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Asian Buck Teeth

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It was difficult to find a picture that was both drawn by someone of Asian descent and obviously meant as a work of parody.

He had clearly been mutated by the terrible radiations of atomic weaponry — what with his wizened yellow body, slanting eyes peering from behind coke-bottle lenses, and the chubby cheeks and buck teeth of a bunny from Hell.

Buck teeth were the dental stereotype common to most people of East Asian descent in the early-to-mid 20th century.

Whereas the Western world associates this trope with ALL Eastern Asians in racist caricatures, in Asia itself, the bad teeth stereotype is associated with Japanese people, and either used to villainize them or Played for Laughs in Korean and Southeast Asian comedy. Much like Britain, Japan has lax standards on dental beauty and orthodontics is still a relatively recent thing. Crooked teeth are actually viewed as a positive trait in Japan; wealthy women sometimes pay to have their teeth reshaped unevenly because a crooked smile makes them look more childlike and thus "cuter."

Historically in Japan, white teeth were generally seen as unattractive, and women concerned about their physical attractiveness would artificially blacken their teeth as part of their makeup. Much American anti-Japanese WWII propaganda picked on Japanese people's poor dental health, this stereotype eventually evolved into the Asian Buck-Teeth trope, which now instead of only targeting Japanese people conflates all Eastern Asian people into one monolithic bloc.


World War II depictions of the Japanese, however, typically involved giant upper front teeth and sometimes fangs. The primary inspiration for this trope was Hideki Tojo, the de facto leader of Imperial Japan during WWII, who had a pronounced overbite.

This is often a component of Yellowface. Both teeth stereotypes are Discredited Tropes nowadays.

Subtrope of Facial Profiling. Compare with British Teeth.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Due to Katsuhiro Otomo's artstyle averting Mukokuseki, Nezu's buck teeth and design in AKIRA is often thought to be this, even though they're part of his rat motifs.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, used for caricature comedic effect on Zenitsu Agatsuma; both Inosuke Hashibira and Flame Hashira: Kyojuro Rengoku, saw Zenitsu having quite the buck teeth during their dream prison under the Lower-One demon Enmu’s power; Zenitsu’s actual normal appearance doesn’t have that pronounced buck, but the series’ author says in a extra that Zenitsu does have buck teeth, it just isn’t visible.

    Comic Books 
  • Many depictions of Japanese in World War II U.S. comics had this feature. An example from SuperDickery.
  • An old Archie comic drawn by Dan De Carlo had an example of this.
  • All Asians in Mortadelo y Filemón, even in the latest releases.
    • A non-Asian example is Prof. Bacterio. There is an episode in which Mortadelo burns up Bacterio's beard, revealing that he has enormous, very prominent buck teeth - which leads to think that Bacterio actually grows his beard in order to hide them.
  • Tintin:
    • From the very first Tintin, the two Chinese torturers have teeth like this.
    • Mitsuhirato, a villainous Japanese businessman in China, is drawn with stereotypically buck teeth, notable in a comic that was very progressive for its time in terms of racial attitudes (well, not counting the first book). Understandable in that at the time the character was written, Japan was currently engaged in a very brutal occupation of China, and Hergé made his views abundantly clear.
    • A much more sympathetic Japanese policeman, Bunji Kuraki, does appear in a "The Crab With The Golden Claws", however, who is drawn normally.
  • Lucky Luke: the Chinese launderer has teeth like this, as do many others. The leader of the Triads in Rantanplan's Heritage does not, however.
  • Dan's cousin Chin-Kee from American Born Chinese looks like a bad Chinese stereotype, complete with buck teeth. He is drawn with this trait as part of his "embodiment of every negative Chinese stereotype ever." As part of his ongoing ruination of every relationship in Danny's life, the other kids start to think Danny's got buck teeth too. Turns out the reason he's so goofy-looking is because he's actually a badly made human disguise worn by Sun Wu Kong, the Monkey King.
  • Detective Yashimoto, from Cybersix and his little sister have very prominent teeth, though apart from this they're not portrayed very stereotypically. Interestingly their character designs from the comic were kept for the Cult Classic animated series, despite the series being animated in Japan.
  • In New Super-Man #16, Kenan has a vision of the past and finds himself in a 1940s Chinatown as it would have been portrayed in the comics of the day. He initially thinks the bald, bright yellow, buck-toothed people being beaten up by Slam Bradley are some kind of goblin, until All-Yang tells him to use his x-ray vision to see through "the illusion generated by a century of brutality", at which point they look like ordinary Chinese people.

  • Mickey Rooney in his Yellowface portrayal of Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany's has misaligned buck teeth.
  • Once Upon a Time in China includes a bizarre Chinese example in the character of Buck-Teeth-Soo, the Americanized member of the cast. It's downplayed, though, compared to most of these examples.
  • Comes up in some World War II era Three Stooges shorts, with the Japanese characters being played by actual Japanese Americans from internment camps, wearing fake teeth. Some of them were American citizens and some were native born American citizens. The teeth are particularly obvious in "The Yokes On Me," ( by today's standards probably the most racist of all the shorts) in which the actors not only were Japanese Americans from a camp, they PORTRAYED Japanese American escapees from a nearby camp bent on sabotage.
  • Besides portraying many other Asians stereotypes, Ming Li-Foo from La Ballade des Dalton has huge front teeth.

  • One character in the Wild Cards series was a joker whose virus-induced deformities made him a real-life version of a cartoon Asian, including big buck teeth.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On The Office, Michael dresses up as a character he calls "Ping", and does a terribly unfunny and racist Asian Speekee Engrish routine.
  • Lampshaded in The Pacific when John Basilone takes exception to one of the recruits he's training to be Marines expressing a desire to 'get out there and slap a Jap'.
    "Slap a Jap? That's what the enemy is to ya, huh? A fucking bucktooth cartoon, dreamt up by some asshole on Madison Avenue to sell soap? Let me tell you something: the Jap I know? The Japanese soldier? He has been been at war since you were in FUCKING DIAPERS!"

  • Along with many other Yellow Face aspects, this is part of Mr. Roboto's visage—three thin "pegs" between its leering lips accomplish this effect.
  • Played for laughs in Ludacris and T-Pain's video ''One More Drink''. Offering to buy a sylphlike club crawler in a skirt a drink, only to decline once she smiles.

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    Video Games 

  • Possible contributing factor to the racewank early in Homestuck fandom; John and Jade have buck teeth and are sometimes portrayed as Asian in fanworks. The artstyle is such that it's impossible to tell what, if any, race they were intended to be and since they were effectively cloned from nothing instead of being born, nothing says they actually have to fit into any recognizable racial category. The wank seems to have mostly died out by now, though.

    Western Animation 

  • Very common in World War II anti-Japanese Allied propaganda. Even Dr. Seuss got into the act.
    • In his biography General Bill Slim mentions how he got hold of a picture of the Japanese general opposing him. He noted that Lieutenant General Kawabe looked like a propaganda caricature with his bullet head, thick glasses and buck teeth — so Slim comforted himself with the thought that, no matter which one of them was the better general, at least he was better looking.
  • A lot of Roger Shimomura's artwork features Japanese caricatures that have either buck teeth or misaligned teeth, or at least have yellow skin like many of The Simpsons characters.
  • The main character in Chibi Kiiro Jappu (Little Yellow Jap in English), a parody of The Story of Little Black Sambo, has two buck teeth sticking out of his mouth.
  • The horse teeth variant actually existed with some Visual Kei artists until The New '10s or so, though it's a subversion - it wasn't due to their race or ethnicity at all, it was due to cosmetic dentistry (especially implant dentistry) not being half as advanced in The '90s and The Noughties, so an artist who was self-conscious over bad teeth had two choices – very large, prominent, and somewhat obvious horse teeth or leaving uncared-for/discolored from tobacco or other drug use/otherwise undesirable teeth the way they were. Quite a few artists that had the money for cosmetic constructive dentistry often opted for the former, getting a result that, as technology improved, became very obvious.