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Japanese Tourist

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"The Japanese go abroad in a package; they have their own crocodiles, and their own flags and their own must-see stops. This is the way the vast majority travel, and they are not touched."
Donald Ritchie, quoted in Dogs and Demons: Tales from the Dark Side of Japan by Alex Kerr

Before the bubble burst on the Japanese economy, waves and waves of tourists were coming overseas. In any Chase Scene or crowd scene, expect there to be such a group of tourists, who just ooh and ahh at the main action and take pictures while flashing the V-Sign at one another. This has not quite passed into Dead Horse Trope territory, as plenty of Japanese still do travel overseas in Real Life, and tend to do so in large tour groups due to low levels of foreign-language proficiency and a lack of Japanese speakers and signage in other countries. Such groups are very likely to contain keen and very well-equipped photographers. However, it shows up quite a bit less now than The '80s and The '90s.

The trope usually pokes fun at their tendency to snap photos, travel in huge groups, and always behave like they're visiting a zoo.

Since the turn of the 21st century, the stereotypical Asian tourist is increasingly likely to be Chinese and Korean rather than Japanese.

A subtrope of Funny Foreigner. If they get a chance to talk, may often use Asian Speekee Engrish. Compare with Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist and "Ugly American" Stereotype, this trope's two Eagleland equivalents.


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  • In a Dutch national lottery commercial, one of the number balls is seen mooning a bus full of Japanese tourists in America. Later, a tourist points this out to the police at the station.
  • Japanese tourists are photographing a Dutch windmill when Leslie Nielsen suddenly opens the door, knocking the miller into the path of the sails. Nielsen then proceeds to explain the benefits of Dutchtone, unaware that the tourists' gasps of amazement are over the miller traveling round and round on the windmill sails.

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Hellsing, Seras uses a group of elderly Japanese tourists to break up a fight between Alucard and Alexander Anderson in a museum, requiring the two combatants to freeze in place and be treated like statues. It's just as funny as it sounds. Made doubly hilarious by one of the gramps complaining to his friend, while pointing at the Alucard's enormous guns, that "they didn't have that in Manchuria".
  • Appears in The Big O of all things, where they develop a mech for Beck and proceed to gawk at the fight between it and Big O.
  • Japan/Honda Kiku from Hetalia: Axis Powers, even moreso in Japanese fanart.
  • One Black Lagoon episode, a Japanese salaryman traveling with his son meets up with and has friendly conversation with the character Masahiro Takenaka, who he thinks looks familiar (Takenaka is a terrorist and fugitive- he actually looks familiar because his face is on wanted posters). Takenaka is based upon Kozo Okamoto, and the implication seems to be that the last time he was at an airport, he was blowing it up.
  • Invoked in Midori Days when the cast meet Daniel (who is himself Eagleland personified). He complains that Seiji – a delinquent with bleached hair – looks nothing like how he expected Japanese to look. So he gives Seiji an impromptu makeover to fit his preconceived stereotype... including a salaryman haircut, glasses, large front teeth, and yes a camera around his neck.
  • Played absolutely straight in Shirobako with Aoi's older sister Kaori without her even leaving Japan. Being a Country Mouse, she hits all the stereotypes of a Japanese tourist while on vacation in Tokyo.
  • In Codename: Sailor V, Minako goes to Hawaii and acts as one of these.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Miss Congeniality had a couple of these.
  • Jay jumps onto a tour bus filled with Japanese tourists in the second opening sequence of Men in Black.
  • In the classic The Three Stooges short I’ll Never Heil Again, the Tojo parody is prone to taking pictures of the Axels during the fight at the end
  • Rush Hour features a bus of Japanese tourists as well, with Carter gladly posing for them, along with Lee getting plenty of shots as he hangs from the Hollywood Boulevard sign!
  • The guy from Gremlins 2: The New Batch: "Work a camera? I am a camera!"
  • At the beginning of Austin Powers in Goldmember, there are a couple of Asian tourists.
  • Foul Play with Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase, Chevy needs to reach the Opera house in a hurry, so he commandeers a cab with a Japanese tourist couple in it.
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park. When the tyrannosaurus rex escapes in San Diego, a group of Japanese tourists are seen running away from it. There's a Bilingual Bonus too: they're saying "I left Japan to get away from this!" in Japanese, a Shout-Out to the Godzilla movies.
  • In The Spanish Prisoner these act as one of the many Checkhovs' Gunmen. "Nobody ever pays attention to Japanese tourists."
  • There are some Japanese tourists taking pictures of forks and knives in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
  • Played with in Moonwalker during the "Speed Demon" segment, where Michael runs into a herd of tromping feet and flashing cameras.
  • There are a couple of these in Honey, I Blew Up the Kid. They see the titular kid, and naturally, a Shout-Out to the kaiju movies ensues... The subtitles lampshade it:
    Tourist #1: Godzilla!
    Tourist #2: No, it's a giant baby!
  • There is an entire busload of this trope in Under the Rainbow starring Chevy Chase and Carrie Fisher.
  • In an early scene in Airplane!, a Japanese tourist at the airport terminal loses his balance after he adds yet another camera onto his already camera-laden shoulder.
  • In X-Men: The Last Stand, when Magneto detaches the Golden Gate Bridge and moves one end onto Alcatraz Island, there's a cut to a group of Japanese tourists who flee, leaving one astounded man behind a camera on a tripod.
  • In Crocodile Dundee II, two camera-toting salarymen on holiday in New York City help Dundee take down a hitman using flash photography and a karate kick. Afterwards, they convince each other that Dundee was Clint Eastwood.
  • In Hannibal, a Japanese tour group is seen in an establishing shot right before Inspector Pazzi is murdered.
  • Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra has a scene where a bunch of tourists wearing kimonos are buying souvenirs as a Funny Background Event. The movie is set in Ancient Egypt.
  • The Taking of Pelham One Two Three evokes this by having a group of Japanese officials receiving a tour of the subway, behaving in much the same way that Japanese tourists do. Lt. Garber, annoyed at the assignment, shepherds them around and provides sarcastic English commentary, only to discover in the end that they all speak perfect English.
  • Rosemary's Baby features a puzzling example in the end when a gathering of all the local Satanists we've seen throughout the film also inexplicably includes a Japanese tourist who smiles, snaps photographs, and chants "Hail Satan!" in a thick accent along with the rest of the witches.
  • In The Windmill Massacre, everyone else on the bus assumes that Takashi is a typical Japanese tourist because of the way he is dressed and his inability to speak Dutch or English. As it turns out, he knows a lot about what is going on, but is unable to communicate it.
  • Seven (1979): When a woman finds Cowboy Not Quite Dead in the beach carpark, she stops a passing family of Japanese tourists for help. While the father is trying to get someone to call an ambulance, his wife and two children are busy taking photos of Cowboy's body.
  • They Call Me Bruce?. A Japanese family ask a couple of mobsters the way to Disneyland. One retorts, "Who am I, Mickey Mouse?" causing them to whip out cameras and take his photo thinking he's Mickey Mouse. Then FBI agents arrest the mobsters, and so they take photos and video of that as well.

  • A criminal recently tried to hijack a bus filled with Japanese tourists. The police are currently overloaded trying to catalog 2,347 pieces of photographic evidence.
  • A Japanese tourist comes home and is asked if he saw anything interesting. "I don't know, I haven't looked at the pictures yet."

  • Discworld:
    • Twoflower is essentially the Fantasy Counterpart Culture of this, though with clothes befitting a Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist. The movie version gets a Caucasian Race Lift and is wholly the latter type.
    • In Jingo, an Agatean tourist is in the crowd at the procession, taking lots of pictures that Carrot later uses as evidence in investigating the failed assassination of Prince Khufurah.
  • In The Dark Tower series, Mia, a traveler from another world, feels threatened and embarrassed by a group of Japanese tourists who keep trying to hand her cameras, which she cannot operate, to take their picture, all while speaking Engrish.
  • In The Handmaid's Tale even the theocratic dystopia of Gilead has Japanese tourists.
  • Alex Rider runs in front of a group of Japanese tourists and happens to be caught in their photo in Eagle Strike.
  • In the Thursday Next books, Thursday meets two at Thornfield Hall, where they can tour the estate and even meet Mr Rochester and the other characters. (Mrs. Nakajima, the leader, apparently makes a living off it.) They make a point of staying out of Jane's way so that they don't disturb the narrative.
  • Mona Lisa Overdrive notes a group of Japanese tourists carrying simstim rigs instead of cameras in the Sprawl. While Yakuza princess Yumiko poses as one while in hiding in Britain.
  • The cover of August 1952 edition of the sci-fi magazine Galaxy had Little Green Men in spacesuits snapping away with cameras as they wandered around an Earth metropolis.
  • Referenced in AQUARIUM when Suvorov is looking through the records of hotels, to figure out which would be the best to plant agents in order to recruit the visitors. When coming across Japanese tourists, they ignore them, since a Japanese doesn't come twice to the same country.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an episode of Are You Being Served?, a Japanese Tourist comes into the store with his "Cledit Caa" (Sooooooo!). Captain Peacock's attempts to communicate with him are at least as hilarious as the tourist himself ("You wanty buy?" "Whaty-wanty?"). He ends up falling down the stairs and having his head stuck in one of Mr Mash's buckets.
    • Also:
    Captain Peacock: And this, Honourable Mr Lucas.
    Tourist: Rucas *bows deeply* Sooooo!
    Lucas: No, no, no, Lukas.
    Tourist: Rucas!
    Lucas: No, Luuukas—
    Captain Peacock: *interrupting* You must understand, Mr Lucas, that this gentleman is Japanese. He has difficulty getting his tongue 'round his "r"s.
    Long Beat
    Mr Humphries: You know, I would have thought that it was just a matter of practice...
  • Night Court gave us as one of its fly-through cases a mugging involving a busload of Japanese tourists:
    Dan Fielding: Mr. Hubbell was on his way to a seminar on subway hospitality when he was mugged outside of city hall.
    Mr. Hubble: They took everything. My wallet, my keys, my cash...
    Billie Young: And after pleading with several passers-by for bus fare, Mr. Hubbell attempted to panhandle from a group of Japanese tourists. They turned him down.
    Harry Stone: And?
    Dan Fielding: He mugged them. Your Honor, the state wishes to submit evidence. We have affidavits from the victims, some shredded yen, and over seventy action-packed photographs of the incident.
  • One game of Weird Newscasters on Whose Line Is It Anyway? saw Wayne Brady getting this role. That's not how N-Word Privileges works, people...
  • In the Supernatural episode "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here" (S09, Ep01), Dean tells Sam that he let some Japanese tourists take pictures with Sam while he was passed out, but he made sure none of them got to handsy.
  • The Three Stooges: In I'll Never Heil Again, a meeting between the Axis powers (1940) goes awry, a Hirohito caricature periodically stops everyone to pose so he could take a picture.


  • A few anecdotes from The Ricky Gervais Show involve them.
    • Ricky Gervais was stopped by some Japanese tourists so he could take their picture. He theorizes that either they didn't realize he was famous, or they completely misunderstood that the point is to get your picture taken with the famous person and not by them.
    • Stephen Merchant was out with his friends one day, and some Japanese tourists stopped them and asked if they were N Sync, to which they answered "Yes we are." Stephen, being 6'7", questions how they could have made that mistake since no member of N Sync is that much taller than the others.
    • Karl Pilkington insists that they take pictures of people with ginger hair since they don't get them over there.

  • In the comedy What We Need Is A Golf Course, Satan convinces God that the best way to increase Heaven's appeal is to build a golf course. Cue Evil Laugh as Heaven is overrun by camera-wielding Japanese.

  • The fourth series of Playmobil blind-bagged figures for girls includes a "Tourist" that's just an Asian woman with a camera.

    Video Games 
  • There's a group of these in The Adventures of Willy Beamish. If you're nice to them, they turn out to be disguised ninjas, who save you from a death by gang beating.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty: Rose and Raiden reminisce about a group of Japanese tourists they had met in New York who asked which building King Kong had climbed on.
  • A cutscene in Leisure Suit Larry 7: Love for Sail! goes like this: after returning from one of his disastrous sexual escapades, the protagonist stumbles upon a group of camera-wielding Japanese tourists. Who take very embarrassing photos of his butt-naked self.
  • Two survivors in Dead Rising turn out to be this. They run away from you, assuming you're a zombie; you have to pick up an English-to-Japanese dictionary to talk to them and convince them to come with you to the safe security room.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon X and Y, which are set in a Fantasy Counterpart Culture version of France, features a new trainer class called Tourist. All of them look distinctly Asian, have Japanese names outside of the Battle Maison, and only use Pokémon from the first four generations (which took place in Fantasy Counterpart Culture Japan).
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon introduces the "Sightseer" class. It is based on American tourist stereotypes but many Sightseers are from Japanese-based regions. The game is set in Alola, a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to Hawaii. Almost all of them exclusively use the regular variants of Pokémon that were given Alolan forms in Sun and Moon.
  • Nippon Safes Inc. is set in Japan and has none as such, but the sequel features one at the Red Square. Despite being a horrendous stereotype, he subverts some aspects of the trope in that he has a state-of-the-art camera but is proved to be incapable to actually use it.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the episode "In Marge We Trust," Japanese tourists recognize Homer as the uncannily similar detergent mascot Mr. Sparkle and excitedly take pictures.
    • A Japanese tourist family are getting their pictures taken in front of the Simpsons house when their foundation is sinking in "Marge Gets A Job".
    • In "A Star is Burns", Bart has an Imagine Spot of him selling fake maps to celebrities' homes to a family of Japanese tourists. Cue said tourists going up to Moe's front door and mistaking him for Drew Barrymore.


Video Example(s):


The Adventures of Willy Beamish

In the middle of Day 3, Willy meets a family of Japanese tourists who want to take a picture and give him ninja weaponry in return.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / JapaneseTourist

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