfunny and racist Asian Speekee Engrish routine.

Other
  • Very common in World War 2 anti-Japanese Allied propaganda. Even Dr. Seuss got into the act.
  • A lot of Roger Shimomura's artwork features Japanese caracitures that have either buck teeth or misaligned teeth or at least have yellow skin like many of The Simpsons characters.

Newspaper Comics

Webcomics
  • Possible contributing factor to the racewank early in Homestuck fandom; John and Jade have buck teeth and are sometimes portrayed as Asian in fanworks. The artstyle is such that it's impossible to tell what, if any, race they were intended to be and since they were effectively cloned from nothing instead of being born, nothing says they actually have to fit into any recognisable racial category. The wank seems to have mostly died out by now, though.

Western Animation
  • Krusty does it on The Simpsons when he goes back to stand-up comedy, showing how out-of-touch he is. [1]
  • In the old Disney short Der Fuehrer's Face, the caricature of Hirohito looks like this.
  • Joe Jitsu from The Dick Tracy Show has buck teeth.
  • Si and Am the two Siamese from Lady and the Tramp have either buck teeth or Cute Little Fangs.
  • Shun Gon the Siamese cat (a.k.a. the Chinese Cat) has buck teeth.
  • Many early Looney Tunes shorts used this for japanese and other east asian stereotypes
  • This turned up in the Fleischer's Superman Cartoons episode "Japoteurs" with Superman foiling some bad Japanese stereotypes from sabotaging American War Effort.
  • Charlie from Mister Magoo has buck teeth.
  • South Park sometimes features East Asian people with buck teeth, like the kid, Junichi in the "Jewbilee" episode.
Community Feedback Replies: 32
  • December 10, 2011
    Arivne
    Comic Books

    Real Life
  • December 10, 2011
    nitrokitty
    • The Adventures Of Tintin: Mitsuhirato, a villainous Japanese businessman in China, is drawn with stereotypically buck teeth, notable in a comic that was very progressive for its time in terms of racial attitudes (well, not counting the first book). Justified in that at the time the character was written, Japan was currently engaged in a very brutal occupation of China, and Herge made his views abundantly clear. A much more sympathetic Japanese policeman does appear in a later book, however, who is drawn normally.
  • December 11, 2011
    BearyScary
    • There was an old Archie comic drawn by Dan De Carlo that had an example of this.
  • December 11, 2011
    TheChainMan
    All Asians in Mortadelo Y Filemon, even in the latest releases.
  • December 11, 2011
    SeanMurrayI
    World War 2 depictions of the Japanese typically involved either buckteeth or fangs.
  • December 11, 2011
    AgProv
    Such as [1]
  • December 11, 2011
    AgProv
    Or this [1]

    Still looking for British examples, but there's always Lord Russell of Liverpool's The Knights of Bushido to go by - an immediately post-war catalogue of Japanese atrocities combined with the certainty, on the part of its compiler, that like the Germans they'd only do it again if not physically prevented.
  • December 11, 2011
    AgProv
    Cartooonist Gerald Searle is perhaps best-known for the illustrations that accompany Pink Floyd's concept album, The Wall. In WW 2.he was a "guest of the Emperor of Japan", ie, a Po W. Some of his earliest sketches are testimony of the sadistic ill-treatment of British Po W's by Jap camp guards and were meant to be as realistic as possible so as to aid post-war justice in identifying the Japanese involved afterwards. And Japanese Teeth do feature in many of Searle's sketches, it has to be said.

    Also British childrens' comics of the WW 2 area and for perhaps 25-30 years afterwards: when heroic Royal Marine Captain Hurricane, in the Valiant comic, comes up against Japanese, they are inevitably bandy-legged and buck-toothed. This trope lasted well into the 1970's.
  • December 11, 2011
    Duncan
  • December 11, 2011
    condottiera
  • January 5, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Jerry Lewis's character pretending to be a Japanese hibachi chef in Hardly Working includes buck teeth in his yellowface.
  • January 6, 2012
    peccantis
  • January 6, 2012
    captainpat
    World War 2 anti-Japanese Allied propaganda does not belong on the real life section.
  • January 6, 2012
    lebrel
    Title is not clear enough; I thought it was going to be about Tiger Teeth. Buck Toothed Asian?
  • January 7, 2012
    Ckuckoo
    Re The Adventures Of Tintin, "Justified in that at the time the character was written, Japan was currently engaged in a very brutal occupation of China, and Herge made his views abundantly clear."

    Using racist stereotypes is justified if war atrocities are committed?
  • January 7, 2012
    Arivne
    ^^^ @captainpat: Where does it belong then?
  • January 7, 2012
    CrypticMirror
    This turned up in the Fleischer's Superman Cartoons episode "Japateurs" with Superman foiling some bad Japanese stereotypes from sabotaging American War Effort.
  • February 3, 2012
    Wackd
    Suggesting Stereotypical Asian Buck Teeth as a title.
  • March 3, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Comes up in some World War II era Three Stooges shorts, with the Japanese characters being played by actual Japanese POWs, wearing fake teeth.
  • May 25, 2012
    elwoz
    In American Born Chinese, the character Chin-Kee is drawn with these, as part of his "embodiment of every negative Chinese stereotype ever."
  • September 1, 2012
    chelonianmobile
    Possible contributing factor to the racewank early in Homestuck fandom; John and Jade have buck teeth and are sometimes portrayed as Asian in fanworks. The artstyle is such that it's impossible to tell what, if any, race they were intended to be and since they were effectively cloned from nothing instead of being born, nothing says they actually have to fit into any recognisable racial category. The wank seems to have mostly died out by now, though.
  • September 5, 2012
    JonnyB
    Often a component of Yellow Face.
  • October 13, 2012
    AgProv
    But is this any weirder than the yardstick in these matters, the American cultural perception that all human teeth have to be absolutely perfect, regardless of the fabulous cost of striving for a perfection that not even Nature manages? I often wonder if American dentists were responsible for brainwashing an entire nation... any trope about other peoples' teeth being laughable has to be seen in context, against the equally artificial American ideal which is being hailed as the cultural norm...
  • October 13, 2012
    NimmerStill
    ^Well, nothing *has* to be perfect, but by definition, perfect is the goal, or at least the direction of the goal, to strive for. If you're admitting that straight teeth, or whetever orthodontists go for, is what we would call "perfect teeth", then you are also admitting that teeth that are closer to that are *better* than teeth that are further from that. So orthodontists didn't "brainwash" America into believing anything that wasn't true, any more than doctors brainwash people by telling them what their ideal weight is. (But maybe you have a problem with that too?)

    Perhaps you meant to say that straight teeth aren't always better teeth, but my suspicion is that you know you can't defend that idea.

    And there are a lot of perfections that Nature doesn't manage. Nature doesn't manage immune systems that can withstand all germs, or transportation above 60 mph, or human-livable conditions in Minneapolis. None of this means that such "perfections" aren't something to strive for.
  • October 13, 2012
    elwoz
    ^, ^^: I think you're both kinda missing the point. The stereotype isn't "ha ha, there are no dentists in China" (that would be the UK). The stereotype is "ha ha, Asians all look like rodents." Have a look at the guy in the blue outfit in this comic strip (that's Chin-Kee from American Born Chinese, mentioned above). Nobody has teeth like that in Real Life.


    Edited by Arivne to underline a picture to prevent it from breaking YKTTW. (Thanks for the fix and for showing me how to avoid this problem in the future! --elwoz)

  • October 13, 2012
    shimaspawn
    That would make a great page image.
  • October 14, 2012
    elwoz
    ... my god, what did I do to the reply boxes?
  • October 14, 2012
    shimaspawn
    Images in the replies don't work very well.
  • October 14, 2012
    shimaspawn
    • This is here to fix the replies.
  • October 16, 2012
    Chabal2
  • October 31, 2012
    PaulA
  • December 10, 2012
    shimaspawn
    This looks about ready to go.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=7wkmn93at3i0rky6b1jqcuxx&trope=AsianBuckTeeth