There is an 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 (and also Native Americans to a lesser extent). 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
), often with overbites. This trope actually has its origins fairly well placed, Hideki Tojo, the defacto leader of Japan during WWII, had very buck teeth.
This is often a component of Yellow Face
Subtrope of Facial Profiling
. Compare with British Teeth
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- 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 had an example of this.
- All Asians in Mortadelo y Filemón, even in the latest releases.
- From the very first Tintin, the two Chinese torturers have teeth like this.
- 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.
- 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."
- Turns out the reason he's so goofy-looking is because he's actually a badly made human disguise worn by Sun Wu Kong, the Monkey King.
- Detective Yashimoto, from Cybersix and his little sister have very prominent teeth, though apart from this they're not portrayed very stereotypically. Interestingly their character designs from the comic were kept for the Cult Classic animated series, despite the series being animated in Japan.
Live Action TV
- 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.
- Very common in World War 2 anti-Japanese Allied propaganda. Even Dr. Seuss got into the act◊.
- In his biography General Bill Slim mentions how he found a picture of the Japanese general opposing him and placed it on his wall. He noted that the general looked like a propaganda caricature with his glasses and buck teeth, so Slim comforted himself with the thought that, no matter which one of them was the better general, at least he was better looking.
- A lot of Roger Shimomura's artwork features Japanese caricatures that have either buck teeth or misaligned teeth, or at least have yellow skin like many of The Simpsons characters.
- The main character in Chibi Kiiro Jappu (Little Yellow Jap in English), a parody of Little Black Sambo, has two buck teeth sticking out of his mouth.