Culture Chop Suey

Culture Chop Suey is a Fantasy Counterpart Culture cobbled together from multiple real-world cultures.

As with an Anachronism Stew, the reasons for this can vary from case to case. It can stem from the writer's ignorance on the subject: they simply might not realize that these cultural elements are alien to one another. Likewise, it can be a case of Creator Provincialism, when the writer uses aspects of their own culture in the fictional one, either because they aren't aware that they would seem out of place, or because they want to make it more familiar for their audience. Of course, when they're completely aware of the differences, they may be taking Artistic License, blurring the lines for unique World Building, or just playing to the Rule of Cool or Rule of Funny.

These are cases where elements are of a contrasting culture; elements of technology from a contrasting time period are Schizo Tech. When ninjas show up as part of a Culture Chop Suey, that is also a McNinja. A Ruritania is usually constructed using this trope. A character from one of these cultures may sport a Multiethnic Name just to drive things home.

Some cultural mash-ups are common enough to warrant their own pages: Ancient Grome, Far East, Qurac, Mayincatec, Scotireland, Spexico, Tipis And Totem Poles, Americasia, and some versions of Norse by Norsewest.

Compare Interfaith Smoothie for when this is done to religions.

Since the distinction between the cultures is the point, and no example is Self Explanatory, when citing an example, please mention what real world cultures that the fictional one is based on.


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     Anime and Manga  

  • Fullmetal Alchemist has at least one scene where Ed is shown to be eating rice out of bowls with chopsticks in what is otherwise based on early twentieth century Europe.
    • An early episode of the the 2003 anime version has Edward being submitted to a rice bowl interrogation by the local police. He eagerly consumes multiple bowls because he was really hungry, but it doesn't help the police get anywhere in getting a confession out of the completely innocent alchemist— they ultimately just gave him a free meal.
    • May simply be something he picked up from his possibly Japanese alchemy teacher (with a name like Izumi, she's certainly not a full Amestrian). In both the 2003 anime version and the manga, a Japan analogue is shown to exist; Breda is once shown playing shogi and is able to answer when someone asks where it came from (an Eastern island). The manga has an Asian counterpart in Xing, which is a China counterpart with some Japan mixed in.
  • In Wolf's Rain, all of the writing is in Russian, yet there are Native Americans. With tepees, of course...which they reach after crossing a frozen strait and passing through what looks a lot like the Pacific Northwest. Funny how that actually works with real life geography (the teepees should be in the Plains, not the Southwest, though).
  • An early episode of One Piece had Rice Balls (edited out by 4Kids to be cookies), even through the pirates are somewhat based on Western fictional depictions of pirates. The characters also drink sake, wield katanas, make Japanese-language puns, etc.
  • Sound of the Sky is a very deliberate version of this. Most everyone has Japanese names, the writing is French, the country is named for Switzerland but is modeled on a Spanish city, the uniforms are German, and so on. What makes this especially interesting is that it appears to be in the future of our world.
  • The Five Star Stories practically runs on this trope. Most of the countries have some level of Japanese styling, even if it's just their samurai-inspired sword designs, but beyond that, it's completely all over the place. Colus, for instance, has castles designed to look like techno versions of Mayan pyramids, military uniforms based on post-WWII West Germany, hovertanks based on the Swedish S-Tank, & insignias based on Viking runes.
  • Turn A Gundam takes place in what appears to be Sweet Home Alabama, but aspects of the culture and technology are closer to World War I-era Europe and their religion seems to be some weird kind of Native American shamanism or animism, possibly similar to Shinto. And let's not even get started on the parralels to the Arab-Israeli Conflict with the Moonrace...
  • Samurai Champloo, with its rapping samurai (and graffiti ninja, and marijuana monks, and...), is more an example of Anachronism Stew, but also worth mentioning in as the title's "champloo" refers to a dish not unlike chop suey, and is used in the same sense as the trope title.
  • Naruto has the Land of Iron, which is Switzerland (political neutrality and mountainous alpine terrain) with samurai.
  • Pokémon In Best Wishes it shows the residents of Unova eating rice balls and other Japanese dishes as if it is the norm, though there are western dishes as well. In the games that the anime is based off of, Unova is based around New York City and parts of New Jersey.
  • No. 6 is a bit tricky. It's unknown what culture the titular city, No. 6, is but the ghetto shows remnants of Chinese signs while a character has a collection of what was left of Shakespeare while a few characters have Japanese names (Shion, Rikiga) and at the same time odd names (Safu). Did we mention this takes place in a dystopian future where a bad enough world war destroyed superpower nations?
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt's Daten City appears to be mostly American, but for whatever reason there are quite a few Japanese elements (driver's wheel on the right, the flag is the Stars and Stripes but with blue stripes and Japan's rising sun replacing the stars).
  • Fairy Tail is supposed to be set in a Schizo Tech fantasy equivalent of Spain, complete with ramen, a ryokan, a currency that's a much closer equivalent to yen than to the euro, and bento boxes.
    • It also has an impressive number of jokes based solely on the use of various suffixes. So many that when it was localized they ended up having to leave suffixes intact and tack an explanation on whenever someone reacts oddly to them.
  • Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals is a distant sequel to Final Fantasy V. The game was Medieval European Fantasy (mostly, with some samurai and ninja flavoring in gameplay), but one that grew out of a high-tech civilization that had vaguely to very Egyptian architecture. Meanwhile, the society of the OVA itself has transitioned to more of an Eastern blend, with Linaly and her grandfather wearing Chinese-inspired clothing and a yin-yang, while Tycoon Castle was rebuilt as the Taj Mahal and added a minaret to house the Dragon Shrine. The technology is still Schizo Tech, blending swords and magic with firearms and robots.
  • Soul Eater Not!, despite taking place in America, has some rather Japanese things, like maid cafes and summer festivals, complete with tanuki statues.


  • Most of the cultures depicted in the Lord of the Rings trilogy are obviously based closely on real-life cultures - the Rohirrim are Anglo-Saxons with a major horse theme, the Shire resembles Romantic-era rural Britain and Ireland, Gondor looks a lot like late Medieval Italy, and so on. However, the human bad guys tend to be more Culture Chop Suey, presumably to avoid the impression of "X culture is evil".
    • The Easterlings, as one might suspect based on the name, are meant to be vaguely Middle Eastern. All we see of their culture in the movies is them marching to war, but their armour is a mishmash of "oriental" influences - Turkish, Mongolian, Persian and Japanese samurai.
    • The Southrons, or "Haradrim", are also meant to be Middle Eastern or perhaps African. Their costumes are based on a mix of Aztec and Kiribati motifs, with turbans and a lot of gold.
  • Silence is an American movie in English directed by an Italian-American (Martin Scorsese), adapting a Japanese language novel (Shusaku Endo) with Portuguese priests as protagonists. Of course, both director and author were Raised Catholic.
  • The Telmarines as depicted in Prince Caspian are very obviously based on Renaissance Spain, but also have pronounced Japanese elements (for example, a mock-samurai warrior ethos and ornate face masks they wear in combat).
  • Only God Forgives:
    Nathan Rabin: "It’s a contemporary neo-noir (although in this case, the word “noir” somehow doesn’t seem dark enough) written and directed by a Danish filmmaker with an American star, a British female leadnote , and a Bangkok setting, resulting in a film without a country or a home about protagonists who are outsiders wherever they go."


  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. A discussion amongst the gods about the empires on the Counterweight Continent:
    "They are five great families feuding. The Hongs, the Fongs, the Sungs, the Tangs, and the McSweeneys."
    "Very old, established family."
    • The Agatean Empire, as featured in Interesting Times, is itself a mixture of various Fantasy Counterpart Culture elements, borrowed mainly from Japanese and Chinese history: We have both samurai and a thinly-veiled Terracotta Army taking part in the climactic battle. Needless to say, as this is Discworld we're talking about, Funny reigns supreme. Later writings added Thai and Korean elements to the stew. (BhangBhangDuc and the fermented cabbage condiment "Grimchi")
    • Uberwald is, well, Überwald, but Bonk's chocolate museum and mad fretwork that make the buildings look like cuckoo clocks sounds more like the Black Forest. Fat soup was inspired by a signing tour in Poland, and the Unholy Empire's crest parodies that of the Russian Empire and its name that of the Holy Roman Empire. Basically, anywhere east of France where v and w are the same letter.
    • Word of God describes Ankh-Morpork as a cross between Renaissance Florence, 18th century London, 19th century Seattle and 20th century New York. (This is a simplification - it also has elements of 19th and 20th century London, post-Imperial Rome, medieval Prague, and pretty much any other city with some interesting stories attached to it.)
      • Stephen Briggs' map made Ankh-Morpork look exactly like central London rotated by ninety degrees, including the U-shaped bend in the river. (Terry Pratchett later named the relevant part of the city "The Isle of Gods" (as opposed to London's corresponding Isle of Dogs.)
    • Klatch is mostly the Middle East (most obviously in the Arabian Nights-flavoured Sourcery and the slightly-Desert Storm-inspired Jingo), but there's a definite Indian element as well; Klatchian takeaways in Ankh-Morpork sell curry (although they also sell falafels) and the jungle is home to tigers.
    • Omnia, and especially the Holy Citadel of Kom, are roughly where Israel and Jerusalem should be and have various Middle Eastern aspects, but the details of the Omnian religion and the fact Omnia's a theocracy mean it's culturally a lot closer to the medieval Vatican. note 
  • All over the place in Honor Harrington, but justified by the peculiarities of a humanity's Diaspora to the stars.
    • Haven is a pretty equal mix of all things Anglo-Saxon and French, both ethnically and politically: their original and later state was pretty much a United Space of America, while most of the series they've spent as a variation of Revolutionary France with a healthy dose of Stalinist Soviet Union thrown into the mix.
    • The Andermani Empire is an ethnically Chinese but culturally German state, built by the loony but very successful ex-mercenary Gustav Anderman, who believed that he was a reincarnation of Frederick the Great.
    • Grayson is a funny mix of Idaho with Space Mormons, and just enough of Meiji Japan for it to be noticeable.
    • Even Manticore itself, while giving undeniably British vibes, was actually an all-European effort, so at least ethnically it runs the whole gamut from the UK to Russia. Plus the royal family is Black.
      • The new Honorverse Companion specifies that 60% of the original colonists of the Manticore System came from western Europe, with most of the remainder being from North America or the Caribbean and a small minority of Ukrainians. Considering how multicultural the European Union, the United States, Canada and the Caribbean already are today, this alone is enough to presume that most of Old Earth's major cultures have some representation in Manticore's heritage, even without allowing for the large second wave of immigration after the Plague years.
    • Cult Colony went bad? Okay now you've got a planet of Atheists. Racial Colony go bad? Now you've got a planet of Albino Zulus. There are examples in some of the short stories of what happens when different colonies hit the same planet and it gets ugly.
    • Then there is Beowulf, whose biggest examples have been members of Honor's family, so a planet with a large chunk of Asian ancestry and very pseudo-Spanish names.
  • Most cultures in The Wheel of Time. The Aiel have a nomadic desert culture mixing Native American, Bedouin and Zulu influences, but they look Irish and speak with Slavic accents. The Seanchan are a Imperial Chinese/Japanese/Persian/Hellenistic melange that were founded by an Expy of King Arthur, while Word of God says they have Texan accents.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga, the planet Barrayar has a mixture of Russian, French, Greek and English influences.
  • Dune is a completely justified example - while it is less chop suey and more cultural broth, it is reasonable to assume that after so long in the stars, all the cultures that have been subsumed into the Sublime Padishah Empire will mingle - although there is a heavily pronounced Islamic strain, suggesting some sort of Islamic or neo-Islamic period.
    • The official religious text of the Imperium is the Orange Catholic Bible, a mish-mash of various tenets from major human religions. According to the prequel novels, when the Commission of Ecumenical Translators first came to Emperor Jules Corrino with their work, he endorsed and published it, earning himself and the CET such ire that the Emperor had to put members of the CET into protective custody to avoid lynch mobs. When a member of the CET was found supposedly raping the Empress (later revealed to have been consensual), Emperor Jules had all members of the CET publicly beheaded to the joy of the masses.
    • It's also worth noting that the only culture that mentioned to have survived relatively unchanged through 20,000 or so years are the Jews. Even Islam has been merged with East Asian religions. The Fremen, for example, are descended from Zensunni (i.e. a mix of Zen Buddhism and Sunni Islam), while there are mentions of violent Zenshiite minorities. Collectively, they are known as Buddhislamics.
  • The civilization of the Masters from The Stone Dance of the Chameleon comes across as a mixture between ancient Rome and indigenous South American people.
  • The Icecarls of Garth Nix's The Seventh Tower series are mostly Norse but with hints of Lapps as well due to their nomadic lifestyle and their domestication of reindeerlike creatures..
  • Pops up a bit in Lyra's world in His Dark Materials, to emphasize the Alternate History. For instance, the gyptians (their equivalent of gypsies) have Dutch names and take to the seas like the real life Moken or Bajau. Meanwhile there's hints of extensive North Europe or Central Asian influence in the Americas, but things originating in the New World still have Nahuatl names.
  • Any culture in the A Song of Ice and Fire series that is not in southern Westeros (which, with the exception of Dorne, is a straight Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Medieval England).

     Live-Action TV  

  • The Klingons as portrayed from Star Trek: The Next Generation onward combine about 50% each of Viking and Japanese Samurai culture. Essentially, they are Viking Samurai IN SPACE!. With forehead ridges. (In the original series they appeared to be about 50/50 Russian and Thief of Bagdad Persian stereotypes, although there was little to no cultural exploration at all.)
  • The Firefly 'verse is a case of Culture Chop Suey, but it's not really an equal blend of Western and Chinese culture; rather, it's a Space Western where the characters supplement their English dialogue with (bad) Mandarin, eat Chinese dishes as well as Western ones, and in some cases (like the Tams) have Asian-ish surnames but look white.
  • In Chuck, Lester belongs to a "cult" based on a mishmash of Jewish, Indian, and Canadian culture.
  • The Castithi in Defiance, particularly as seen through the focus on the Tarrs, mix Italian Mafia, the Hindu caste system, Japanese bathing rituals and Arabian Muslim attitudes towards women. Furthermore it was originally planned to give older Castithans like Datak and Stahma an accent that would have sounded like a cross between Japanese and Indian.
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World had quite a number of fantasy cultures living on the plateau. During a season, the group ran into King Arthur, an Egyptian Pharaoh, a society of Amazons, Tribune's people (based on Roman society), and several other peoples with Scottish, Norse, and even one with Hollywood Voodoo mythologies.
  • In Raumpatrouille, which is set in the year 3000 when "there are no more nation-states", the culture is generally futuristic Europeanized Western. However people eat with chopsticks. This may be a fortunate side-effect of the budget constraints: buying a few sets of chopsticks was obviously cheaper than to look for and buy cutlery that looked futuristic enough to come from the year 3000, and yet still would be completely unlike what European viewers in 1966 would have been accustomed to. It seems to have been a late change, as in episode 1, where two Orion crewmen come across two dead members of the space station MZ 4 still holding their chopsticks after being killed mid-meal, one of them comments: "But you don't die that way, with a fork in your hand!"

     Tabletop Games  

  • Dungeons & Dragons loves this for the non-European based areas of its settings. The "Middle East" tends to be a blend of Turkish, Persian and Arabic influences, and the "Far East" Japanese and Chinese.
    • Hey, the 'European' areas are usually no exception.
    • It goes to the point that the Kara-Tur and Maztica subsettings for the Forgotten Realms are notable because they don't follow this trope, in favour of dialing up Fantasy Counterpart Culture — Kara-Tur goes to the point of having two Chinas and Japans to avoid the temporal counterpart to this trope, while Maztica closely replicated Cortez' expedition against the Aztecs (up until the thing gets heavily derailed by the fact that this is a setting with high-power magic and active gods, at least).
  • Big Eyes, Small Mouth actually spells this out for the world of Ikaris: the Seven Stars are described as a fusion of ancient Greece and samurai-era Japan.
  • Exalted has many of these — always done very deliberately. The one described in the most detail is the Realm: it's mostly a blend of Imperial Rome and various Chinese dynasties, but there's also hints of Tokugawa Japan, Achaemenid Persia, and pretty much any other premodern Old World empire you could name.
  • Although each of the Successor States in BattleTech is ruled by a royal family from a specific culture, the general populaces of said states tend to be vastly multicultural. For example, the Capellan Confederation is nominally a Chinese nation and styles itself after Imperial China, but has a significant minority of Russian-speaking citizens and tequila is a nationally enjoyed drink.

     Video Games  

  • The Legend of Zelda, especially in the earlier games, has largely had the feel of being based around Medieval European Fantasy. It varies in later games, but not in a way that makes Link using a boomerang ever seem to fit.
    • While the series superficially appears to be Medieval European Fantasy, there's a lot of Eastern influence in the architecture, symbolism, and especially the religion, featuring Eastern elements like reincarnation and polytheism.
  • Dark Souls appears to be a Medieval European Fantasy, but when it comes to Izalith, it borrows element of Southeast-Asian architectures, and not to mention the Far East, which appears to resemble a combination of Chinese and Japanese culture. Shiva of The East, one of the Forest Guards, borrowed the name of a Hindu goddess and was voiced by a Chinese voice actornote .
  • The EverQuest series has the monk guilds in the human cities, which seem Asian-influenced, in what is otherwise largely Medieval European Fantasy.
    • In the second game, while the city of Freeport maintains a largely medieval feel, the Freeport Militia have gained a distinctly Roman aesthetic.
  • Jade Empire, which is based on Ancient China, includes creatures specifically identified as golems, which are from Jewish folklore.
  • Most World of Warcraft races are a hodgepodge of many different bits and pieces from real world cultures. For instance, Night Elf architecture is based in equal parts on Japanese and Northern European styles. The Draenei speak with an Eastern-European accent and are inspired in equal parts by the Roma and some South Asian cultures, but use a lot of Greek sounds in their names. Goblins are infamous for both their gold smarts (a Jewish stereotype) and the pervasiveness of the Mafia in their culture (an Italian stereotype, with a matching accent to boot).
    • There was a small controversy regarding the Pandaren being too Japanese. This offended China's government and they were redesigned to be more Chinese.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is set in a predominantly European Fantasy Counterpart Culture. However, Cloud Ruler Temple, the headquarters of the Blades, is a Buddhist temple, complete with upturned roof corners. Once inside, we're back in fantasy Europe. This is because Cloud Ruler Temple is based off of Akaviri culture, and the Akaviri were Bethesda's go-to Japanese surrogates.
    • A similar mix is seen with Sky Haven Temple in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which has a Buddhist temple exterior and an interior fitting with the Medieval Scandinavian aesthetics seen throughout most of the rest of the game. Esbern calls attention to this when first entering the place, noting that the Akaviri Blades had been in Skyrim long enough by the time they built the structure to start adopting Nord designs.
    • Most TES cultures are like this, when they aren't completely removed from reality. The Dunmer alone have been compared to Japan, Mongolia, China, Mesopotamia and the Hebrews, with a heavy smattering of Dune and Star Wars, and a religion that draws from the Medieval Catholic Church, Hinduism and Thelema. Even the seemingly obvious ones—like the Nords and Imperials—have heavy influences from Egypt and India.
    • The Imperials in particular used to be a lot more like Mayans than Romans before Oblivion - Cyrodiil used to be a giant jungle in the older games, but Bethesda retconned it into Generic Fantasy Europe because they thought it would sell better.
  • The whole Iron Grip series lives and breathes this trope, in addition to being chock-full of Punk Punk Schizo Tech. Example : The Fahrongi are a nation that has many similarities to the Holy Roman Empire, the Byzantine empire and Napoleonic France. As if this wasn't enough, they have an Up to Eleven Crystal Dragon Jesus Church Militant with Knight Templar attitudes and medieval-esque flagellants... who serve as volunteer suicide bombers... The ruler of the country is something like a cross between a Byzantine emperor and an Islamic calif.
  • The ruins of La-Mulana have design motifs that echo those of numerous ancient real-world cultures.
  • The Pokémon world is basically a mashup of Japan and the US (or at least Japan's view of the US). Not surprising, given the fact that many of the the original employees on the first Pokémon game had worked on EarthBound, which was a similar mash-up, albeit a bit more US-centric than Pokemon's world (which is more like Japan with some American flairs and cues added in).
    • This has become even more the case now that the fifth generation of games take place in Unova, which is based on the New York City metropolitan area. For example, you now encounter trainers based around (American) Football and Basketball, sports that aren't nearly as popular in Japan as they are in the US.
    • The sixth generation brings us France's equivalent called Kalos, complete with Gay Paree and assorted French stereotypes (but not Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys), and introduces Japanese tourists.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Antiva, a land of olive-skinned macho men with Spanish accents, the culture of which is otherwise based on medieval Venice.
    • The Qunari, who are meant to be a counterpart of the Islamic Middle East, except for the fact that their philosophy resembles Buddhism with swords more than Islam and they live in a jungle, not a desert. This would possibly make them Indian (having a Fantastic Caste System supports this) rather than Afghan - or, due to the fact that they live across a sea from the rest of Thedas, part of Darkest Africa instead (bonus points for the fact that the majority of their members are kossith, a race of very large Scary Black Horned Humanoids).
    • Speaking of Islam, while the Chantry is basically a Gender Inverted Catholicism, their Crystal Dragon Jesus is more like a combination of The Prophet Muhammad and Joan of Arc.
  • In Heroes of Might and Magic, Academy/Wizard faction at different points has Greek Titans, Indian Rakshasa and Nagas, Middle-Eastern Djinns/Jinni, European gargoyles, English gremlins, and Jewish Golems. Heroes of Might and Magic V also gives them an Arabian Nights/Days style.
  • Pretty much all of the countries in the Ace Combat series exhibit this sort of characterization. While some are closer to the real world nations they're based on, they all exhibit various levels of subversion, thus averting straight-up examples of Fantasy Counterpart Culture. Osea shows political and cultural elements of both the United States and European Union member states as well as an obviously Japanese-derived self-defense force. Yuktobania has a Russian-influenced, but overall "generic Slavic" culture, and lies in climatic zones unlike any of the ones within Russia's or the USSR's territory (jungles, etc.) and its air force flies lots of real world Western planes in addition to Russian models. Belka has many obvious parallels to Germany and German history, but its name sounds Slavic, its national legends also encompass iconography from the Arthurian legends and its plight in the 1980s and 1990s is often very reminiscent of the violent breakup of Yugoslavia, in addition to being a modernized allegory of World War Two. Ustio is a mix of Switzerland and the long-disputed Alsace-Lorraine region between France and Germany. Emmeria is an odd mix of American, Canadian, British, French and other Western European nations. Aurelia has a lot in common with South American countries, but also shares similarities with modern Australia. And so on...
  • Sword of the Stars II has this for humanity by implication, where the admiral name randomizer allows you to have Anglo-Saxon first names with Native American family names, Chinese on Russian, Arabic on Japanese...
  • The country where Harvest Moon games are set is a mix of the US, Japan, and Europe.
  • The empires in EVE Online are all descended from various Terran colonists who arrived to New Eden before the wormhole connecting the cluster and Earth collapsed. As a result they tend to have elements of multiple Earth cultures. The most obvious are Caldari who are a combination of Japanese and Finnish with a hevay doce of cyberpunk corporate dystopia. The Amarr religion derived from Christianity (although after several thousands of years of separation means it only has the barest similarity), while their names tend to be more Persian.
  • The entire culture of the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado in Shin Megami Tensei IV. The inhabitants are mainly of Eastern descent, but they live in a European-style kingdom filled with modern-day technologies revered as mystical relics, and their main defenders are called samurai. The backstory explains what happened and how such a culture came to be.
  • While being heavily based on Lithuanian folklore and the religions of the ancient Baltic cultures, the world of Tree of Savior has a lot of elements of other Earthly cultures. This is most easily seen in the character classes—Hoplites, Peltasti, and Oracles from Classical Greece, Cataphracts from the Middle East/Central Asia, Murmillones and Centurions from the Roman Empire, Shinobi from feudal Japan, Wugushi and Taoist Priests from China's imperial dynasties, Highlanders from medieval Scotland, Squires and Plague Doctors from medieval Europe, Spanish Rodoleros, Finnish Hakkapeliitta, and German Doppelsöldner and Schwarzer Reiter from the Renaissance, Voudoun Bokors, Hindu Sadhus ... in fact, so far there are only two classes that have a distinct Lithuanian background, and those are the Krivis and Dievdirbys (both in the Cleric class family).
  • Valkyrie Profile is a predominantly Norse-affected world, with the Aesir, Vanir, and Jotuns. However, there is also Hai-Lan with a decidedly Japanese flavour. The ruins of Akhetnan, while abandoned in game, are heavily based on Egyptian myth.
  • Pillars of Eternity:
    • Free Palatinate of Dyrwood is what USA could be if they appeared some 400 odd years earlier, in a world where democracy never existed. It is very Anglo-Saxon overall, with a goverment resembling that of Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth. And then there's the goddess of fire and war as their Statue of Liberty.
    • Eir Glanfath is a mix of Magical Native American and celtic tribes of British Isles. Glanfathans have hereditary nobles, yet are begrudgingly united in a Iroquois-like confederacy (there are even exactly six major tribes).
    • Vailian Republics are mix and match of 15th-18th century Spain, France and Italian states.
    • Aedyr Empire is Ancient Grome, with Anglo-Saxons and elves in place of Romans. In overall picture of the world they take the role of the British Empire.
    • Rauatai has a strong Polynesian flair, yet their goverment is something of a constitutional monarchy, which is made even more interesting by the fact that Rauatai has the strongest navy. There's also an Ottoman-like artillery obsession taking place.
    • Ixamitl Plains has Mesoamerican-like people dressed in traditional Bulgarian and Ethiopian clothing engage in Shaolin monk rituals and 19th century level philosophy. Yeah.


  • Lampshaded in The Order of the Stick in the backstory strips during the trial sequence. When the gods are creating the world again they have to take turns to prevent the Snarl from forming and one of the 12 gods of the Southern pantheon (The Monkey) puts in ninjas 'cuz it's his turn.
    • Some of the individual cultures play the trope straight: Azure City is a mix of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean elements, while the Western Continent has Arabic, Babylonian, and African pieces mixed together (along with lizard-people).
  • In City Under The Hill, the very City itself is one. Though this is explained by Babylon's buildings and landmarks being magical copies from most of the world's major cities, the clashing cultures follow suit.

     Web Video  

  • During Some Jerk with a Camera's Family Matters Disney World review, he wonders why Winnie-the-Pooh is dressed as a Mountie in the Italian Pavilion of Epcot, which then leads him to wonder why a British character is even dressing like a Canadian in the first place.

     Western Animation  

  • Lampshaded in an episode of The Simpsons, where Lisa is playing Dash Dingo, a video game based on the Theme Park version of Australia. She is killed by a group of koalas dressed as ninjas, leading her to remark "Ninjas? But those aren't even Australian!"
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Sokka carries a boomerang, despite his Water Tribe culture being largely based off of the Inuit people.
    • The Sun Warriors, a cross between Aztecs/Maya and different Southeast Asian cultures.
    • The Foggy Swamp Water Tribe, based on Vietnamese tribes in style and culture...and sounding exactly like Southern rednecks.
    • Not even the main "nationalities"/"ethnicities" are immune to this; the capital of the Northern Water Tribe has Chinese-influenced architecture, with the canals and bridges of Venice, and while the Fire Nation's political situation and industrial superiority may be reminiscent of Imperial Japan, its material culture is mainly Chinese (with a bit of Thai mixed in).
  • Sequel Series The Legend of Korra jumps seventy years forward, where the established Far East blending now adds elements of The Roaring '20s and The Great Depression to its cultural milieu, with Republic City itself as a blend of Shanghai, Hong Kong, Manhattan and Vancouver.
    • The soundtrack, as per the Track Team, is "1920s New Orleans jazz but if it were invented in China".
  • Though you'd see a handful of straight-up Fantasy Counterpart Cultures in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Contemporary Equestria blends Ancient Greece with a considerable helping of both Medieval and continental Europe, then adds some 19th century Britain, a bit of The Wild West, and just a pinch of the 1980's - all of it wrapped up in contemporary Midwestern North America.
    • Outside countries seem to throw France, the Ottoman Empire, ancient Babylonians and Aztec culture into the mix as well. The Kingdom of Griffonstone is basically a mountainous medieval kingdom that helps itself from various Carpathian, Caucasian and even Himalayan cultures, particularly those of the Ottoman Empire and Nepal.

     Real Life  

  • Many real life cultures adopted aspects from their neighboring cultures, as well as from foreign conquerors. Let's take the English culture as an example. Modern English culture is a mix of the old Celtic settlers native to the island who got Romanized, just to get later conquered by the Germanic Angles, who in turn got conquered by the Saxons. During the Viking Age, viking lords carved out many small jarldoms and kingdoms on the island and mixed with the native people. Then finally, the Norman invaders conquered the island one last time, with the Norman culture actually being a mix of the Norse vikings and the Northern French culture. And only then can you speak of these people as Englishmen.
  • No culture in recorded history has ever been free of foreign elements or influences. Archeologists are still not in agreement just how often writing and agriculture were invented and how often they were taught to one culture by another. A letter based alphabet seems to have only arisen once, which means every single person reading this has some Semitic people in the Mediterranean to thank. The Romans used to think of soap and trousers as barbaric and wore socks in their sandal-like shoes - all of those would come as a surprise to most meticulously groomed suit-wearing Italians of today. And that's just the surface of it.
  • It appears that during the Age of Migrations many ethnic groups started to band together and form raiding parties/tribes crossing ethnic lines giving themselves Awesome McCoolname - names like "Franks" (the free people) "Alemanni" (all men) or Huns (nobody knows what it means, but given they were The Dreaded even to the Roman Empire it must have been some name indeed). Ironically even two millennia later some people claim continuity from those heterogeneous groups to modern ethnicities.

Alternative Title(s): Cultural Chop Suey