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Asian Rudeness

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In Western Countries, stereotypical "Chinese Tourists" have a reputation for extreme rudeness. They talk loudly and sharply, come across as bossy and arrogant and impatient and aggressive, cut into or try to bypass queues, or even vandalize historical artifacts.

This is in fact a relatively recent development. During the Imperial Era, China was referred to as the "land of ceremony and etiquette"—concepts which were exported to (and can still be found to some extent in) neighboring Korea and Japan, although these are generally not as rigorously applied there as they were in China. Traditional Chinese etiquette was born out of centuries-old Chinese religious practices and Confucian doctrine, which are notoriously multi-tiered systems. However, as China was being torn apart by Western powers and Japan during the New Culture Movement, there was a dedicated effort to "modernize" the country. The results were an overthrow of the monarchy, an attempt at simplifying the Chinese writing system, and the abandonment of many Chinese cultural elements such as highly formalized speech, traditional Chinese clothing, Chinese superstitions, and coming-of-age ceremonies. This was further exacerbated by the Communist Cultural Revolution, which denounced these rules as relics of feudalism, and this trope was born as a result.

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The concept of course does not apply only to the Chinese—but given that China is the dominant regional culture, the rest of Eastern Asia has subsequently been associated with such rudeness. Japan is the major exception; their people are known for strict adherence to etiquette, respect, and politeness in all situations.

Some of this perceived "rudeness" stems from a massive Cross-Cultural Kerfluffle—essentially an unfortunate result of applying the tone and meter of native Asian languages to those where that kind of speaking characterizes 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 may 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. Can also overlap with Asian Store-Owner as well as with Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy, or (in Japanese media) Bokukko.

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Common Western equivalents include the French Jerk and the "Ugly American" Stereotype, 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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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In the English version of Hetalia: Axis Powers, 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.

    Comedy 
  • Stand-up comic John Pinette (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.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The woman at the Chinese take out drive-thru in Dude, Where's My Car? impatiently asks "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 in the case of 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. The characters discuss how unfortunate it is when job interviewers make applicants 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 says he and his friends used to go to a Chinese restaurant specifically because they were treated like shit there and found it hilarious, that one time they were interrupted mid-meal and told to move to another table on a different floor of the restaurant.
  • Eddie Huang's bossy, overbearing mother Jessica on Fresh Off the Boat plays this trope 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 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 MADtv demands to be let into a store past closing hours, refuses to cooperate with pretty much anyone, and loudly and casually makes 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 stereotypically Asian 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.

    Theater 
  • 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 that 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.

    Web Comics 
  • Tales Of A Gay Asian: Mr Bak-mei reminisces about being saved by Americans, only to hurl racial slurs when he sees they are Black. Both the old angry Asian man and blonde transsexual Sengchou (despite her whitewashed appearance) are weirded out by tanning and don't give White people eye contact. However, compared to Bak-mei, the latter's issues are mostly ego related, not racial.

    Web Original 
  • FAG: Occurs in Wiz War 100's parody video when he portrays an angry reviewer who bluntly curses and is rude to the viewers. He speaks in Engrish, thereby making the rude character an Asian stereotype.
  • The Most Popular Girls in School: Mrs. Zales is a foul-mouthed, bitchy middle-aged Korean woman. Her daughter, Mackenzie, is also an Alpha Bitch at her school.

    Western Animation 
  • Cookie Kwan is a minor The Simpsons character — as she puts it, #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!!
  • Family Guy:
    • Stewie recalls a Mall Santa who was Asian and unpleasantly rude.
    • Peter fights with Mr. Washee Washee, the Griffins' dry cleaner.
  • American Dad!:
    • Francine's Asian adoptive parents mistreat Stan (a rare reversal where Stan is the victim of flaming Jerkassery instead of giving it). Subverted when they 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, abuse people verbally on a consistent basis. In Kahn's case, though, it's not a simple 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 verbally caustic on a regular basis, 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, is a first-class Jerkass, best epitomized by the following one-liner: "Watch where you're going, you fool!"
  • Amy Wong in Futurama can be verbally disagreeable on occasion. Her parents, though, are just greedy Jerkass ultra-capitalists in the same vein as Mom. Given her ultra-bourgeois upbringing, Amy is more often simply a Genius Ditz Rich Bitch, becoming more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold over time.
  • Robot Chicken: One skit shows Iron Man's metal-ness marching through metal tunnels, clearly wearing 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. 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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