Inscrutable Oriental YKTTW Discussion

Inscrutable Oriental
(permanent link) added: 2010-04-06 10:17:52 sponsor: Unknown Troper @ (last reply: 2010-04-06 10:17:52)

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Throughout the years, people from the far East have been depicted as being not quite as willing to visually express their emotions compared to their peers. If treated positively, a character who follows this trope can come across as being a calm, cool, and fairly collected (if a bit eccentric) person who may also serve as a source of wisdom and encouragement.

If treated negatively, characters this applies to can come across as being overly dour, uptight, dull, and all around boring fellows who seem to have trouble comprehending concepts like leisure or fun.

This can be shown tropewise as being The Stoic in more serious and/or positive portrayals. And as the The Unfunny or Only Sane Man in more comedic and negative portrayals. The Old Master may also be this trope.

All in all, this trope can be described as the Eastern counterpart to Germanic Depressives.


Anime and Manga



  • The Asian Knight of the Cross from The Dresden Files.
  • A Tree Grows In Brooklyn is a rather racist book (1943) and features a Chinese Launderer character who's stereotypical in other ways, but it actually calls out this trope. The young protagonist sees the Chinese man as a wise mystic and assumes he's listening thoughtfully when she talks to him, when in reality he doesn't speak English and is just waiting for her to leave.

Live-Action TV

Video Games

  • Shen Yu in Evil Genius is described as "inscrutable".
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