A complicated Japanese aesthetic and cultural concept. Breaking the expression down: "Yamato" is one of the older (and thus fancier) and more poetic names for Japan and the Japanese people and culture, similar to the Celtic "Albion" for the island of Great Britain and "Eire"/"Erin" for Ireland; "Nadeshiko" is the Japanese name for Dianthus superbus, a wildflower found in the Japanese highlands that is related to the carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus).
Broadly speaking, then, a yamato nadeshiko is a "flower of Nipponese womanhood": a woman with attributes that were considered desirable in the (male-dominated) neo-ConfucianJapan of the nineteenth century and beyond. The term was generally ascribed to noble women with traditional upbringings, but after the formal abolishment of the caste system it passed into wider use among the new 'middle classes'. Being a yamato nadeshiko revolved around the Confucian concepts of Feudal Loyalty and Filial Piety, which in the latest wave of Confucian revival meant acting for the benefit of one's family and obeying and assisting authority figures (father, husband, sometimes father-in-law or older brothers, as well as older and/or more respected females). Virtues include(d) loyalty, domestic ability, wisdom, maturity, and humility.
This sounds like an Extreme Doormat, especially to modern Europeans, but don't be fooled; the nadeshiko is a wildflower at heart. A properly done yamato nadeshiko will show a subtle, but definitely present, touch of iron, in that she is unwilling to let circumstances hurt the ones she cares about or distract her from her goals or missions. This is often accomplished so subtly that the target isn't certain how things got redirected — a kind of influence judo, if you will. Older yamato nadeshiko are better at this, while a younger one will make up for it in determination — especially when it comes to the man she loves, because that trumps everything else. Remember: this is just a trope, and all Tropes Are Tools.
A poorly done yamato nadeshiko will turn out like an Extreme Doormat. They are silent and submissive without the inner strength of a true yamato nadeshiko. This is a common stereotype of East Asian women in Western fiction and is often referred to derisively as the China Doll stereotype.
With some notable exceptions, yamato nadeshiko will be of medium height, willowy, modestly endowed, and good-looking without being too beautiful or too cute; they will have pale skin and long dark hair with full, straight bangs and side-bangs. They'll dress in feminine fashions: skirts, blouses, low-heeled shoes, lace, ribbons and simple hair ornaments. The other option is impeccable lady-like style for adults. A kimono is likely to be worn by a nadeshiko brought up in the good old Kyoto style. Some may wear jewellery and make-up, but not too much. Their voices will often be gentle, calm, and warm as melted butter. Large, rounded eyes are always a good bet. It is not unusual for geisha to be a yamato nadeshiko.
Sometimes, these ladies will also know self-defense, even if they would rather not fight if it can be avoided. This makes sense as many nadeshiko came from samurai clans and thus were trained in fighting so they could defend their homes whenever the males were absent. If that's the case, they'll be very graceful and effective in the battlefield, and they're likely to be White Magician Girls or Barrier Warriors. If they're neither, they'll likely use polearms, lances (specifically naginata which daughters of samurai families were traditionally trained in and included in their dowry) or bow/arrows, and maybe even small tantou daggersthat may be hidden in their clothes.
These characters pop up a lot in Magical Girlfriend series (usually as the one who will win the male lead's heart) and as the "Betty" in Betty and VeronicaLove Triangles. They tend to be very sympathetic, but their passive, reactionary nature puts them in danger of becoming Satellite Characters for more "interesting" people, as well as target of bashing from fans who prefer more active love interests such as Tsundere. Obviously, this trope is most popular in Japan.
Expect her name to end in "-ko" [子] or "-mi" [美], which mean "child" and "beauty", respectively.Protip "-ko" in words is analogous to the Western suffix "-ette"/"-elle"/"-ine" in making any name feminine. Less subtle examples might even use Nadeshiko for the Meaningful Name factor.
You will sometimes find males who fit in the yamato nadeshiko role, personality and/or looks-wise (like Japan in Axis Powers Hetalia, obviously), but this is still rare. The true Spear Counterpart to this trope is Samurai.
More information on this concept can be found in the sci.lang.japan FAQ. Compare Stepford Smiler for and Yandere for a girl who seems to be a Yamato Nadeshiko but hides a far more unstable psyche. Her sort-of early Western equivalent is the Determined Widow. A more passive Victorian era Western equivalent is the "angel in the house" or as we call it, Proper Lady. An attempt to take this trope's appealing traits Up to Eleven while still playing it straight runs the risk of producing a Purity Sue.
This trope is commonly used in the portrayal of a Patient Childhood Love Interest character's personality.
Compare English Rose and Proper Lady (her UK counterparts), Silk Hiding Steel, Spirited Young Lady, Princess Classic, Southern Belle (her US counterpart), The Ingenue, Dandere.
Note: This trope is for the Japanese Ideal in particular and Eastern Asian Ideal in general. For the western/European ideal see Proper Lady. For a general 'proper on the outside, powerful on the inside' woman use Silk Hiding Steel. For tropes describing homemakers and housewives in general, use House Wife. To describe 'innocence' or 'gentleness' use The Ingenue. Polite or friendliness can be covered by Nice Girl. A person whose niceness belies danger/effectiveness use Beware the Nice Ones. General girliness is covered by Girly Girl.
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Anime & Manga
Shizuka Minamoto from Doraemon is the prime example for Japanese's anime & manga society. She's a soft spoken, nature loving, and caring girly girl who addresses the Failure Hero Nobita using honorific. She's shown to be pretty good at almost everything except violin.
Belldandy in Ah! My Goddess, which standardizes Kikuko Inoue's typecasting. Though the in-story reason for her being a yamato nadeshiko is that if she wasn't, the universe would be in serious danger. She presents an interesting case in that she so deliberately invokes this trope personality-wise but doesn't fit many of the above-defined physical descriptions, not to mention the fact that she's a Norse goddess who would have no reason to have ever even heard of Japan, let alone take on their ideal of femininity. Kikuko Inoue count: 1
Tomoe from Queen's Blade is one: The Hime Cut, the priestess uniform, the polite and sweet yet tough as nails personality, her homeland is Wutai; she nails every bull's eye. In a cast with so many female characters it's surprising that she's the only YN.
Cattleya has some traits as well but she also subverts it in some ways and doesn't play it nearly as straight as Tomoe does.
Mercedes Herrera / de Morcerf in Gankutsuou is a Frenchish but otherwise fits the trope (graceful, forgiving, loyal but strong willed, etc) and is voiced by you know who. Kikuko Inoue count: 2
Hisui from Wish is one of this in the CD drama. Only... uh, Hisui is genderless. After awakening, Kohaku tries to become one to help Hisui in homemaking.Kikuko Inoue count: 3
Hinata Hyuuga who not only looks the part (especially after the time skip with her long black hair) but is also exceptionally kind, polite, soft-spoken and devoted to Naruto. The inner iron, while always present, takes a while to manifest and when it does it is amazing. She stepped out against Pain because of her love for Naruto, even though she knew her own death was the most likely outcome.
Haku is a rare male case of this trope. He's a kind, soft-spoken, androgynous (if not outright feminine-looking) boy who probably has some significant domestic ability aside from that which we see onscreen (the herb-picking). He bows to Zabuza's authority but retains that hint of steel the article talks about...when it comes to protecting Zabuza.
Mikoto Uchiha. A mome who cares very much for her sons, Itachi and Sasuke, and tries to keep the peace between them alongside praising Sasuke in front of her husband Fugaku. Along with Kushina Uzamaki, she was an extremely powerful kunoichi and held in high regards. She is fiercely loyal to Fugaku and it's hinted that she played a part in the Uchiha's plan to take over Konoha.. She even sat calmly and offered Itachi reassurance as he killed her and Fugaku.
RahXephon: Haruka Shitow of is sweet, fun, wise, and respects authority and a Badass.
Kasumi's Tsundere younger sister, Akane, wants to grow up into a yamato nadeshiko (going so far as to using the very feminine "atashi" to refer to herself), while still being a martial artist but she's such a tomboytsundere that she just... can't.
There were two characters in the manga that tried to get revenge on Shampoo for beating them up as kids by using some weird flowers that turned whoever wore them into a yamato nadeshiko, even if they were male.
Nodoka Saotome, Ranma's mother, is the very image of the yamato nadeshiko: a reserved lady in a kimono that carries a katana meant to preserve the family's honor. When she hears how someone is menacing Akane or Ranko and she gets out the katana. Even if she's clumsy with it, there's a reasonArrogant Kung-Fu Guy Genma calls her a "formidable woman."
Akari Unryuu is occasionally derided as a Relationship Sue because she plays this trope perfectly straight, without any 'little quirks' like the aforementioned characters have. Let's make a list: long dark hair, pretty but not beautiful, loyal to her guy (indeed, she thinks his curse is more reason to love him), and carries on her family's tradition of raising sumo pigs. Word of God confirmed that she was created with his Happily Ever After in mind.
Konatsu is a "genius" kunoichi (female ninja) that also works as a kimono clad waitress in Ukyo's shop. Since this is Ranma ½, Konatsu is male.
Played with in a filler episode. We meet a guy who wants Ranma to marry his daughter Kaori, and she seems to be the perfect one: always in a bridal kimono, chaste, humble etc. Then Akane and Ranko enter a race to see what to do... Kaori shreds her bridal clothes and rises to the challenge, and we see that she's a Cute Bruiser who will do anything in her power to win Ranma's "hand in marriage".
Reiko Aya aka Sailor Aluminium Siren from the Stars anime is the very rare villainous example. She is very ladylike and soft-spoken, and even kinda ditzy, but she's on the side of the Big Bad Galaxia and devotes herself to follow her evil orders. Kikuko Inoue count: 5
Aoi Sakuraba in Ai Yori Aoshi (as pictured above) is a textbook example of this trope; other characters use the term in discussing her. She always wears a kimono because the family business is making kimono, and it wouldn't do for her to be seen wearing something other than her family's product. It's also justified in that she wants to be a yamato nadeshiko for Kaoru in every way, and has been practicing at it since childhood. Since she comes from a very traditional family, you would expect her to be a very traditional example. This makes her devotion to Kaoru specifically all the more significant, since brazenly defying family for the sake of love is emphatically non-traditional.
Steel Angel Kurumi: Encore: an entire episode centered on this idea which went so far as to have a character named "Nadeshiko". She exemplified this concept, and much humor resulted in the Genki Girl main character trying to imitate her.
The plot of Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge aka The Wallflower aka Perfect Girl Evolution is to transform the leading lady, Sunako, into this archetype. She has the domestic skills and looks (when she isn't drawn chibi-style); she's just made the conscious decision to let all the other traits slide (due to her first love going sour, and in the J-Drama, bullying from her classmates), becoming a withdrawn and very creepy Dark Action Girl.
School Rumble: Yakumo Tsukamoto, Tenma's little sister. On one hand she is kind, good-hearted, a good cook, helpful to her sister (and Harima), and fits the appearance nicely. On the other her seeming perfection hides her inability to interact with others (the manga shows that she has trouble making friends), her Heavy Sleeper tendence gets in the way of housework, and her devotion to Tenma and Harima causes her to ignore her own emotional needs.
In the Manga version, the Nadeshiko picked up an addon unit on Mars, named Yamato, and after the upgrade, is renamed Yamato Nadeshiko to play it straight, and think about it, it's Space Battleship Yamato Nadeshiko. The unit received heavy damage in the last battle, and after they purged it, the ship returned to just Nadeshiko. (note: Manga story is VERY different from anime version.
Matanei Loki Ragnarok: The Mysterious Thief Freyr refers to Mayura Daidouji as "Yamato Nadeshiko" note The dub renders this as 'Classical Japanese Beauty' but she doesn't quite fit the standards because she is spacy and bull headed.
Rei II in the Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance after defrosts and particulary in Rebuild where she tries to get her love interest and his father (who also happens to be the closest she herself had for a father) to get along by inviting them to a home-cooked dinner. She is also quiet, serious, would die for any of those two at any given moment and, in the original series, reacts with a Luminescent Blush to being told that she'd make a good housewife.
Hikari Horaki in the original series. Despite being a minor character, she appears in a lot of Japanese market pictures and figure sets. It's discussed whether Hikari is a Type B Tsundere or a YN who happens to be friends with two kids (Asuka and Touji) who are THAT good at irritating people.)
Paranoia Agent: Misae Ikari uses most of episode 11, "No Entry" to show a Reconstruction of this trope. While her "selfless" behavior came from clinical depression she retains the quiet dignity and inner iron of the trope. No one else in the series was capable of forcing Lil' Slugger to sit down and listen to her like a good little boy.
Momoko from Sumomo Mo Momo Mo takes the entire series to demonstrate the concept, going from stalker to devoted companion, willing to follow her man into the next world.
Parodied in Tenjho Tenge, where Aya Natsume in the very first chapter becomes an obnoxious, over-the-top Clingy Jealous Girl mixed with yamato nadeshiko because of a family tradition: any woman from the Natsume clan must give their lives to the first one who sees their naked skin, and Souichirou had the tough luck of being thrown into the dressing room while Aya was showering inside.
Among Sakura's friends, the one who embodies the trope closely is Rika Sasaki. Sakura thinks that Rika's very beautiful and mature, if not more than the other girls. Tomoyo also follows the torpe to a degree, but she's more The Ojou.
Maki Matsumoto, the beautiful and sweet owner of the local pawn and toy shop.
Another male example would be Yukito Tsukishiro, Touya's best friend and Sakura's crush and the embodiment of the less YN-ish Yue. Yukito's kindness and YN traits were so strong that Sakura's Precocious Crush on him was based on how similar he was to her father Fujitaka. When Sakura confesses to him, he gently confronts her on such a fact and turns her down just as sweetly.
Kaho Mizuki in the anime where she's more quiet and aloof than in the manga.
Shugo Chara!: Nadeshiko Fujisaki from would definitely be this (it's even right there on her name) if she wasn't, a guy. Her Shugo Chara also applies...except that she's Axe Crazy.
Tamaki often imagines Haruhi, who is a Bifauxnen, as one; before coming to Ouran and cutting her long hair, she resembled one, as well. She is a good cook, but other than that the trope doesn't apply to her.
In the manga a girl named Kanoya falls for Tamaki. She seems to have all these traits, and also very closely resembles Tamaki's inner mind version of Haruhi.
Double-Subverted where Tomoe Yukishiro is sweet, hardworking, so calm and collected she looked borderline cold... and was a spy who wanted to kill Kenshin for murdering her fiance. She opens up and genuinely falls for Kenshin, "her Second Love", and dies. Several years later, Kenshin falls for theTsundere Kaoru, who in the infamous Seishouhen OAV grows up into a yamato nadeshiko. This is also present in the manga epilogue, but it's handled more subtly.
Also the two girls from the Oniwabanshuu (Masukami/Omasu and Omime/Okon), when they're off-duty. It's a Justified Trope since they work as waitresses in the Aoiya when not kicking ass alongside the group, while the guys are the cooks of the place.
Sayo Mutou aka Magdaria is also one of these, as she is a very calm and softspoken young woman who takes the Team Mom role towards a whole Japanese Christian community. She's also colder than the standard due to her Dark and Troubled Past, but slowly defrosts with Sanosuke's help.
Gundam SEED has Lacus Clyne (with heavy emphasis on the wisdom), a yamato nadeshiko who uses her Idol Singer status to become a political juggernaut because her family business just happens to be politics and her dad, ex PLANT chairman Siegel Clyne, is murdered because of it. Her yamato nadeshiko side is more obvious in Gundam SEED Destiny, where she spends her days as a homemaker/mother figure to a gaggle of orphans. The ending of Destiny makes her status as this trope complicated. See the note. note Given that it's the only government of a major power that's still intact (the previous leader of the PLANTs had conquered the Earth Alliance and killed its leaders) and the minor nations had already sided with her beforehand, this particular yamato nadeshiko effectively now rules the world. Special Edition outright states it. In Japan traditionally yamato nadeshiko could and did control things (there were even women Empresses), but did it discreetly and indirectly, as direct control was considered crass for women. So Lacus would come out more as The Ojou — she has the behavior, but not the mindset and is too much ambitious for classical yamato nadeshiko. Who, in her situation, would be perfectly prepared to let Kira Yamato take the position and then helphimfrom the shadows.
Kira Yamato's mother, Caridad Yamato, who was very sweet and soft-spoken as well as fitting the appearance nicely. She's Kira's adoptive mom as well as his and Cagalli's biological aunt, being the little sister of their Missing Mom Via Hibiki. She showed the Silk Hiding Steel part by risking her own life to rescue her niece and nephew after the deaths of Ulen and Via, running away from the murder site with both babies in her arms; afterwards, Caridad and her husband Haruma raised Kira as their own child, and it's assumed they also contacted Uzumi Nara Attha and his wife and gave them baby Cagalli to raise and keep safe. Kikuko Inoue count: 8
Gundam 00: Anew Returner, the new Wrench Wench from Celestial Being has the mannerisms and the soft-spoken, hardworking behavior. Subverted later: her yamato nadeshiko side was a façade, since she was a brainwashed Manchurian Agent. And when her boyfriend Lyle tried to give Anew a Last-Second Chance and she was about to take it, her boss Ribbons mind-controlled her and the boyfriend's partner Setsuna had to kill her. OUCH.
One of Genki Girl Miyako Inoue's image songs is called Yamato Nadeshiko Panic; the lyrics are about how much she wants to be more of a yamato nadeshiko. In the Distant Finale, she is. Kinda. Note that the song was released after the finale, along with image songs for the girls from predecessor Digimon Adventure and successor Digimon Tamers.
Toshiko Takenouchi, Sora's very traditional mother (she's the owner of an ikebana school and is seen wearing kimono in a flashback), combines this with Education Mama. Satoe Tachikawa, Mimi's mom, is this and One of the Kids. Also Yoshie Izumi, Koushiro's mom, who may be the straightest example after Toshiko.
Renamon, in spite of being a yellow kitsune, is a Lady of War devoted to her tamer Ruki and much more polite to the other two main tamers. She's a very furryyamato nadeshiko, you might say.
Ruki's grandmother Seiko is notorious because of the heavy emphasis on her wisdom and subtle touch of iron, and there's an episode in which she dolls up in a kimono and attends a kabuki performance alongside Ruki. Also, Seiko-grandma always knew Renamon was there for Ruki, but kept quiet about it since she believed Renamon was her grandchild's guardian spirit.
Saeko Busujima is a polite Heir to the Dojo that wields a katana and knows VERY well how to use it; these traits, however, are mixed in with Ax-Crazy and Blood Knight (which are the opposite of the trope) when she fights. The other twist is under that polite exterior there's a sadist itching to get out and beat the crap out of everyone. Fortunately for her friends, there's a lot of zombies to kill.
Yuriko Takagi aka Saya's mother. Whenever her husband Souchirou is speaking, Yuriko can be seen maintaining a demure composure... Until "They" break into the complex and she and her husband have to fight for their lives. Considering they're a Battle Couple and she's a Ladyof War, she kicks ass.
Bleach: Soul Society resembles feudal Japan in its architecture, style of clothing, samurai upperclass, etc, so there are a number of YN here.
Tobiume herself feels she epitomized this concept and took pride on it. While her appearance was spot-on (clothing and hairstyle) her personality was not.
Miyako, former 3rd officer of the 13th division and wife of its lieutenant, Kaien Shiba. She's a more by-the-book yamato nadeshiko because she's beautiful, tall, feminine, ultra-polite and graceful. When remembering her, Rukia Kuchiki says that Miyako was her idol. Her voice? Sumi Shimamoto, in one of her rare contemporary appearances.
Kanae Katagiri (Ryuuken's wife and Uryuu's mother) fits both the physical description (long dark hair, wide eyes, modestly and femininely dressed) and the personality traits (clearly has domestic skills since she works as a maid, holds Undying Loyalty to Ryuuken, is a competent Quincy warrior when necessary). Her silk hides serious steel: she's the one to convince Ryuuken to return home after his nastyHeroic BSOD and she does so via a gentle, heartfelt appeal instead by force.
A villainous example: Sun Sun, the most feminine and collected of Harribel's all-female fraccion. She also dresses in a modest kimono-like outfit.
Nemu Kurotsuchi. She's a quirkier example than most, but she still fits the bill via her appearance and devotion to her Mad Scientist father/creator.
High School Dx D: When not in sadist mode, Akeno come off as a ideal Japanese woman due to her long black hair and gentle smile. Not to mention she is a great cook like Asia and Rias. Akeno is also polite and devoted to Issei and her team. However, Akeno has a fragile personality to her as she "depend" on men due to her sad past.
Another mention goes to Yasaka as she is a Japanese priestess, very polite toward others, and has a iron will.
A yamato nadeshiko from Imperial China (sort of) is Rangyoku. An orphan who works as the housekeeperand cook for an old man named Enho and takes care of her brother Keikei, she's the most polite and sweet girl in the kingdom of Kei. She meets a tragic end when some soldiers assault the house, kidnap Enho, injure Keikei and stab her to death.
An older version is Queen Chuukin, the sovereign of the kingdom of Sai. With emphasis on the subtle will of iron, as she convinces Riyo to let Suzu go with words alone. Her kirin Sairin fits in well: She is very calm, cultured, and dainty, even for someone of her kind.
Sango is an interesting version of the trope: she's a willowy, dark-haired, pretty-not-beautiful girl who follows her family tradition... of demon-slaying. Her existence is testament to the idea that the traditional family girl can still be handy to have around in a tight spot. note She might be inspired by the fact that, in the old Japanese times, the daughters of the samurais were required to know how to defend themselves and their homes in case they were under attack. The naginata polearm is an almost exclusively femaleWeapon of Choice; it lets her keep the attackers at bay, using the distance to her advantage and reducing the chance to have the Action Girl hurt.
Kikyou was a Miko, yet she acted a lot like a yamato nadeshiko. She was graceful, kind, and a very competent Action Girl; watched over the village and expelled demons, and only rarely showed her secret misgivings over her mission. Then she died, Came Back Wrong, and took a stint as a mix of Yan Dere and Dark Magical Girl. Afterwards, she slowly loses her rage against the world and reverts to her original yamato nadeshiko self. Then she died again, but much more peacefully.
Nunnally in Code Geass might be Britannian, but she has yamato nadeshiko traits. She's gentle yet strong willed and shows an interest in Area 11's culture as seen in the 'traditional japanese promise' with her brother. She proves that she is not an Extreme Doormat by politely demonstrating to her handlers that she will not be a Puppet King After becoming the new viceroy of Area 11.
Kallen's biological mother, Mrs. Kouzuki. She's devoted to her daughter and her dead son, but the war left her psychologically damaged and she was addicted to a drug that makes you relive happier times. Kallen also thought her mother was still devoted to her biological father, who just used her, not realizing her true reasons until she witnessed the depth of her mom's psychological damage. Though after the Grand Finale, she's clearly no longer imprisoned and it's shown that she's still bedridden thanks to the extreme side effects of her drug use.
Aiko from Himechan No Ribon fits this personality, even though nobody else in her family shows a personality like this. Her younger sister, Hime-chan, wished she was more like her but over time she realises she should be herself.
In the manga and OAVs, Sakuno Ryuzaki is portrayed as more mature and less klutzy and thus fitting the yamato nadeshiko better than in the anime.
Choutarou Ohtori is a maleyamato nadeshiko, and especially in the anime. Polite? Check. Wise Beyond Their Years? Check. Focused on his goals? Check. Very competent in his "mission"? Check. Very devoted to his partner Shishido? Double Check.
Shuuichiro Oishi is a male Team Mom who's extremely devoted to Tezuka and Eiji and later makes many sacrifices for The Team. Such as when he forfeits his regular position to let Tezuka (manga) or Ryoma (anime) make use of it, clearly knowing that he's screwing himself over and that this won't be benefitial to Eiji either.
The mothers of the players such as Fuji's mom Yoshiko who is called one in manga canon. Ryoma's mother Rinko is of an exception. tho: she was a fiery Type B Tsundere when young, but even when she's much more mild now, she doesn't give Nanjirou the whole control of their relationship and is hinted to be the main breadwinner of the household (he's a lazy monk, she's a lawyer).
The Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Jurai with Japan and their royal nature means Sasami and Ayeka could be this: the former is domestic and kind and strong willed, while the later has the quiet dignity and devotion... when she's not involved in the race for Tenchi's love, that is.
There is also Empress Funaho, Yosho's mother and Ayeka and Sasami's stepmother. She has the perfect looks, the quiet and graceful demeanor that contrasts with Emperor Azusa's other wife Misaki, and is very loved and respected by everyone. Even more so when you learn that, unlike the rest of her family, Funaho is from Earth and probably Japanese.
What might be oddest is in that in one or two spots, this looks like what Ryoko wants to be. This is someone whose personality is laundry list of what a yamato nadeshiko is not...
Kekkaishi: To the public eye, Yukimura Tokine is a picture-perfect example: graceful, aloof, and lives in a house that looks like it belongs to an old-fashioned japanese princess. The Silk Hiding Steel aspect is her secret work as akekkaishi. When the sun goes down she becomes a scarily competent and ruthless Action Girl who not only has the tendency to hit allies who annoy her over the head and but also cold-heartedly executes enemies. Regarding cooking (or in this case baking), Yoshimori is more proficient than her...
Girls Saurus: Akira Sakou is The Ojou who lives in a Big Fancy House and is an extremely traditional yamato nadeshiko (and is explicitly described as resembling and behaving like Nadeshiko herself)... however, she is also a hardcore Bokukko with very complicated gender identity issues outside of home, and it's implied that her attraction to Shingo is out of a strange inversion of Sitch Sexuality, because he's the only boy who (she thinks) thinks of her as a boy.
Played with in regards to Karin Koizumi. The best quarterback in the whole country is... a sweet girl who adores piano playing and shoujo manga and was forcefully recruited by the Teikoku Alexanders.
Iono the Fanatics: Iono is a queen from a foreign country who, on the surface, is very much a yamato nadeshiko, and she's even described as such by two government officials. However, her weak spot for black-haired girls also prompts her security officer to nickname her "horny queen", which is much more fitting.
Tohru Honda of fits this trope almost perfectly: she's a Nice Girl, a great cook and homemaker. Remember the description talking about the young ones making up for finese with determination? This girl's got enough spunk to power through anything, specially if it's to protect her friends and love interest Kyo... or to offer kindness to the deeply desperate and wounded Big Bad, Akito. The almost comes in because she's more clumsy, naive and prone to hide things (the last one in the manga) than the standard.
Her mother Kyouko is the opposite; she has more steel than silk. To explain: After marrying Katsuya, she is happy to be a loving mother and housekeeper and finally experience living in a happy family, which she couldn't due to her Abusive Parents... and then, in Uotani's backstory, we see that she beats the tar out of a group of delinquents to save Arisa. In Yuki's flashback to when little Tohru went missing, we also see her threaten to "rain death upon [the police's] miserable souls" if they don't find her baby.
Miyuki Kobayakawa is seen as this even when she's working at her traditionally male job or up to her elbows in the engine compartment of either her patrol car or her personal vintage Toyota S800 because the woman is very dedicated to her job and her hobbies, and takes them all very seriously.
Parodied with Miyuki's coworker and friend Aoi Futaba, a Wholesome Crossdresser (though it's strongly implied that she might be more of a male-to-female Transsexual) who looks and acts the part so damn well that Yoriko says she's more feminine than any of the girls in Bokuto station. (Miyuki included!) Aoi is the only yamato nadeshiko role played by Rica Matsumoto, making her a case of Playing Against Type.
In Ikki Tousen Great Guardians, there's Hakufu's sweet and polite "adoptive sister", Sonken Chuubou (Sun Quan) or to be exact, Shoukyou (Xiao Qiao).
This trope is parodied in the last episode of Dragon Destiny, where Lady of War Chou'un Shiryuu dresses up in a formal kimono, takes up ikebana flower arrangment... and utterly fails.
Japan is the character who plays with this trope the most, to such an extent that it's not clear if he's more of a straight than parodic example or the other way around. On one hand, he's polite, soft-spoken, humble, mature (especially when compared to the rest of the cast), usually wears a kimono or yukata, is shown to have domestic abilities (and not to mention he puts on a female kimono and apron when he plays house), andWord of God uses the term "Yamato Nadeshiko" to describe what he would have been like as a female. On the other hand, he's also a socially awkwardInscrutable Oriental who once turned against his family (which is his political commentary), and his YN traits are used for humor/parody as often as they're played straight (e.g. he can be too polite for his own good) Possibly the best way to describe him is as a blend of bothInscrutable Oriental and yamato nadeshiko, with the latter being more obvious when he's with people/nations he feels comfortable around. Then in the manga and CD drama ("The World's Pervert Ambassador") Japan lays bare his Otaku side and proudly proclaims that everybody should turn to the 2D "Moe" universe because it wouldn't soil the body (although it will soil the heart, just a tiny bit). Technically speaking, YN's of either gender are not allowed to reveal their carnal desires, especially of the fujoshi variety...
In Nyotalia, the female interpretation of Japan acts exactly like a YN. She has straight bangs, wears flowers in her hair, is usually seen in a kimono or a black, more feminine version of Japan's military uniform, and is described by Estonia as "quiet-looking". However, given the flip side of her male counterpart's nature...
Taiwan seemed to be q good candidate being dainty-looking and dressing girlishly but both the "East Asia" sketches and her speaking part in China's CD's drama track characterize her as a PluckyGenki Girl instead, who isn't shy about making fun of her older brother China's "hipness" or telling him to leave Japan alone, and interacts in an open manner with her family members. YN was systematically jossed.
Kaede Kimura in tries to be a true yamato nadeshiko to Itoshiki Nozomu (she uses the term) but her years spent overseas, as well as a mental breakdown she suffered when she returned to Japan, have left her with a second, more dominant personality: Kaere, who has a stereotypical aggressive foreigner attitude. Hilarity Ensues.
Kiri Komori mixes this with being an Eerie Pale-Skinned BrunetteHikikomori. She's sweet, calm, polite, feminine, and domestic... while also being adorably creepy and constantly locking herself in the school.
Soul Eater: Tsubaki Natsukasa. How else would she be able to put up with Black☆Star? Her 'touch of iron' is shown for the first time when she confronts her big brother Masamune, in a pair of chapters/episodes which refer to both aspects of the trope.
When off-duty, Nanoha herself. While on leave at home, she was mistaken for a normal House Wife. If she's working expect some serious "befriending"... and once that's done, she'll be back to her YN self. It Runs in the Family, considering her Mom, Momoko.
Pokémon: Sakura-chan's four older sisters. Satsuki (Jolteon), Sumomo (Vaporeon), Tamao (Umbreon) and Koume (Flareon) can wear fancy headgear and kimono gracefully, serve you the most delicious green tea, play the shamisen beautifully, arrange flowers like pros... and kick your ass in style with their Mons. Little Sakura is still too young to fully qualify, but she and her Eevee/Espeon are getting there.
Dawn's Togekiss was originally trained by a princess. Bonus points for being voiced by you-know-who! Kikuko Inoue count: 10.
Pokémon Special: Daisy, Green's older sister'. She's kind, polite, good at nursing Pokémon, brewing tea, and helps her grandfather out in his studies, and later Bill.
Erika the Gym Leader gets points for wearing a kimono and beng the sweetest girl until you insult her perfume and Grass Pokémon Gym. As a grass gym leader she's associated with FLOWERS.
Toyed with inG Gundam. When Rain Mikamura gets the Rising Gundam to use in battle, it has a heat naginata polearm that can become a bow with heat arrows as its main weapon, following the example of the yamato nadeshiko who's trained in weapon handling to defend herself and her household. Rain has many traits, personality wise: she is extremely devoted to Domon, to her Professor father and their mission... but is also more fanservicy, stubborn and outspoken than the standard.
Parodied in Hamtaro with Charlotte/Sakura, Philip/Ichiro's girlfriend and later wife. She can play the part well when needed and has been raised as one by her veryOverprotective Dad... but you'd never know it if you met her outside her Big Fancy House, since she's a Genki Girl bordering on Wild Child whenever she gets out.
In Slam Dunk, we have two highschool-aged examples: Oda's girlfriend Youko Shimamura and Akane Mizusawa from the fourth OAV. Female lead Haruko Akagi would count as well (and Youhei does describe her as a yamato nadeshiko in the beginning) if she was less accident-prone and Oblivious to Love, but she's likely to grow up into one. Let's give her a few years.
A grown-up example is Anzai-sensei's wife, who even dresses up in a kimono.
Kiminobu Kogure is often considered as one of the very rare male examples. He is handsome but not gorgeous, acts as sub-captain and Team Mom to Shohoku, defers a lot to captain Akagi, is very devoted to his close friend Mitsui, and tends to try defusing crisis with gentle words (i.e., the very rebellious Sakuragi adores Kogure and is very protective of him)... but when the Shohoku team is under fire, the steel comes out like whoa, and Kogure proves himself to be mentally strong enough to do thinks like fearlessly telling the still not Heel Face Turn-ed Mitsui to NOT mess up with his team or scoring a three-pointer ''exactly at the moment when it's needed, being vital to the victory against Ryonan and letting Shohoku go to the Nationals.
Haruhi Suzumiya: Mikuru Asahina is always polite despite what madness Haruhi has going on and serves tea to the club members. As for the Extreme Doormat part; Itsuki once suggested that she was deliberately acting weak and helpess to seduce Kyon and thereby control Haruhi. Then he said he was joking. Considering Future Mikuru he may not be that far off. Her seiyuu, Yuko Goto, is known for voicing these types of characters (in a lesser degree than Kikuko Inoue or Sayaka Ohara), though she (definitely) isn't one herself and does not appreciate people treating her like she is.
Outlaw Star: Twilight Suzuka is something of a hybrid. She is half this trope with her outfit and wooden sword and classic apperance and half Lady of War with her fighting style and poise.
Played with in D.Gray-Man, where the pale and dark-haired girl who loves serving coffee and is a total sweetie towards her friends...is also a fearless Kick Chick and professional soldier. Ladies and gentlemen, here's Lenalee Lee!
Gintama: While Otae has the mild mannerisms, warm smile and naginata, she's closer to Tsundere. Hinowa fits the description better.
Kimi ni Todoke: Sawako Kuronuma. Not only does she fit the looks of the trope with her long, dark hair, she also has a penchant for skirts and girly clothing. She takes turns cooking for her family, makes cookies to thank others for small favors and makes all of her own Christmas gifts by hand.
Satoru Miyazaki is a male example - and possibly the one who was the basic design for Fujitaka and Aoki, considering his looks and behavior. No wonder he and Mirei not only have the same powers, but they end up together.
In the Vampire Princess Miyu manga, Ranka is one of these. In the anime, she's less YN-ish but she can still make herself look like one real well. In fact, she meets her lover Kei when she's walking around clad in a kimono.
And then there's Miyu's mother, whose devotion to her daughter and wish to give her a normal life leads her to either defy the higher-ups and try running away with little Miyu, then giving her her own blood when her powers awake anyway (OAV) or attempt to kill the girl with her own Weapon of Choice (manga) to free her from the terrible and lifelong duty of being the Guardian.
Yukio Washimine from Black Lagoon is a deconstruction. At the tender age of 17, she's the heiress of the Washimine Clan and is fully willing to take it over as it's the family tradition, despite how those loyal to him not wanting her to sacrifice herself for the this way and her inexperience. What follows is the most likely outcome from this premise and situation, if it happened in Real Life. that she commits seppuku via cutting her throat (though with a katana due to not having a dagger handy), like a yamato nadeshiko was required to do to keep her honor beyond death.
Rihoko from Witchblade combines this skillset with a Cheerful Child persona, which makes the people around her melt. She's very good at steering her mom, Masane.
Cake baking, clothes mending, soft toy making, and cute bento lunch cook Asuka from Otomen is close to this this trope. The one big exception is that he's a guy. However, he almost wins a yamato nadeshiko competition on behalf of the girl he loves (who is anything but a yamato nadeshiko).
Seishirou's mother Setsuka is one of the creepiest versions ever. She loves her son deeply (VERY deeply) has the perfect yamato nadeshiko looks, her hobby is ikebana aka traditional Japanese flower arrangement, is completely devoted to her family business... and said business is being professional murderers.
Kamui's mother Tohru, too. From what we see she was a beautiful Aloof Dark-Haired Girl, raised Kamui on her own in a very traditional society (and calmly bearing quite the stigma, according to the TV series), and in the TV series was voiced by Kikuko Inoue. Her death also was sorta based in the concept, as she perished in an Heroic Sacrifice to be a "Shadow" for global heating (It's... complicated), and while burning to death she told Kamui to search for his Destiny.Kikuko Inoue count: 11
Akemi, the Kasuga family's deceased matriarch, was a very gentle woan who also had quite the strong will when she had a goal in her mind. Most exemplified in her and Takashi's backstory, when Akemi goes against her parents's Parental Marriage Veto by secretly helping Takashi with the task they gave him as condition to date her.
Manami, one of Akemi and Takashi's daughters, inherits her mom's YN-ness and shows it via being quiet, sort-of a "small mother" for the Kasuga family, and keeping her more gung-ho twin sister Kurumi in line as much as she can.
Kino's Journey features a genderflip. There are two characters named Kino, and it's the male one who fits this trope. The female... not so much.
There's an episode in which Ran and Sonoko get fortunes at a rooster festival telling them what their boyfriends' "ideal type" is, Ran's tells her to be this. The words "yamato nadeshiko" can be heard in the dialogue. (It turns out this was actually Sonoko's fortune; she switched it with Ran's real one that just said "be yourself" because she didn't like it.)
Many female characters (whether more or less around or only peripheral) invoke the trope in different ways, like Heiji Hattori's mom Shizuka who wears kimonos with ease and is not to be trifled with. Even more than one female Sympathetic Murderer falls into this, like Innocent Flower Girl Midori Nozaki, whose devotion to her dead older sister makes her go out for blood.
RG Veda: Lady Kendappa is willowy, dark-haired, gentle, artsy and ladylike.
Hanaukyō Maid Tai: Head maid Mariel: Although she's always obedient to Taro's wishes, she can usually get him to do what she wants anyway. The best example is in episode 10, where she gets him to do his chores by by saying she'll have to lay off maids if he doesn't.
Invoked and discussed in Haikara San Ga Tooru, where main character Benio Hanamura has the looks and even wears traditional clothes... but does not want to become one and thus stop being The Lad-ette, no matter what her very traditional father says. She starts taking up some of the traits (more going by the will of iron) as she gets involved in a Perfectly Arranged Marriage with Nice Guy Shinobu Iijyuin, though.
And the most straight-up YN in the series is Miss Kichiji. Justified Trope: she's a Geisha, so being a yamato nadeshiko o at very least playing the part in public is her main work gig.
Is: If you can see through her Ms. Fanservice traits, you'll notice that with her kindness, dedication and humble personality, Iori Yoshizuki fits this trope. She's even voiced by Kumi Sakuma!
Saiyuki has a male example in Cho Hakkai, complete with Politeness Judo: watch the group's antics carefully, and you'll see that while Sanzo is nominally in charge, if Hakkai wants something done, it happens. He'll also break your arm without ever losing his smile...but only if you're threatening innocents or his True Companions.
Yaiba : The beautiful Lady of War "Nadeshiko Yamato" who is a one-shot character.
Hitomi Shizuki. She's very ladylike, soft-spoken, determined when she has a goal and good at very traditionally Japanese things like Japanese dance, tea ceremonies and piano playing. She attends after-school classes for them, feeling that she should learn them even if it means less time for school duty.
Mami also fits this trope. She's feminine, polite, good at cooking, acts like a Big Sister Mentor towards the other girls, and has a graceful fighting style. In one scene, she calmly sips tea immediately after a battle. It's part of her facáde. She could have played this straight, but after all the witch hunts, she has become a Broken Bird who uses this sort of mindset to keep from breaking down.
The protagonist of Wandering Son, Nitori Shuuichi. She's a soft-spoken, docile child who's good at baking and is quite feminine. She says what she feels and has spoken up for her friends at times. In later chapters she breaks more out of this trope but still fits.
Durarara!!: Anri Sonohara has a passive, soft-spoken and gentle personality, although she won't let others push her around all the time. To seal the deal, she wears yukata on occasion and wields a katana.
Summer Wars: Grandma Sakae. Not only does she fit the build, running her extended family by traditional values, but she also wields a naginata with skill.
Played with in Maison Ikkoku. Kyouko Otonashi was always a Tsundere and started as such, then became a YN after her first husband Soichirou died early in their marriage. Her starting to regain her Tsundere-ness is a sign that she's being herself again, and that the YN traits came from her trying to cope with her loss.
Ui Hirasawa from K-On! fits this trope to a T. Everything she works for being for the good of the family? Check. Loyal? Check. Really good at cooking and cleaning? Check. Mature? Check. Arguably moreso than any other character on the show. Polite? A given. Finally, there's tea.
Mawaru-Penguindrum has three of these. First we have the Takakura matriarch, Chiemi, who has the voice (Kikuko Inoue count: 13). Then we have the girl and youngest adopted child of the Takakura family, Himari and then we have the youngest Takakura son, Shouma, who is such a male YN that even Himari refers to him as such, and so does their older brother Kanba.
Some 4chan members have referred to Shouma as "waifu"... something only "reserved" to females, due to him being a male YN and so damn moe.
Sister Princess has an odd example. Haruka is from Germany and yet she acts more traditionally japanese than any of the cast: wearing kimono, conducting tea ceremonies, practicing with a naginata etc.
Oniisama e...: Nanako Misonoo is one in training and she's already graduated from cooking and caretaking. She likely got it from her own mom, a beautiful and kind woman who is a great cook and is always seen in a kimono.
Kazemakase Tsukikage Ran, being a show about ronin in Japan, has a few of these. One of them in particular is a lord's mistress: she's kind, gentle, family / house oriented, looks the part with a fancy kimono and has enough inner iron to save her infant son via Heroic Sacrifice.
Played with in an episode of Hell Girl. A beautiful orphan girl named Inori has the looks and is offered a nice marriage prospect with the handsome son of the sponsor of her Orphanage of Love. The only problem is that there's a BIG catch: her mother in law, Mrs. Kyokotsu, only wants Inori to be a "living prop" who will spend her life quietly sitting around in a corner, watching life pass by in front of her - like the dolls that the family makes for a living. Completely alone since her Jerk Ass husband takes his mom's side, Inori tries to endure this Domestic Abuse... but she snaps and, despite Hajime's warnings, she sends the old woman to Hell.
Ureshiko in Oku-sama wa Mahou Shoujo. Given the name but the cultural differences between East and West are a plot point. While she has a traditional eastern wedding it's only because the western one requires a kiss. (Kikuko Inoue count: 14)
Saint Beast: Rey is a male example. He's the most typically feminine and domestic member of The Team but is perfectly competent in a fight and stronger than he seems.
Shouko Kirishima has the perfect looks with her petite built, cute-but-not-gorgeous looks and dark hair which almost has a Hime Cut, as well as her intense desire to be Yuuji's wife. She varies slightly in she uses a katana instead of a naginata in battle. She varies even more with the rest of her personality: this means, she's determined to be her beloved Yuuji's bride and make him happy... and to do this she'll taser him, poke his eyes, burn his porn, etc.
In Kare Kano Soichiro's aunt and adoptive mother, Shizune Arima, pulls off all aspects of this perfectly. This includes the "hidden steel" part of the trope, when she coordinats with Yukino to get a chance to deliver a beatdown on Arima's abusive biological mother Ryouko. Rika is clearly one in training.
In Sword Art Online, Griselda was a blushing, submissive wife with no desires other than to live quietly with her husband... until they got trapped in the game. While Grimrock freaked out, Griselda rose to the challenge, forming a powerful guild and becoming idolized by all. And sadly, this ends in tragedy. The combined stresses of being trapped in a death game and losing control over her drove Grimrock to have Griselda murdered, and later to a My God, What Have I Done? when Asuna learns what happened and tells him off for that..
The Pretty Cure franchise has at least one main character for almost each continuity. Most of them has the color blue as their them color:
Futari wa Pretty Cure MaX Heart has Honoka (white which is associated with blue) and later Hikari(pink/yellow). Honoka is an intelligent, calm and responsible girl who knows to cook, to behave and is very formal and friendly and she is rich. Hikari is also very calm, friendly, formal and is a Nice Girl.
Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash☆Star has Mai (white which is associated with blue) who is a shy, but friendly and formal girl. She's not rich, but her family is wealthy.
Yes! Pretty Cure 5 has Komachi (green) and Karen (blue). Karen is a formal and noble girl who comes from a very rich house and she is the Student Council President who is engaged for helping other students. When asked for her ideal wedding situation, Karen even prefers a traditional Japanese style in spite of the rest dreaming it like in Western-style. Komachi who is also in the student council is not rich, but much calmer and friendlier than Karen... although her ideal wedding situation was something of a Shotgun Wedding...
In the manga version of Battle Royale, Noriko Nakagawa fits this description. She's feminine, a good cook, not aggressive by nature at all...and still tough enough to survive a bullet wound early on loyal to her chosen man, and, much later, to politely give the very tough Shogo Kawada a talking-to when she feels he needs to hear it. She's the one who delivers the death blow to Kazuo Kiriyama, who was all but unstoppable.
In Captain Tsubasa, Yoshiko Fujisawa fits in very well despite being just 15 years old. She's very humble, sweet, hard-working (sometimes to her own detriment, which is not shown as a good thing due to her Stepford Smiler traits) and well-loved by everyone.
Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple: Miu Furinji is a blonde Miss Fanservice, but otherwise she's a good example. She's polite and kind. She cleans and cooks for the dojo and makes sure it doesn't run out of money. In fact, the grand master mentions that they wouldn't live so well without Miu's care. So as long as you don't make her jealous or angry, she will be this to a T; her "inner iron" is not the least bit subtle.
In the Katawa Shoujo fanfic Weekend at Hisao's, Shizune's deceased mother is implied to have been this. Her "touch of iron" comes into play when she argues with her husband over his hiring tutors to make Shizune talk, and convinces him to stop.
Naruto: Game of the Year Edition has Hinata's game file have the ability to be one of these. Outside of glitches, it's only supposed to be active when she has a child and long relationship with Naruto.
Pinkie Pie explicitly uses this phrase to describe Fluttershy in Becoming Ponies. Fluttershy doesn't consider herself to be this since she's terrible with silverware.
Films — Animation
Invoked in Mulan: "Men want girls with good taste, calm, obedient, who work fast-paced. With good breeding and a tiny waist." Mulan herself plays with the trope — she has the looks, is extremely devoted to her parents and desperately tries to fit in as a perfectly feminine and demure daughter... without much success. However, when she learns that her already old father will have to go to war, she shows the core of steel part perfectly by dressing up as a male and taking his place, not for glory or to rebel against her family but to save her dad's life and the family honor.
Films — Live-Action
Audrey Hepburn is one of the few Western women to this day who measures up to Japan's standards of a yamato nadeshiko. In fact, both Relena Peacecraft/Darlian of Gundam Wing and Lacus Clyne of Gundam SEED were based upon Hepburn's Princess Ann from Roman Holiday, with Relena's Queen of the World dress modeled after Princess Ann's royal dress from the film. Audrey even got a namesake in Gundam Unicorn - "Audrey Burne" aka Princess Minerva Lao Zabi.
Akira Kurosawa's Sanjuro: Mutsuta's wife . She never raises her voice, and appears to have two emotions: Happiness at pretty things and serenity at everything else. Yet the rude, badass ronin who appears to have only contempt for her is totally bossed around by her.
Kurosawa's Ran: Lady Kaede plays with the trope. Beautiful, gentle, graceful, mature and the perfect lady. Also bloodthirsty, cunning, manipulative, and remorseless. She stops at nothing to avenge her family, up to and including destroying the dynasty into which she was forcefully married. Her meddling was so effective that even her own death does not prevent her goal from being completed.
Audition. Asami Yamazaki appears to be the sort of beautiful, demure woman that every Japanese man would love to have for a wife. However due to horrific abuse (among other things) her core of steel is made of razor wire and needles, and she's a psycho.
In The Wolverine, Mariko Yashida is introduced caring for her grandfather in a family compound that values tradition (Yukio changes into a yukata when she arrives, Wolverine passes by a kendo match, etc). She demonstrates the 'core of iron' when targeted by kidnappers and confronting her evil grandfather
Older Than Print and Discussed in The Tale of Genji. The characters come to the conclusion that a doormat is certain to snap eventually, and so it's better for a woman to tactfully but unmistakably bring up grievances with her husband and not simply take any indiscretions on his part lying down.
The main character of Sawako Ariyoshi's novel The River Ki, Hana, is a well-born yamato nadeshiko born in the late 19th century. The novel starts with her marriage, whereupon she devotes herself fervently to serving her husband, his family, and their interests. She's highly cultured and graceful (also beautiful and tall), and quickly earns a reputation for tact and wisdom by serving as a matchmaker. She uses behind-the-scenes influence with great skill and energy to further her husband's political career. She's definitely strong, and is compared to a river that swallows up all lesser tributaries. Hana finds this to be a fulfilling life. However, her rebellious daughter Fumio and her modern granddaughter Hanako don't share her values, and a major theme in the novel is Hana puzzling over, and partially coming to terms with, their alternate way of thinking. Hanako admires her grandmother but couldn't be her even if she wanted to: the social conditions for it don't exist in the post-war years.
Discussed in Obasan by Joy Kogawa, where Naomi discusses how her female relatives were like that.
Given that the Yamani Isles are a Fantasy Counterpart Culture for Japan, it is no surprise that Yamani women typically become this. They are known for politeness, stocism, and carrying weapons that look like decorations.
Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Despite Yoko Akia referring to herself as Chinese in Weekend Warriors, Free Fall establishes her as Japanese, so she is definitely this trope. She is highly feminine, and mostly polite and soft-spoken, but make no mistake, this 4 feet 8 inches tall, 90-pound woman can and will engage in Waif-Fu if the situation calls for it. In fact, she has lost a fight on-screen and she pinned her future husband Harry Wong to the ground in a sparring match. It is telling, because Harry can flatten just about anybody in a fight, and he states afterwards that that was the first time in his life that he had ever been pinned to the ground.
The Discworld novel Interesting Times (set in the Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Japan) esentially splits the two aspects of the Yamato Nadeshiko between two characters. The respect and obedience elements go to Twoflower's younger daughter, Lotus Blossom, while her older sister Pretty Butterfly is like most Terry Pratchett heroines, with less "a subtle touch of iron" and more "an extremely visible ton of iron".
Swan Shiratori, Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger's mechanic, fits this description perfectly, though not being as tall or long-haired as most anime examples.
The following season Mahou Sentai Magiranger yields a better example, Ozu Miyuki, literally the mother of the core 5 Rangers. Even her superhero identity is named MagiMother. MagiBlue, Urara is an example-in-training and tall, long-haired, sweet Team Dad Makito has elements of a male version.
Juuken Sentai Gekiranger. Masashi Miki, a single mother of one and more of a guardian and mentor to the Rangers than the actual grandmaster ShaFu, was a former Sukeban delinquent in her teen years.
Defied by Ran, whose mother wants her to become a yamato nadeshiko and to that end tries to arrange a marriage for her. After the Gekirangers spend the episode trying to foil this plan, Ran finally gives up and explains that she is too busy saving the world to get married.
Engine Sentai Go-onger has Ren/Go-on Blue, a male example: tall, polite, the most mature and responsible of the bunch, and the one who does all the team's cooking. His teammates even call him "mother."
Gekisou Sentai Carranger's Naoki/Blue Racer is a downplayed version due to the comedic nature of the show and the Jerk Ass behaviour of the main characters - but he has the modest, polite, calm and domestic side down perfectly.
Kamen Rider Den-O: Airi Nogami, Ryotaro's older sister, who is pretty, caring, an excellent cook, and unflappable. Upon being told that Ryotaro was being held hostage by an armed robber, her immediate reaction was to go back to preparing coffee. When one of her regulars asked how she could be so calm, she muttered "That's right", then went off...to make "Ryo-chan" some special hostage snacks. Cue mass Face Fault. The wisdom part comes to play in a rather surprising form: She's been in the loop the whole time. Airi was in on her fiancée's plan from the beginning, and allowed her own memories to be altered in order to protect the Junction Point, their future daughter, Hana. She's known from the start that "Ryo-chan" was Den-O, and that his friend Yuuto is the time-displaced teenage version of her fiancée.
Matsu of Toshiie to Matsuis proof that these types of characters don't have to be Extreme Doormats,: a traditional Samurai lady of the house raised in the Sengoku era whose indomitable will very few people are willing to come up against. (Though her husband does some ribbing from his co-workers due to her tendency to go tsun on him when she suspects him of infidelity.)
Atsuhime. The title character, Atsuhime (Princess Atsu; later Lady Tenshoin) grows from a tomboyish, adventurous village princess to the consort of the Obfuscating Stupidity Shogun Iesada. She skillfully and proactively (yet subtly) navigates around the issues and problems of the late-Tokugawa period (although not always successfully), marking her a remarkable exception inside a feudal world where women prefer behind-the-scenes scheming.
Dae Jang Geum: Park Myeong-yi, the mother to the main character, and her husband live as lower caste commoners but she is a wonderful cook for her family as well as very calm but strict with her daughter.
The Japanese singer Riyu Kosaka has a song called "Yamato Nadeshiko", which fits the trope pretty well, as you would expect.
Myths & Religion
Kaguya-hime of the Japanese folktale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. She was sweet, polite, gentle and devoted to her adoptive parents. While she did ask her suitors to do impossible things as the condition to marry any of them (which meant, they all failed and she blew them off), it wasn't because of hate or cruelty, but because she had to return to the Moon at some point, to become its Queen.
If Aerith had been born there she would qualify because she fulfills the other qualifications: more traditionally feminine than the other girls and occupies the 'comforting, mothering figure' aspect - which she comments on in Advent Children). As it stands, she's Silk Hiding Steel.
For the same reason and despite her Miss Fanservice appearance, Tifa fits this more than Aerith does. She's first seen greeting Cloud after he came back from his mission, is an excellent cook and bartender, and fits Team Mom role all the way to the end.
Yuna, from Final Fantasy X, can be seen as this if you squint. She's a gentle and feminine girl whose something like a shaman, wears a dress resembling a kimono, and grew up on an island. She loosens up in the sequel.
Nakoruru is a Cute Bruiser and The Beastmaster version of the trope. She looks cute and lovely (and may have been one of the Trope Codifiers for Moe), but she's also a Nature Heroine completely devoted to both her little sister Rimururu and to the beautiful natue she dearly loves. Specially after she pulls an Heroic Sacrifice to restore the flora and fauna to their original state after Mizuki's messes, and then turns into a nature spirit as well.
Haohmaru's lover Oshizu and Ukyou's lady of liege Kei Odagiri fit in as well, both in their own ways. Oshizu quietly supports her boyfriend despite how both of them are very aware of how Haohmaru priorises battle over everything. On the other hand, Kei is a quiet and classy noblewoman who keeps a Lady and Knight deal with Ukyou Tachibana and cares for him even after he is dead.
Galaxy Angel: Chitose gameverse is played straight as a yamato nadeshiko. Like everyone else in the the anime, her game self is parodied , with her trying to be perfect but usually failing to be even tolerable.
Persona 4 has YukikoAmagi. It kind of comes with her job, being the heiress of a traditional-style Japanese inn, but she embodies so much of it that herShadow is everything a Yamato Nadeshiko is not; very, very trashy… and not one bit serene. Interestingly, Yukiko plays with the trope in action, even if appearance-wise she matches the trope to a T (what with being the tallest of the main female cast, the long black hair, etc): at first she plans on abandoning the inn in order to find her own path in life and escape her "gilded cage"; later on, she realizes that the inn isn't a cage at all, but it's home with a lot of people she loves and cares for. This means that when she confronts a television crew who want to turn the inn into a laughingstock for cheap ratings, she delivers a verbal smackdown and sends them packing in a most un-YN-like fashion. She notes that without the help of the player character, she wouldn't have developed the inner steel to do that. She also loses the YN attitude when she's competitive: "I'll destroy you in one blow!"
Rainbow Mika's tag-team partner is namedyamato nadeshiko, and she's a short-haired brunette fighter.
The most straightforward example is Hokuto from the Street Fighter EX continuity. She's calm, cool, very tall and pretty and the Onee-sama to her sister Nanase, as well as a Lady of War when she fights.
Iroha from A New Beginning defies this trope despite having the looks: her father wanted her to be one, but she refused and ran away from home because what she really wants is to be a blacksmith.
The Seijyun Girls Academy in Rival Schools is a high-class all-girls school that has special courses to teach its students to become yamato nadeshikos. However not only is it the home to an all-female gang led by Aoi "Zaki" Himezaki, but the girl who suits the archetype the most is Yurika, The Mole from the Darkside Student Council.
The Boss from Metal Gear Solid 3. A mother figure to everyone in her Quirky Miniboss Squad and a literal mom to one of them. It is precisely her absolutely unwavering sense of loyalty and duty that compels her- clearly against her own instincts- to sacrifice her own men and ultimately condemn herself to being forever remembered as a traitor- all for the sake of protecting her country, accomplishing her mission, and averting a nuclear holocaust. Guess who does her voice? Kikuko Inoue count: 15
Suikoden II has Yoshino Yamamoto. Softly-spoken, wears a kimono, devoted to her husband Freed; she ticks all the domestic boxes. When you go to recruit her, she's busy with the laundry. Last but not least, she's wields a naginata in battle and is significantly stronger than her husband - who is in the military.
Suikoden III has her daughter Sanae Yamamoto. She is just as capable as her parents and shares the same personality as her mother.
More Chinese than actual Japanese, but Litchi Faye-Ling would count within the context of the trope. Kind, sensible, soft-spoken, nurturing and Friend to All Children, as well as being tall, long haired and having Hime Cut for the ones not in ponytail. Although her dress of choice is kind of skimpy, she tried her best to dress as modest as possible (except her infamous boobies usually get in the way, forcing her to reveal some of her skins). It's no wonder Bang Shishigami fell in love with her. She's not THAT submissive, though, and can fight damn well and gracefully with her staff. Word of God claimed that she is one of the few Good people in the series, despite a Face-Heel Turn, since to be fair, most of them are caused by Hazama toying around with one of her YN aspects: devotion to her lover Lotte Carmine, who's currently corrupted by the Boundary and the reason she fights was because she's looking for the cure.
Tsubaki Yayoi. She's very beautiful, polite, mature and intelligent, from an extremely traditionalist family, and extremely loyal to them and the Librarium. She only has eyes for one man, Jin Kisaragi, and assists him in his duties as his secretary. She's also shown to have an intimidating temper when annoyed or angered, as shown in Remix Heart... Although Tsubaki may be a Deconstruction, considering her origins and limited romantic interests have instilled her with malignanttendencies, and her ivory-tower upbringing leaves her naive and woefully susceptible to manipulation, which Hazama abuses like it's going out of style, pushing her to a heartbreaking Face-Heel Turn.
Kaguya Houraisan (who is the Kaguya-hime of legends; see above) can be seen as one, having all the qualities but she can also be childish and frivolous.
Fujiwara-no-Mokou has all the get-up to be a yamato nadeshiko, down to being a Fujiwara, the clan who married their daughters to Japanese Emperors to secure their political power. The mess she's in was caused by, amongst other things, her desire to uphold her father's honor after the aforementioned Kaguya scorned him. She's now an anti-social white-haired bifauxnen who is anything but feminine.
Guy's fiancèe/Maki's older sister Rena from Final Fight. Not only she has the looks, but she also possesses very polite speech patterns and wears a dark-colored kimono.
Hakuōki. Chizuru Yukimura is sweet, kind, and too ladylike for her crossdressing to be remotely effective; at the same time, she also won't hesitate to step forward to protect others and in her gentle way proves to be very stubborn and resilient, as Hijikata ruefully acknowledges in his route and in the anime.
In the Prince of TennisDating Sim games, the main character from Dokidoki Survival: Sanroku no Mystic is a soft-spoken girl (default name: Tsugumi Obinata) who fits in the archetype well, being super sweet and a bit prone to accidents and bad luck, but also kinda stubborn. And let's face it, some of the guys she can romance are very hard to handle (like Ryoma or Kirihara), so she has to be pretty patient.
You can make the Faceless Protagonist from Gakuensai no Oujisama (default name: Shizuka Hirose) develop into one too, but it depends on which school and/or potential boyfriend you choose for her. Tip (Some Tenipuri kids tend to like yamato nadeshiko girls in this game — Ryoma (wants a girlfriend who's modest, sweet, cheery and a bit naive/easy to prank), Ohtori (is kind of a yamato nadeshiko himself and wants a girl as kind, sweet and supportive as he is, but who doesn't order him around and is a bit passive), Mizuki (wants a very refined and feminine girl who's also reliable, cool-headed, mature and willing to make sacrifices for her friends), etc. So if you want the girl to romance any of them, get her YN points up.
Natsuhi Ushiromiya, who tries her hardest to play this trope straight. It helps that she comes from a family of Shinto priests and was raised in a very traditional Japanese household, but she ultimately has too much of a Hair-Trigger Temper to truly be a yamato nadeshiko due to the constant stress the family she married into puts on her.
Virgilia is an elegant witch and Beatrice's mentor who will drop more than a few hints in order help Battler succeed. For a bonus, yep, she's voiced by *her*. Kikuko Inoue count: 17.
Mei Sunohara, the kid sister of Tomoya's friend Youhei, is a yamato nadeshiko crossed with Cheerful Child. Whenever she visits Youhei, the first thing she does is clean his (truly filthy) room.
Uraha in Air: Though it isn't explicitly stated, she invokes and parodies this trope on purpose. Kikuko Inoue count: 19
Fate/stay night: Sakura Matou. When she grew interested in Shirou, she resolved to reform herself to be more appealing. This is why she spends so much time cooking for him. Her gentle and quiet demeanor also strikes a contrast with other love interests like Rin and Saber. It turns out that she's actually a Broken Bird and Stepford Smiler who's been through a massive Break the Cutie process ever since she was a kid, at the hands of her adoptive family. And when she snaps... SNAP she does.
The YN of Contemplating Reiko is the mother of The Protagonist, Fumiko. She's the demon world version of this trope: a doting mother and House Wife whose hobbies include flower arranging, caligraphy, tea ceremony, katana wielding, drinking booze, and bounty hunting.
Whateley Universe example: Generator's late mother, who was even first-generation Japanese. Generator would like to become this, and is trying to learn how to cook. She's already a great babysitter and wants to become a mother some day despite the fact that she was born a boy.
This is the standard portrayal of the OS-tan version of Windows 95, being the oldest of the 32-bit Windows operating systems.
Princess Ursa, Zuko's mother, is softspoken, beautiful, calm and very proper, teaching Zuko about small things in the ways of life and wondering what's wrong with Azula when she's in full Creepy Child mode. She shows the core of iron via killing her father-in-lawto protect young Zuko.
Mai has potential to fill in the yamato nadeshiko shoes and has the perfect looks, but personality-wise she's more deadpan than the standard and a lot of her apparent elegance is born out of apathy, as it was forced on her by her mother so she wouldn't "embarrass" the family. Her most Yamato Nadeshiko moment comes when she defies none other than Azula, for the sake of the man she loves, Azula's older brother Zuko. "I love Zuko more than I fear you!".
Toph can fake it perfectly, as when she shows up in a white dress in her parents's home - except she really, really dislikes it. Before leaving home she moonlights as a pro wrestler, and once she's free of her parents's supervision and can act the way she wants to, she proves to be very crude, aggressive, and unladylike indeed.
The trope codifier would be the Chiran Nadeshiko Unit. Created by Imperial Japan in the closing stages of World War II, it was composed of middle-school girls who served as surrogate 'little sisters' providing housekeeping for the transient pilots' barracks at Chiran Airbase in Kagoshima Prefecture and taking care of the pilots for the brief periods between their arrival from training bases elsewhere and their departure on their final missions. The idea was that they would be a source of comfort and companionship to the pilots while serving as (not-so) subtle reminders of what they were sacrificing themselves to protect. The unit was highly publicized in Imperial Japan for propaganda purposes, but befriending successive waves of airmen (most of them little more than teens themselves) only to watch them sent off to die in so-called 'Kamikaze' attacks inflicted a severe psychological toll on the girls. The program finally ended after an air-raid convinced the authorities that the airfield had become too dangerous for them, though remarkably none of them were killed. Some surmise that the modern iteration of the yamato nadeshiko has its basis in wartime propaganda intended to buck up the home front. The full story of the Chiran girls can be found in the book BLOSSOMS IN THE WIND: Human Legacies of the Kamikaze by M.G. Sheftall.
Tama "Gracia" Hosokawa, daughter of Akechi Mitsuhide. Converted to Christianity by her handmaid, she chose to die (according to some sources, she killed herself; to others, she was murdered and her killers made it look like suicide) rather than renouncing her ideas and her family honor. In fact, the aforementioned Mariko from Shogun is an expy of Gracia.
The term was the reason the Japanese female soccer team gained the Fan Nickname "Nadeshiko Japan". After winning The World Cup in 2011; the girls totally justified it!