Created By: KZN02 on May 1, 2010 Last Edited By: KZN02 on May 1, 2010
Nuked

All Asians Are Alike

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Trope
Do We Have This One??

Non-Asians mistaking that all Asian people are of one ethnicity in particular. Also, they confuse the same with things from Asia (such as Manga, Kung Fu, Karate, etc.).

Related to Did Not Do The Research, Cowboy BeBop at His Computer, and They Just Didn't Care.

Examples:

Comic Books
  • There's a French comic where this is both evoked (a Chinese mook tells his (white) boss he can easily pass for a Korean) and inverted (another mook tells the boss that to Orientals, all whites look the same).

Film
  • Mentioned in Falling Down, when a police officer snarks that he is Japanese, unlike the robbed store owner who is Korean.
  • Quite a few of Chris Tucker's lines throughout the Rush Hour series referred to this.
  • The movie version of Memoirs of a Geisha features Fake Nationality which also falls under this trope.
  • In Brain Smasher... A Love Story, the Chinese assassination team is constantly having to say "We are not Ninjas!" (Ninjas are Japanese.) They are happy the one time someone else says it first. "They're not ninjas. They're Chinese." (So happy that they don't beat any one up there.)

Literature
  • In the James Bond novel Goldfinger, the villain describes Karate as "a branch of judo".

Live-Action TV
  • In a season two episode of M*A*S*H, the Korean liaison officer semi-sarcastically explains the difficulty in finding the father of a half-American baby as, "You all look alike to us." There's also several episodes that deal with or make reference to the difficulty in people being able to tell the difference between Japanese, Chinese and Korean people... made all the worse by the tendency to cast the same actors in different roles, often even as different races.

Other

Puppet Shows
  • Avenue Q - "Tried to work in Korean deli / But I am Japanese". (Or in the Australian performance, "tried to work in Chinese restaurant". And to make things worse, the actress in the Australian performance was Phillipino.)

Western Animation
  • Family Guy: "Oh my God, it's Jackie Chan!"
  • Code Lyoko: the character Yumi Ishiyama often yelled at people that she was Japanese who mistook her for being Chinese.
  • When Hank Hill first met Khan, he asks him "are you Chinese or Japanese?" Even when Khan explains that he's Laotian, Hank still doesn't get it. ("Which ocean?")

Community Feedback Replies: 18
  • April 28, 2010
    Chubert
    Is this, like, Tropable? I cannot think of a single example from fiction.
  • April 28, 2010
    KZN02
    Well, I recall one Teen Titans comic had one member thinking Bushido was Chinese after he said something in Japanese during a battle.
  • April 28, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    In a season two episode of MASH, the Korean liaison officer semi-sarcastically explains the difficulty in finding the father of a half-American baby as, "You all look alike to us." There's also several episodes that deal with or make reference to the difficulty in people being able to tell the difference between Japanese, Chinese and Korean people... made all the worse by the tendency to cast the same actors in different roles, often even as different races.

    Also from Avenue Q - "Tried to work in Korean deli / But I am Japanese". (Or in the Australian performance, "tried to work in Chinese restaurant". And to make things worse, the actress in the Australian performance was Phillipino.)
  • April 28, 2010
    BrainSewage
    Family Guy: "Oh my God, it's Jackie Chan!"
  • April 29, 2010
    Frank75
    This troper once read a cartoon about a westerner meeting three Japanese. The trope is (doubly?) subverted when one of them explains that it's no wonder they look all alike - they're identical triplets!

  • April 29, 2010
    Medinoc
    This might be related to You All Look The Same To Me.

    Edit: Huh? Didn't we have a trope like this? And i'm not talking about You All Look Familiar here...
  • April 29, 2010
    Chabal2
    There's a French comic where this is both evoked (a Chinese mook tells his (white) boss he can easily pass for a Korean) and inverted (another mook tells the boss that to Orientals, all whites look the same...).
  • April 29, 2010
    ViktorCrowford
    Mentioned in Falling Down, when a police officer snarks that he is Japanese, unlike the robbed store owner who is Korean.
  • April 29, 2010
    Unknown Troper

    But yeah. I'm rather surprised we don't have You All Look The Same To Me, but this would be that if we had it, so maybe this should be expanded to that.
  • April 29, 2010
    Dcoetzee
    Agree about expanding this to You All Look The Same To Me to cover any ethnicity. It could be subdivided by ethnicity if we like.
  • April 29, 2010
    DocHaus
    Quite a few of Chris Tucker's lines throughout the Rush Hour series referred to this.
  • April 30, 2010
    haveanicesummer
    The movie version of Memoirs Of A Geisha features Fake Nationality which also falls under this trope.
  • April 30, 2010
    jfpbookworm
    Possible trope title, unfortunately taken from Real Life: Does Anyone Speak Oriental.
  • April 30, 2010
    MarkusWolfe
    I, a Canuck of Scottish ancestry, have trouble distinguishing the types of Asians, and sometimes mix up black people. Maybe all humans have trouble telling the sub-races of other humans apart if those sub-races if they're not part of that race.
  • April 30, 2010
    willyolio
    depends on where you've grown up and who you hang out with. it's not so much that whites are genetically better at identifying other white people, it's that they probably grew up in a community that didn't have a huge variety of minorities. if you grew up with 1000 different white faces while seeing only 5 different asian faces then they'll always look the same to you.
  • April 30, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    In the cartoon series 'Code Lyoko' the character Yumi Ishiyama often yelled at people that she was Japanese who mistook her for being Chinese.
  • May 1, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    When Hank Hill first met Khan, he asks him "are you Chinese or Japanese?" Even when Khan explains that he's Laotian, Hank still doesn't get it. ("Which ocean?")
  • May 1, 2010
    JoveHack
    In ''Brain Smasher... A Love Story" the Chinese assassination team is constantly having to say "We are not Ninjas!" (Ninjas are Japanese.) They are happy the one time someone else says it first. "They're not ninjas. They're Chinese." (So happy that they don't beat any one up there.)

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