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Asian Rudeness

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The stereotype of the "Chinese Tourist" is that in Western countries, Chinese tourists have a reputation for rudeness. They talk loudly and sharply, come across as bossy and impatient, or even engage in vandalism of historical artifacts. This is a relatively modern development— during the Imperial Era China was referred to as the "land of ceremony and etiquette" (ideals which were exported to, and can still be found to some extent to in neighboring Korea and Japan, although generally not as complex as the original Chinese traditions — Chinese etiquette was born out of millennia old Chinese religious practises which are notoriously multiplexed systems). During the New Culture Movement, as China was being torn apart by Western powers and Japan, there was a dedicated effort to "modernize" the country which meant the monarchy was overthrown; attempts at simplifying the Chinese writing system; and the abandonment of many Chinese cultural elements such as highly formal speech, traditional Chinese clothing, Chinese superstitions, and coming of age ceremonies. This was further exacerbated by the Communist revolution which viewed these rules as "bourgeois capitalist traits", and thus this trope was born as a result.


Of course, this does not apply only to Chinese, but with China as the dominant culture in Asia, the rest have been associated with such rudeness. One of the major exceptions is Japan, whose people are known for their strict adherence to etiquette, respect and politeness in all situations.

Some of the phenomenon of perceived "rudeness" is a massive Cross-Cultural Kerfluffle — essentially an unfortunate result of applying the tone and meter of the native Asian languages to languages where that kind of speaking is the way rude people talk, i.e. tonal languages vilified as rude or uncouth. Differing cultural notions of what is rude and what isn't don't help; Chinese Etiquette can be as foreign as the language, and might even make one come off as an Etiquette Nazi.

This trope is Often Played for Laughs (with cultural posturing all too often a part of such humor), but can also be Played for Drama, especially among children of Asian immigrants growing up among these clashing cultures. It might even cause Stop Being Stereotypical. It can also overlap with Asian Store-Owner as well as with Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy, or (in Japanese media) Bokukko.


Common Western equivalents include the French Jerk and the "ugly American", the American tourist (often in a Hawaiian shirt), businessperson, or bureaucrat who exhibits all the worst traits of the Boorish variant of Eagleland when traveling abroad.

Contrast Japanese Politeness (although Japanese people are not always portrayed as polite) and Inscrutable Oriental (where the Asian is more of a pompous know-it-all).



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    Anime and Manga 
  • In the English version of Axis Powers Hetalia, China comes to a meeting of the Allies very late. He states that he was cooking and that:
    China: ...My cultural arrogance means I am neither sorry nor remorseful.
  • In Cardcaptor Sakura, the Chinese characters, Syaoran and Meiling act a lot ruder compared to the mostly nicer Japanese characters, at least at first. While Syaoran eventually softens up, Meiling never truly stops being snide and sarcastic, even post-Character Development. Despite being a Japanese work, the Chinese are still seen as foreigners in Japan, hence this trope being in effect in manga and anime.

  • Stand-up comic John Pinnette (who is quite fat) had a bit about being thrown out of an all-you-can-eat Chinese Buffet:
    You been here four hour!!! Why you been here four hour?! (owner's rage continues to rise as he tried to convince John to get out) ...You go home NOW!!!
  • Margaret Cho does an impression of her mother that relies on this trope but tends to be decidedly affectionate. Most of her mother's brashness comes from trouble with the English Language (the only one Margaret speaks) and urgent concern for her daughter. In her rush to Mama Bearing, some things just come out wrong.
  • Jasper Carrott noted after a visit to Hong Kong that spoken Chinese could make "I love you and wish to have sex with you" sound like "I intend to wrap barbed wire round your testicles and pull it tight, then to batter you senseless with a concrete block." He suspected it would be impossible to express love or affection in Chinese — it wasn't that sort of language.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The woman at the Chinese take out drive-thru in Dude, Where's My Car?, who keeps asking "And then?" over and over again.
  • The Korean shopkeeper in Falling Down refuses to give Bill any change unless he buys something, and when his high prices won't leave Bill any change to make a phone call, the guy tells him to get lost. This is one of the first incidents that cause Bill to snap.
  • Lois from Bad Santa snaps at everyone and never stops scowling.
  • Cold Pursuit: The main character's Asian sister-in-law levels a perpetual Death Glare at him when he visits his brother. However, since disaster immediately follows his visit, she might have cause.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Chang in Orange Is the New Black is definitely not interested in making friends with any of the other inmates.
  • Played with on Las Vegas, with Polly the Korean manicurist. She's rude as anything, not because she's unusually bossy or callous, but because she doesn't hesitate to prattle on and on about her sex life in mixed company.
  • Spoken of approvingly in an episode of QI. They'd been discussing how gross it is when job interviewers make people talk about how excited they'll be to get some menial service job and what they'll "bring to the company," and how with that in mind, it's nicer to see people who look openly miserable with their jobs. Phill Jupitus said he and his friends used to go to a Chinese restaurant specifically because they were treated like shit there and found it hilarious, and that one time, they were interrupted mid-meal and told to move to another table on a different floor of the restaurant.
  • Jessica Huang on Fresh Off the Boat is this trope Played for Laughs.
    Jessica: I miss my friends from D.C. We had such nice conversations.
    (Gilligan Cut to Jessica and three other women screaming at each other in Taiwanese)
  • Frontier Circus: In "The Inheritance", a Japanese acrobat and judo expert joins the circus, and quickly alienates the rest of the circus with his arrogance.
  • Saturday Night Live has had some fun with this over the years.
  • Samurai Gourmet is Japanese, but it still manages to grab this trope because the "madam" of "The Demoness's Ramen" is a horrific Chinese lady. In fact, hers is the only meal of the series that Kasumi gets no pleasure from, and that's saying a lot.
  • Miss Swan in Mad TV demands to be let into a store past closing hours, refuses to cooperate with pretty much anyone, and will loudly and casually make derogatory remarks about gay people, calling them "monkey in the bush". The actress who plays Swan claims the character is based on her Hungarian grandmother, and the TV execs claim she is based on Bjork, so the "Asian" ethnicity is not solidified - but many suspect that these claims are to avoid accusations of yellowface and racism, rather than to provide insight for legitimate character background.
  • Mr. Kim from Kim's Convenience does mean well and makes an effort to be accommodating to his customers, but he's still bossy and grumpy. This is enough to make Gerald terrified of him at times, especially when he's being trained as the store's new part-time worker and can't do anything right with Mr. Kim around (contrast to when Mrs. Kim trains him and he does a spectacular job).
  • The Night Of has a theme of professionals being rude and callous toward others in various ways. The Asian herbalist is rude in a classic Asian Rudeness way. He's mostly silent, and when he does speak, it's in curt, blunt and often rude statements. His accent isn't very strong, so it's not a case of him simply not being very proficient in English. That's just his personality.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Ninjas And Superspies by Palladium Books includes a section in the back detailing how locals in Asian countries will be rude and racist toward Western visitors. One wonders if the author Erick Wujcik had a bad experience on vacation.

  • Christmas Eve from Avenue Q is not so much rude as extremely blunt and loud. She will tell characters harsh truths to their faces rather than spare their feelings, which may or may not be a positive quality in her chosen field of being a therapist. She also openly criticizes her husband in public, though this may be because she is frustrated with his laziness and because she genuinely cares about helping him to follow his dreams. Strangely enough, she is actually an inversion of another trope seeing as she is Japanese.

    Video Games 
  • Kanae Tsuji, a Japanese doctor from Trauma Center: New Blood, is based on this type of character in American dramas.
  • The female Panderans from World of Warcraft play this to the hilt.
  • Johnny Gat from the Saints Row games is a serial murdering gangster who swears like a sailor and is this trope at best to people he genuinely likes.
  • Dr. Yi Suchong in BioShock is a Korean Mad Scientist and with no regard for medical ethics, and a thoroughly unpleasant person.
  • Eddie Raja in Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is an Indonesian modern pirate who is heavily-prone to cursing in Bahasa Indonesian, mainly towards anyone who annoys him, which is...a lot.

    Web Comics 
  • Tales of a Gay Asian: Mr Bak-mei reminisces being saved by Americans, only to hurl racial slurs when he sees they are black. Not only the old angry Asian man, but Sengchou the blonde transsexual, despite her whitewashed appearance is weirded out by tanning and doesn't give eye contact to whites. However, compared to Bak-mei it is mostly ego related, not racial.

    Web Original 
  • FAG: In Wiz War 100's parody video where he portrays an angry reviewer who bluntly curses and is rude to the viewers, while speaking quite a bit of Engrish making the character definitely an Asian who's rude.
  • The Most Popular Girls in School: Mrs. Zales is one foul-mouthed, bitchy middle-aged Korean woman. Her daughter, Mackenzie, is an Alpha Bitch at her school.

    Western Animation 
  • A minor The Simpsons character Cookie Kwan, #1 on the West Side (although she also works on the East Side... but stay out of the West Side!). She's been a minor recurring character ever since this appearance.
    • In "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish", the Simpsons decide to try out the Happy Sumo Japanese restaurant. As they enter the front door:
    Chefs: (holding up kitchen knives) IRASSHAIMASE!
    Simpson Family: AAAH!!
    Hostess: Please, do not be alarmed. Our chefs are just saying "Hello".
    Homer: Oh, okay. (to chefs) HELLO!
    Chefs: AAAH!!
  • In Family Guy, Stewie recalls a Mall Santa who was Asian and like this.
    • Mr. Washee Washee, the Griffins' dry cleaner who Peter fights with.
  • In American Dad! Francine's adoptive parents are like this to Stan (in a rare reversal of Stan being the victim of the flaming Jerkassery instead of giving it), but they are the ones that step up and rescue Stan from a burning building.
    • Toshi regularly insults other characters. But since he speaks exclusively in Japanese, no one understands that he's being rude to them.
  • Kahn and his family from King of the Hill, who are Laotian.
    • Except in Kahn's case it's not simply a clash of cultures; he really is a Jerkass who openly insults his neighbors by calling them hillbillies. Although in later seasons he mellows out significantly and even becomes friends with Hank. It's also explained that he's bipolar and his rude personality is a side effect of his medication.
    • Kahn's daughter, Connie, averts this trope. She is very polite, and is frequently ashamed by her parents' rudeness (though she doesn't suffer fools gladly and can be pretty nasty to people who get on her bad side).
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: Uncle is usually this, even to his family, but there are occasions when he is extremely polite. Tohru's mother is also quite... acerbic, to say the least. It could simply be a case of Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior! in their cases, though.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: Di Lung, Chinese inventor of Mecha Courage, better known for the following one-liner: "Watch where you're going, you fool!"
  • Amy Wong in Futurama. though her parents are just greedy Jerkass ultra-capitalists in the same vein as Mom, regardless of race; Amy, then, because of her ultra-bourgeois upbringing is a Genius Ditz Rich Bitch, though she becomes more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold through her years at Planet Express.
  • Robot Chicken: One skit has Iron Man's metal-ness marching through metal tunnels and has clearly worn The Mandarin's patience thin.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Lê Chiến Kim, confirmed to be of Vietnamese extraction by the show's creator, is a downplayed example in the first season, where he has occasional Jerk Jock moments such as bullying Ivan over his crush on Myléne or needlessly antagonizing the zookeeper's new panther. The second season largely drops these moments in favor of showing Kim as a cheerful Cloud Cuckoolander.


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