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Yamato Nadeshiko

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"I am a true Japanese woman, kind and graceful!"

Yamato nadeshiko (やまとなでしこ or 大和撫子), 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 Latin "Albion" for the island of Great Britain and Irish "Hibernia"/"Erin" for Ireland; "Nadeshiko" is the Japanese name for Dianthus superbus or the fringed pink carnation, 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 neo-Confucian Japan 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.

Don't let her gentle demeanor fool you; 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 subtle influence of Politeness 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. Tropes Are Tools, after all.

A poorly done yamato nadeshiko, however, 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 sidelocks. They'll dress in feminine fashions: skirts, blouses, low-heeled shoes, lace, ribbons, and simple hair ornaments. The other option is the impeccable ladylike style for adults. A kimono is likely to be worn by a nadeshiko brought up in the good old Kyoto style. Some may wear jewelry and make-up, but not too much. Their voices will often be as 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. Will also be likely to say Ara ara ("Oh My") as a Verbal Tic to indicate calm surprise.

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 daggers that 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 Veronica Love Triangles. They tend to be passive, putting them in danger of becoming Satellite Characters for more "interesting" people, as well as a target of bashing from fans who prefer more active love interests such as Tsundere.

Expect her name to end in -ko [子] or -bi, -mi [美], which mean "child" and "beauty", respectively.Protip 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 Hetalia: Axis Powers, obviously), but this is still rare. Sometimes, there's also overlap with the Samurai, since Japanese noblewomen that held this occupation were known as onna-musha or onna-bugeisha. This trope is commonly used in the portrayal of a Patient Childhood Love Interest character's personality.

More information on this concept can be found in the sci.lang.japan FAQ.

Compare Moe, another standard of idealised Japanese beauty, but with less emphasis on maturity and more on protectiveness, youthfulness, and vulnerability. Compare and contrast Geisha, who are expected to be outspoken, social, and intellectually equal to men.

For Western equivalents, see also "angel in the house," English Rose and the Proper Lady. Compare Silk Hiding Steel, Spirited Young Lady, Princess Classic, Southern Belle (her US counterpart), The Ingenue.

For subversions, see Stepford Smiler and Yandere for a girl who seems to be a Yamato Nadeshiko but hides a far more unstable psyche.

Note: This trope is for the Japanese archetype in particular and the Eastern Asian archetype in general. For the Western/European archetype, 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 Housewife. To describe 'innocence' or 'gentleness', use The Ingenue. Polite or friendliness can be covered by Nice Girl. For a person whose niceness belies danger/effectiveness, use Beware the Nice Ones. General girliness is covered by Girly Girl and any relevant sub-tropes.


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    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • 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.
  • Constellations: One of the self-appointed tasks the Baachan Committee takes upon itself is to teach Taylor how to be one. She takes the lessons to heart - to the point that she can politely force Lung to behave.
  • In EVA Sessions: Someplace Vast and Dry, one of Rei's "Mermaid" siblings, Aimi, is explicitly described as such; she speaks in a formal and refined manner, as well as often defusing minor tiffs between the other Mermaids.
  • Kimi No Na Iowa downplays Harumi/Fusou's canonical sulkiness and The Resenter tendencies, bringing to the fore her being a kind, gentle big sister with the ideal looks of a classical Japanese lady. It helps that her human origin is a Kyoto-born priestess, while her shipgirl side also bears an ancient name of Japan, one that predates Yamato itself. She serves as a Foil to Ayaka, who has the look all the way to the point of Identical Stranger but is too neurotic to qualify.
  • 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 a long relationship with Naruto.
  • The Night Unfurls: Evetta may not have the Japanese appearance or hobbies, but she behaves like one with her soothing voice and deliberately graceful movements. Her manner of dress (a bonnet, a small hair ornament, and a dress with intricate patterns sewn on it) is feminine and modest. As caretaker of the Dream, Evetta has the domestic ability to match. She's polite, peaceful, unruffled, and devoted to her Good Hunter as well as her duties in the Dream (or Kyril's office) whenever he is away. As for the essential Silk Hiding Steel trait (or rather, Porcelain Hiding Steel), Evetta doesn't hesitate to utilise her "ancient power" when threatened, either to make her belligerents behave or to rend them outright, maintaining her poise all the while. The cherry on top? She kindly makes tea for Cthulhu (the very same Good Hunter) as many times as she wants.
  • Obito-Sensei: Mikoto Uchiha, the matriarch of the Uchiha Clan, always remains calm and poised, such as advising Sasuke on how to deal with his treacherous brother. This gets Played for Drama when she doesn't lose her composure or display any real remorse even when Obito and Sasuke confront her about her role in the failed Uchiha Coup.
  • Son of the Sannin: Hinata's mother Hikari. She's a stern but caring mother towards her daughters, assumed the responsibility as the Hyuga Clan's head after her husband Hiashi was killed in the Uchiha insurrection, and even joins the Shinobi Allied Forces as an active combatant when the Fourth Ninja War rolls around.
  • Deliberately subverted in Sonic X: Dark Chaos with Sonya the Hedgehog. She's brash, cocky, prideful, and hot-tempered (but good underneath it all). She also considers women who follow this trope to be weak helpless doormats although she has a Freudian Excuse to explain it.
  • In the Touken Ranbu Sailor Earth fic You Are My Sunshine, OC sword Nikkō Ichimonji is characterized as a gentle and attractive Miko who keeps the Citadel in order and has a Played for Laughs tendency to subtly and unknowingly manipulate others using his beautiful smile. In fact, Hasebe outright refers to him using this term twice. Barring his being a sword, his "inner steel" surfaces in his desire to be treated like a sword that is as capable of fighting as any other sword, but this isn't granted thanks to his background as an offering in a shrine and his overly kind and gentle personality. This ultimately results in a Rage Breaking Point.
  • Hinata was referred to as Konoha's very own yamato nadeshiko incarnate before the time-traveling incident that started off the events of I Am NOT Going Through Puberty Again!, her fame a result of her marriage to Naruto and her own considerable skills. In Chapter 9, though he never directly refers to the term itself, Shino muses on how easily Hinata slipped into the leadership role, manipulating both him and Kiba with terrifying efficiency in such a warm and kind manner that neither of them can really find any fault with it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Setsuko Hara played roles like this in the films of Yasujiro Ozu; dutiful but strong-willed loyal daughters. See Late Spring in which she played a young woman who is so devoted to taking care of her widower father that she has to be cajoled into getting married.
  • The Twilight Samurai (a.k.a. Tasogare Seibei): Tomoe, the female Love Interest. Since the film is set in nineteenth-century Japan, the trope doesn't seem out of place. If anything, Plucky Girl Tomoe is the most "modern" major character in the film.
  • Sanjuro: Mutsuta's wife never raises her voice and appears to have two emotions: Happiness at pretty things and serenity at everything else. Yet aside from Sanjuro, she is one of the most intelligent characters in the film, and though Sanjuro has contempt for her, he willingly takes her advice.
  • Ran: Lady Kaede is a villainous example of this trope. She's 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.
  • Throne of Blood: Lady Asaji is another villainous example from Akira Kurosawa. She barely moves during the entire first half of the film and always takes a polite tone with her husband, yet every word she says is honey laced with venom.
  • 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.
  • In The Dragon Painter, Ume-ko is a gentle soul who marries Tatsu the artist after her father, a great artist, decides that he needs to attract a protege and heir. Then, when their love gives him a case of Writer's Block because Love Makes You Uncreative, she commits suicide so Tatsu will be able to paint again. Then, when he's lost in melancholy over her death, she emerges from hiding to reveal she was Faking the Dead in order to get him painting.
  • Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto: Otsu, in contrast to Oko and Akemi, who are both schemers and kind of slutty to boot. Otsu faithfully waits for Matahachi while he's off at war. After he cheats on her, she pledges herself to Takezo, helping him down from the tree at great personal risk, accompanying him in flight, and promising to be loyal to him forever.
  • Sayonara, one of the first Hollywood films to feature sympathetic Japanese protagonists, has two characters filling different aspects of the trope:
    • Katsumi is introduced as Joe Kelly's bride-to-be — a polite and sweet girl who speaks quietly and fits the domestic requirements of the trope. There is one scene in which this is Played for Drama when the US army is putting pressure on its soldiers married to Japanese women, Kelly discovers that Katsumi was planning to get back-alley surgery on her eyes to look more Anglo and avoid persecution.
    • Hana-ogi is the main female love interest, though she's introduced as more aloof and dignified. As we hear her sad backstory where her poor father had to sell her to the Matsobayashi troupe to make ends meet, she speaks of her trauma as calmly as possible. She too displays Silk Hiding Steel levels of loyalty both to her troupe and her love interest ultimately rejecting tradition to marry an American.
  • In Lady Ninja Kaede, Koharu is this: devoted to her husband, who abandoned his status as a samurai to marry her, and devoted to their umbrella business. Her younger sister Kaede shows signs of being this, wanting to be like her elder sister, but abandons this path to become a ninja after Koharu commits suicide.

  • Amaranthine Saga: Tsumiko, a gentle, feminine, Japanese White Magician Girl, who manages to defrost her love interest and accomplish virtually all of her goals by submitting gracefully to everything she can and absolutely refusing to compromise on the few occasions when she cannot.
  • Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts:
    • Shouko Kirishima has the perfect looks with her petite build, 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.
    • Similarly, Mizuki Himeji doesn't have the traditional looks due to having wavy pink hair, but her personality is closer to the tradition and she likes cooking for her guy, Akihisa. Unfortunately, she falls short due to being an extremely Lethal Chef, though she doesn't realize this since she refuses to taste-test her cooking out of the fear that she'll gain back all the weight she used to have.
  • Pi Pa from Beware of Chicken is a textbook example of this trope, proper, elegant, and a void cultivator. All despite being an intelligent pig.
  • The Discworld novel Interesting Times (set in the Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Japan) essentially 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".
  • 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.
    • Akane Awakusu's demure, obedient personality contrasts with the strength of will to defy her mafia dad and live on her own. What's more: someone like her attacking someone like Shizuo either has tremendous guts or a death wish and she definitely isn't the latter.
  • Haruka Nogizaka's Secret: Haruka's mother takes the cake. When her husband charges into a random house armed with a sword and his own personal army, she calmly walks in and convinces him to leave their daughter alone and give his blessing for her hobby. She has a Battle Aura and Glowing Eyes of Doom but is standing there calmly.
  • High School D×D:
    • When not in sadist mode, Akeno comes off as an ideal Japanese woman due to her long black hair and gentle smile. Not to mention she's a great cook like Asia and Rias. Akeno is also polite and devoted to Issei and her team. However, Akeno needs to work on her Steel: she has a fragile personality to her as she "depends" on men due to her sad past.
    • Another mention goes to Yasaka as she's a Japanese priestess, very polite toward others, and has an iron will.
  • The Irregular at Magic High School has Miyuki Shiba, whose appearance was specially genetically modified in order to maximally correspond to this ideal. As a result, her hair is more black than that of any of her relatives, and her skin looks so pale that on some official art looks almost like the white makeup of a geisha, not to mention her ideal features and delicate behavior. In view of this, she is so beautiful from the point of view of others that many are stunned or even scared, first met her. All this together with her devoted character makes her an ideal woman and wife, which looks somewhat disturbing in connection with the Brother–Sister Incest character of the story.
  • INVADERS of the ROKUJYOUMA!? has four examples. Kiriha is a scion of an ancient house, has a Hime Cut as well as a cool and collected personality, cooks, cleans, and wields a Naginata. Ruth is from a distinguished knightly family, has a modest and polite personality and is a Supreme Chef. Harumi is from Old Money, is shy and retiring, and absolutely will not abandon her friends. Finally, Sanae is a Miko, was an archer in middle school, and is also a good cook.
  • 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.
  • Maria Watches Over Us: Out of the girls, Shimako Todou is the one who fits the most. She's prim, proper and gentle, and used to be super shy until Noriko pointed out that she was no burden on anyone and she shouldn't think of herself as such. As a result, she's the most admired and popular of the first-year students, loved for her beauty and her Silk Hiding Steel mindset. Just don't parade her Buddhist priest dad around for ghost hunts, okay?
  • Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai: Female protagonist Mai Sakurajima, aside from her Deadpan Snarker traits which appear around Sakuta, is a perfect fit. She's beautiful, elegant, with long black hair, and a very Nice Girl, polite and serious, with a tougher and defensive side that comes out when needed. She's also an excellent cook. She's also definitely selfless, kind-hearted, and so devoted to the guy she loves that she lays down her life to save him.
  • 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 didn't exist in the post-war years.
  • In Shogun, Mariko Buntaro is a quiet yet very plucky woman in the service of Magnificent Bastard Toranaga, who refuses her husband in private and once talked back to Toranaga himself and got away with it, despite having hit her master's Berserk Button. In the end, she throws herself on an explosive while proclaiming that this is her "honorable Seppuku" protesting their imprisonment at Ishido's hands... forcing Ishido to free his hostages and pave the way for Toranaga to seize control of the country. This is Truth in Television as Mariko is based on a Real Life yamato nadeshiko: the very famous Tama "Gracia" Hosokawa.
  • 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 afterward that that was the first time in his life that he had ever been pinned to the ground.
  • Sister Princess has an odd example. Haruka is from Germany and yet she acts more traditionally Japanese than any of the cast: wearing kimonos, conducting tea ceremonies, practicing with a naginata, etc.
  • In Sword Art Online, Yuuko 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, Yuuko reinvented herself as Griselda and 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.
  • 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.
  • Toradora!: Sumire Kanou is a subversion. She is described as having the looks and elegance of a yamato nadeshiko, and is the Student Council President. She has black hair in the light novels but has blue hair in the anime adaptation. However, she's actually very coarse in her speech and she's also revealed to not be as mature as she seems.
  • Tortall Universe: Given that the Yamani Isles is a Fantasy Counterpart Culture for Japan, it is no surprise that Yamani women typically are known for politeness, stoicism, and carrying weapons that look like decorations.
    Lady Yukimi noh Daimoru: Beware the women of the warrior class, for all they touch is both decorative and deadly.
  • The Twelve Kingdoms:
    • A yamato nadeshiko from Imperial China (sort of) is Rangyoku. An orphan who works as the housekeeper and 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Super Sentai:
    • Dengeki Sentai Changeman one example I’d the first ever white senshi, Sayaka Nagisa the brains of the team who is etiquette, motherly, and kind.
    • Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger Swan Shiratori, a 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.
    • Juken 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.
    • Explicitly stated as the dream of Mako in Samurai Sentai Shinkenger (she even has a character song about it!) but unfortunately her cooking skills leave a lot to be desired.
    • 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 Jerkass 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 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.
  • In the Japanese drama series Tumbling, Wataru's mother is a model of refined behaivor but when the going gets tough, we see where her son gets his fighting spirit from.
  • 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.
  • Stahma Tarr from Defiance is a rare example in Western media that's done well. She is a beautiful woman who is devoted to her husband and son, as well as being quiet, humble, and polite. However, unlike many examples, she is not Japanese or even a human, but instead an alien—specifically, a Castithan. She is then a (anti-)villain, so all of the personalities associated with being this trope turned her into a Lady Macbeth and Manipulative Bitch. She despises her culture's misogynistic ways and is utterly ruthless to prove herself and gets what she wants, including using her sexuality. Also unlike most examples of this trope, she doesn't love Datak despite his cruelty, but because of it: She considers his cutthroat nature to be proof of his ambition and willingness to do anything in order to succeed, something she couldn't do because of her society. So can be counted as this trope being played with in many directions, showing how a Yamato Nadeshiko might act if she is in a Sci-Fi series.
  • The protagonist of the series Oshin, Shin "Oshin" Tanokura, is seen as a Trope Codifier in modern times since she's a strongwilled and plucky Japanese woman who's also kind, sweet. and duty-bound. And she always wears a kimono, even in her older years after World War II.

  • TWICE's Mina would fit into this trope because she is graceful, one of the more timider and quieter members, and she is Japanese.note Because of that, some of her nicknames are "Black Swan" and "Ballerina of Tragedy".

    Myths & Religion 

    Tabletop Games 
  • In BattleTech, Omiko Kurita is practically a picture-perfect example of one, both from the flower of womanhood aspect, shown in her introduction in the Blood of Kerensky books, and the Silk Hiding Steel, as she fended off an assassination attempt by her lover's sister, and almost succeeded in fending off a second attempt.

  • Cio-Cio San, the main character in Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly, is often believed to be this by Westerners... but she's actually more of a "China Doll" aka the stereotyped and racist/sexist view of East Asian women in the West, as she lacks the Silk Hiding Steel part that is needed. Therefore, she can be viewed as an example of how NOT to write a yamato nadeshiko.
  • Cio-Cio San's equivalent, Kim, in Miss Saigon, is a better example of this trope, having a stronger personality and being a full-on Mama Bear.
  • Flower Drum Song: Mei Li is Chinese (though in the original run and film adaptation she was played by a Japanese actress) and fits the traditional values of China, down to her demureness and innocence — though she does display moments of street-smarts and an enthusiasm for American pulp movies. She displays the Silk Hiding Steel when she discovers that her fiance had spent the night at another woman's house; breaking it off with him with dignity and calmly telling him she does not love him anymore. She provides a Foil to the more Americanized Good Bad Girl Linda Low.

  • Care Bears has Sweet Sakura Bear, a bear introduced in 2009 specifically for Japan. She was designed with this trope in mind. Sweet Sakura is a polite and soft-spoken character

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Iris is a kind Raven Hair Ivory Skin Beauty, who is always polite to everyone. She is also very protective of people she cares about as shown when she gently, but firmly cuts off Phoenix arguing with Edgeworth, when they were on a way to rescue her cousin, or when she claims she'd do anything to stop Dahlia from killing Phoenix, including killing her, had she known about her plans.
    • The Great Ace Attorney: Susato Mikotoba, assistant to Asogi and Ryu. She's a formally educated teenage judicial assistant with impeccable manners to strangers and a proper and serene demeanor. Susato is also a progressive thinker who holds her ground in social and legal situations better than Ryu does and can toss him on the ground if the situation calls for it.
  • Uraha in AIR: Though it isn't explicitly stated, she invokes and parodies this trope on purpose. Kikuko Inoue count: 16
  • CLANNAD has a few:
    • Nagisa Furukawa and her mother Sanae. Sanae-san's main flaws as a yamato nadeshiko is that she tends to be a Cordon Bleugh Chef when it comes to making bread and that, in the anime series, she becomes a Stepford Smiler who doesn't allow herself to grieve for the dead Nagisa in the name of raising Nagisa and Tomoya's daughter Ushio as best as possible. Nagisa is more of a Shrinking Violet, but slowly evolves into one and it shows VERY well when she gives a VERY scaringly stressed Tomoya a rather fierce Cooldown Hug to calm him down. 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.
    • Kotomi Ichinose is one crossed with a Teen Genius, despite her eccentricities. Her traits become more obvious as she befriends the rest of the gang. In ~After Story~ she shows up to the New Year's party in a kimono, the only girl to do so in the scene. She also has the calm, unassuming nature and domestic abilities to qualify, and a seiyuu to match. On the other hand, what she fails to do properly is music - her violin is a memetic weapon more than anything.
  • Sakura Matou from Fate/stay night comes off as this at first glance, but it's later revealed to be deliberately invoked on her part. When she grew interested in Shirou, she resolved to reform herself to be more appealing to him, which is why she spends so much time cooking for him at his house. 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: her YN traits were born from both her desire to be more appealing to Shirou and as a psychological defense. So when she snaps in her own route... SNAP she does.
    • In Fate/Zero, Sakura's mother Aoi wants to and desperately tries to be this for the sake of her family. However, the poor woman completely lacks the "iron core", and she's ultimately not equipped to deal with the hardships she's dealt.
  • Katawa Shoujo:
  • Majikoi! Love Me Seriously!: Yukie "Mayucchi" Mayuzumi is kind, feminine, polite, submissive, and shy. She's also a master swordswoman that can more than hold her own in battle.
  • Minotaur Hotel: Kota is a male example, being prim, proper, and polite at almost all times.
  • Awayuki in Nekopara. She has the high class, the looks, and the fashion. Seemingly also the personality, though we have only seen a little of her, and it's been purely conversation. Aside from that, the one significant thing we know about her doing so far is supporting Kashou's business from behind the scenes.
  • Fumino Kotoyose from Nukitashi has been thoroughly raised in this mindset and it shows when she joins the NLNS, with her knitting and tea brewing skills and her kind, refined and loyal personality. At the same time, she always protects her teammates with her sniper rifle. In her route she gets even more diligent doing housework and cooking for Junnosuke.
  • SHUFFLE!: Kaede Fuyou is unfailingly gentle, politely insisting on taking care of Rin, and is a terrific cook and from there, her characterization changes depending on the original visual novel or the anime. In the former, she think too poorly of herself to start a genuine relationship with Rin and in the latter, she goes yandere when Rin falls for their common friend, Asa.
  • Saki Nijino from the first Tokimeki Memorial game is a downplayed example. While she's highly skilled at cooking, enjoys taking care of her friends in a motherly way, and is very dedicated to upholding family tradition, she doesn't have the typical hairstyle (having short, light blue hair rather than a Hime Cut) and is more upbeat and energetic than the archetype usually is.
  • In True Love Junai Monogatari, Remi Himekawa fits in fairly well. She has the looks, the cool and polite behavior, and the cooking skills, and not to mention she is the very booksmart, well-loved, and respected Student Council President of the Player Character's school.
  • Umineko: When They Cry :
    • Natsuhi Ushiromiya tries her hardest to play this trope straight. It helps that she has the looks, comes from a traditional family of Shinto priests, and is very dedicated to her husband, 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 to help Battler succeed. For a bonus, yep, she's voiced by Kikuko Inoue (count: 18).
    • One of the complaints that Kyrie Ushiromiya had against Asumu, Rudolf's first wife and Battler's mother, was how much she resembled the archetype and how it made her look more desirable to Rudolf than an assertive female like her.

    Web Comics 
  • Ronin Galaxy: Ai is a direct example of this trope. She goes from being a naginata-wielding home defender one second, to a proper, tea-pouring geisha-type the next.
  • 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, calligraphy, tea ceremony, katana-wielding, drinking booze, and bounty hunting.

    Web Original 
  • 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 someday 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.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender'
    • Princess Ursa is soft-spoken, 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 by killing her father-in-law to protect young Zuko.
    • Mai is an Aloof Dark-Haired Girl and a Lady of War, 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. 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 Beifong can fake it perfectly, as when she shows up in a white dress in her parents' home - except she really, really dislikes it. Before leaving home she moonlights as a pro wrestler, and once she's free of her parents' supervision and can act the way she wants to, she proves to be very crude, aggressive, and unladylike indeed.
  • In Kim Possible there's Yori, who crushed on Ron in Seasons 2 and 3 but is very submissive and deferential despite her impressive martial-arts skills as a Ninja. When Kim and Ron finally hook up in season four, Yori calmly accepts it and claims it to be destiny. (Which saves her from the Die for Our Ship that a yamato nadeshiko love interest usually goes through.)
  • Molly of Denali: Kenji Ookami is a male example. His wife doesn't fit the trope since she isn't Japanese, but Kenji has all the trademarks of a typical YN; he's polite yet firm, loves his family, and takes good care of animals.

    Real Life 
  • 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 and high 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 the girls 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 books like BLOSSOMS IN THE WIND: Human Legacies of the Kamikaze by M.G. Sheftall, or Tokkou no Machi: Chiran by Sanae Sato.
  • 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 a suicide) rather than renouncing her ideas and her family honor. In fact, the aforementioned Mariko from Shogun is an expy of Gracia.
  • Etsu Inagaki Sugimoto was a Japanese woman of noble birth, who describes in her autobiography, Daughter of the Samurai, how she converted to Christianity and immigrated to America for an Arranged Marriage and how she maintained contacts on both sides of the Pacific into her old age.

Final Kikuko Inoue count: 18.

Alternative Title(s): Classic Japanese Beauty