How To Differentiate Between Japanese, Chinese, And Korean? | 7 Ways To Differentiate Between Japanese, Chinese, and Korean - Japan Truly (2022)

Are you interested in learning how to differentiate between Japanese, Chinese, and Korean? In this article we will focus on the basic features of these unique cultures, plus how they can be differentiated from each other. So let’s dive in!

Despite the way Hollywood or other Westerners portray Asians in various stereotypical ways, every Asian country is unique and distinct from each other.

In fact, the Earth’s largest and most populous continent is none other than Asia and is considered to be a melting pot of an endless number of cultures that it would be difficult to find any other place even close to it.

The sad reality is that many Asians are described as ‘tell-tale slanted eyes’ or ‘chinky eyes.’ Here is a detailed guide to remind you of these rich nationalities and how you can tell a Japanese apart from a Chinese or Korean.

Page Contents

How To Differentiate Between Japanese, Chinese, And Korean?

Difference in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean Language

The first thing that distinguishes one culture from another is the language barriers between them. Did you know that a person’s language and way of speaking says a lot about their culture?

The Japanese language consists of only 5 vowel sounds and around 100 different syllables with very few variations.

How To Differentiate Between Japanese, Chinese, And Korean? | 7 Ways To Differentiate Between Japanese, Chinese, and Korean - Japan Truly (1)

Each word either ends in a vowel or “n,” so you can pick it up very easily even though you have not learnt the first word.

On the other hand, Mandarin contains multiple vowel sounds for each English equivalent, and people seem to raise and lower their intonation and tone increasingly, and combine consonants.

Korean and Japanese share many similar sentence structures and words. Korean have a total of 10 different vowels and 19 consonants.

How To Differentiate Between Japanese, Chinese, And Korean? | 7 Ways To Differentiate Between Japanese, Chinese, and Korean - Japan Truly (2)

They do have a simple vowel and syllable system similar to Japanese with an alphabet called “Hangeul” which makes it much easier to read and write.

(Video) How to tell Chinese/Korean/Japanese Difference

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Difference in Physical Features Between the Japanese, Chinese and Koreans

Although it can be a little challenging to differentiate these three cultures in terms of their face and other physical attributes, there are ways on how you can identify their nationality by just their features.

See also Meaning Of Thumbs Up In Japan And Other Hand Gestures In Japan

According to research, most Japanese people have an oval or longer facial structure than the other two nationalities. They also have lower cheekbones, they have eyes tiled upwards and more pronounced noses.

They have an average height of 1.69 meters with hair mostly covered at the forehand and curved at the end.

Chinese from the North generally tend to have paler skin, small noses and eyes with square-ish faces. While those from the South have darker skin, broader noses, rounder face and eyes.

How To Differentiate Between Japanese, Chinese, And Korean? | 7 Ways To Differentiate Between Japanese, Chinese, and Korean - Japan Truly (3)

They have an average height of 1.68 meters with combed and wavy hair. Most Koreans have really smooth and light skin. They also have noticeably higher cheekbones.

Their facial structure is also rounder, with small but long noses and small eyes.They have an average height of 1.71 meters with long hair pulled back.

Difference in Fashion & Style Amongst the Japanese, Koreans and Chinese

When you consider their appearance in everyday life, the fashion and clothing styles between the three countries are very different.

Modern-day Japanese men and women typically prefer wearing tight pants and dresses and skirts respectively. They are also known for their “kawaii”(cute culture) in fashion which is a very prominent way of identifying someone from Japan.

On the other hand, Koreans are known to choose brighter colors , bold designs and lovers of brand names and fashion trends. You can see a lot of young people in Korea with unusual hair colors and unique style combinations.

Finally, the Chinese take a more Western approach to their clothing and style. They tend to care about wealth and wear expensive jewellery, gold and fashion.

Difference in Mannerisms Between The Japanese, Koreans and the Chinese:

While you may find a few similarities, you will be able to identify if a person was raised either in Japan, China, and Korea as well. Keep in mind that when it comes to gestures, bowing down has evolved in each country over the years.

For example: In Japan and in Korea, greeting one another with a slight bow while a deeper bow is done in more formal situations. In China, a formal handshake with a slight head nod has actually become a common greeting.

(Video) Differences Between Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Writing

In Japan and Korea , people avoid yelling or making noise especially in public places. Chinese people do not seem to have the cultural custom of quietness so you may find them laughing and raising their voices.

Difference in Culture Between The Japanese, Koreans and Chinese:

Also known as ‘The land of the rising sun’ and home to the anime gods, Japan is known for its interesting culture with highly patriotic citizens who are world-renowned for their discipline and hard work.

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The Japanese are also respectful individuals who pay great attention to traditions.When you think of Korea, focus on the fact that South Koreans have successfully turned their country into a highly-developed one with their forward-mindedness and their ability to innovate quickly.

They have a need for perfection and are very competitive in nature and this can be seen in the number of plastic surgeries done in the country in order to achieve the perfect appearance.

The Chinese have traditions and customs that vary depending on the location. But one thing they have in common is their spiritual history which has influenced its traditions.

The duty of each family member is to value traditions and uphold the honor of the family name.

Difference in How Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans Do Their Makeup:

Most females in Japan and South Korea wear makeup regardless of age and occupation.This is normally accepted starting from high school age as it is

necessary courtesy for them to show respect.

However, makeup is highly restricted in Chinese high schools and uniforms are designed like sportswear to help students concentrate more on their studies and avoid comparison of appearance at an early age.

It is also very common to see South Korean And Japanese school boys or girls wearing shorts or skirts showing off their knees during the winter, this does not happen in China.

But in recent times, you can see Chinese females also pursuing beauty and fashion. Make-up is also popular among Korean and Japanese boys but in China, it is disliked and considered girly.

Difference in Food Between The Japanese, Chinese and Koreans

Kimchi, the most famous Korean food, is mostly spicy, usually eaten using a spoon, fork, and metal chopsticks so they don’t get damaged by fire when they do a Korean barbecue.

(Video) Differences between Japanese(quiet), Korean(surgery), and Chinese(fish)

Japanese people love fish and sushi and will be seen using very thin chopsticks made of bamboo since it is easier to pick bones from fish while eating.

A Chinese staple meal consists of rice, noodles or steamed buns, vegetables and meat dishes and people eat using chopsticks for solid foods and ceramic spoons for soups and congees.

Difference in Religion and Religious Practices Between Chinese, Japanese and the Koreans

Japan’s native religion is Shinto with most of the holidays based on Shinto rituals. The Emperor of Japan has the highest authority in Shintoism, and more than half of the population in Japan believe in Shintoism in some way. You will find many Anime and Japanese cartoons greatly inspired by Shinto as well.

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On the other hand, Christianity is the major religion in South Korea. Other religions followed in the country include Shamanism, Confucianism and Buddhism. The Chinese people practice Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Catholicism, and Islam.

How To Differentiate Between Japanese, Chinese, And Korean? | 7 Ways To Differentiate Between Japanese, Chinese, and Korean - Japan Truly (4)

Difference Between japanese, Chinese, and Koreans: FAQs

How similar are Chinese, Korean and Japanese languages?

-It is quite fascinating to know that there is plenty of similarity in the vocabulary between these three languages because Japanese and Korean have Chinese roots. According to many linguists, 50% of Japanese words and 60% of Korean words come from Chinese. You will also find some striking similarities between Korean and Japanese grammar and word order.

What is one of the main things found in all three cultures?

-A common socio-cultural element seen in all these three cultures is a strong sense of respect for the elders.In Japan, the respect-for-the-Aged day or keirou no hi is celebrated. An important element of Chinese Confucianism that spread up to Korea is Filial piety.

What is the hierarchy in these three countries?

All these countries have a relatively high context culture so there will be more ambiguity and uncertainty in your communication. They also have great respect for the hierarchy of authority and status which can be seen in the relationships in the family, at offices, at schools, and even between two genders.

(Video) Can You Tell The Difference Between Chinese Japanese And Korean - Men's Quiz

What about in terms of education?

-These three countries have a similar education system which is based on the ancient Civil Service Examination system. The college entrance exams are a very important event for any student’s career in these three countries because it can decide and change their social class in the future.

Conclusion:

After analyzing the above differences between the cultures, you will find it easy to see the uncountable differences between the Japanese, Chinese and Korean.

So, before you quickly assume where a person is from, take a second to remember that each person comes from a unique country with their own incredible culture, history, and religion that deserves to be distinguished from one another.

You can always search for quizzes on the same subject to test your knowledge and challenge yourself.

Thank you for reading our article, feel free to drop your comments below. Tell us what is the easiest way for you to differentiate between the above cultures?

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Hiya! I’m the main author of Japan Truly. I love everything Japan and love testing out Japanese products, be it skincare and makeup or gadgets! You’ll find reviews of some of the best selling Japanese products (tried and tested) right here!

(Video) Can You Tell The Difference Between Chinese, Japanese, And Korean Faces? [Women's QUIZ]

FAQs

Can you tell the difference between Chinese Japanese and Korean? ›

The Chinese language (at the risk of stating the obvious) is a very complex language, but a simple way to identify Chinese characters is that they are square and not curvy. Japanese characters look rounder and more curvy. Visually, both Japanese and Korean are also more open and spacious than Chinese, which is denser.

How do you tell Japanese Chinese from Korean? ›

The face is rounder. The eyes a lot of times they have double eyelids are usually very rounded big

How can you tell the difference between Chinese and Koreans? ›

Physical difference in Chinese and Korean

Generally speaking Koreans have light smooth skin, smaller eyes and longer noses than the Chinese. They are very conscious of their youthful appearance. The Chinese have rounder faces and their skin tone varies depending on the area they originated from.

How can you tell the difference between Korean and Japanese language? ›

The Korean writing system is the Hangul (also known as the Chosŏn'gŭl in North Korea). On the other hand, the Japanese writing system consists of three different ones, the kanji, the katakana, and the hiragana. The kanji system is made up mostly of adopted Chinese symbols.

How can you tell the difference between Chinese and Japanese faces? ›

Main Difference Between Chinese Faces and Japanese Faces

The Chinese faces are round in shape, whereas the Japanese faces are wide and have a taller appearance. The Chinese faces are small and lack any kind of prominent feature, whereas, on the other hand, the Japanese faces have big eyes as their prominent feature.

How can you tell the difference between Chinese and Japanese characters? ›

Chinese is written entirely in hanzi. Japanese makes use of kanji (mostly similar to hanzi), but also has two syllabaries of its own: hiragana and katakana.

What is the difference between Chinese Japanese and Korean chopsticks? ›

The main difference between Chinese Korean and Japanese chopsticks is their length. Chinese chopsticks are the longest, while Japanese chopsticks are the shortest. Korean chopsticks have a medium length compared to Chinese and Japanese ones.

Which is harder Korean or Japanese? ›

Conclusion. In terms of difficulty, I think Japanese and Korean are at about the same level. Some parts are harder for Korean while other parts are harder for Japanese. However, considering the larger number of sounds and the different particles in Korean, Japanese is definitely the easier language to start in.

What is the hardest language to learn? ›

Mandarin Chinese

Interestingly, the hardest language to learn is also the most widely spoken native language in the world. Mandarin Chinese is challenging for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the writing system is extremely difficult for English speakers (and anyone else) accustomed to the Latin alphabet.

What is the difference between Chinese eyes and Japanese eyes? ›

The main difference between Chinese eyes and Japanese eyes lies in their shape and appearance. Chinese eyes are smaller in comparison to Japanese eyes and are angled downwards from the outer edge, while Japanese eyes are comparatively larger and angled upwards towards their brow bone to give a more snatched look.

How do you differentiate Asians? ›

East Asians tend to have pudgier noses, but South and Transcontinental Asians have sharp ones. Jawlines. South Asians have smaller jawlines, and defined jawlines aren't their strength. Transcontinental Asians have wide-set jaws, and East Asians have rounder jawlines.

What is the easiest language to learn? ›

15 of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers - ranked
  • Frisian. Frisian is thought to be one of the languages most closely related to English, and therefore also the easiest for English-speakers to pick up. ...
  • Dutch. ...
  • Norwegian. ...
  • Spanish. ...
  • Portuguese. ...
  • Italian. ...
  • French. ...
  • Swedish.
24 Oct 2021

Do Japanese people have round eyes? ›

Here is a highlight of the characteristic features of Japanese eyes: Japanese people have eyes which are round or oval in shape. Their eyes are shaped or angled in the upward direction.

What is the difference between Japanese and Chinese culture? ›

Both countries have collective society, but Japan has an external collective culture, while China has an internal collective culture. It means Japanese collectivism is more society-centered, while Chinese collectivism is more family-centered. In Japan, following social standard and social order is very important.

Which language is easier Chinese or Korean? ›

Relatively, Korean would be an easier language to learn. Thanks to its phonetic alphabet and more simplistic grammar rules, Korean is not the most challenging Asian language to learn. Chinese on the other hand is much more widely spoken.

Why does Japanese have 3 alphabets? ›

Q. Why does the Japanese language have to use three different types of script; Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana? A. This is because each of the three types of script, Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana, has its own specific role.

Is Japanese harder than Chinese? ›

Japanese is slightly easier to learn. But, Chinese is much more widely spoken. Both languages have their pros and cons.

Do Koreans use kanji? ›

No. Chinese hanzi and Japanese kanji/Korean hanja may not use the same set of traditional Chinese characters. The characters used in Korean (hanja) and Japan (kanji) are distinct from those used in China in many respects.

What is the real name for chopsticks? ›

Thus chopsticks would simply mean "food sticks". In Japanese, chopsticks are called hashi (箸). They are also known as otemoto (おてもと), a phrase commonly printed on the wrappers of disposable chopsticks.

Why Japanese use chopsticks? ›

In their early history, Japanese chopsticks provided a bridge between the human and the divine. Rather than for taking ordinary meals, they were used, at first, for sharing food with the gods. It was believed that when a pair of chopsticks was offered to a deity, the chopsticks became inhabited by that deity.

Does Korea use chopsticks? ›

Metal chopsticks are used in Korea despite the traditional use of those made with bamboo or wood. The tradition of eating with chopsticks originated in China and eventually spread to Japan and Korea in A.D. 500. Metal chopsticks became a symbol of social status, first in the Baekje Kingdom under King Muryeong.

Can I learn Korean in 2 years? ›

It takes about three months or 90 days to learn enough Korean to have at least 3-minute conversations in Korean if you study for 7 to 10 hours per week. Moreover, after one year of looking at this pace, you will become fluent and comfortable with Korean conversation.

Is Korean easy for Indian? ›

Korean is not easy, but you can learn. Korean is undoubtedly a complicated language to learn. Since it is unrelated to European languages like English, French, German, or Spanish or Indian languages, it looks difficult for Indians. The alphabet's Hangeul (한글), grammar, verbs, and pronunciation is incredibly simple.

What should I learn first Korean or Japanese? ›

If you're looking for which is easier to learn between Korean or Japanese, Korean wins this round too. There are more sounds in Korean. The sounds in the Korean language (with the exception of the /z/ consonant) are a superset of the sounds in Japanese.

What is the 20 hardest language to learn? ›

The Hardest Languages in the World to Learn
  • Arabic.
  • Russian.
  • Korean.
  • Navajo.
  • Finnish.
  • Vietnamese.
  • Mongolian.
  • Hungarian.

What is the hardest language for a child to learn? ›

The top 10 hardest languages to learn for English speakers
  1. Mandarin. Though Mandarin is the most spoken language in the world, it has been notorious for being one of, if not the, most difficult language to learn for English speakers. ...
  2. Arabic. ...
  3. 3. Japanese. ...
  4. Mongolian. ...
  5. Finnish. ...
  6. Russian. ...
  7. Thai. ...
  8. Korean.
7 Jun 2019

What is the 10 hardest language to learn? ›

Unbabel Translates the 10 Hardest Languages to Learn, So You Don't Have To
  1. Mandarin. Mandarin is spoken by 70% of the Chinese population, and is the most spoken language in the world. ...
  2. Arabic. ...
  3. 3. Japanese. ...
  4. Hungarian. ...
  5. Korean. ...
  6. Finnish. ...
  7. Basque. ...
  8. Navajo.
16 Sept 2022

Can Japanese have blue eyes? ›

So while many Asians do have the “blue-eyed allele”, blue eyes themselves are still quite rare.

How can I get my eyes like Korean? ›

Highlight under your eyebrows with a highlighting makeup pen to make your eyes look big and innocent. Finish the look with your favorite eyeshadow and eyeliner to make you look Korean. Create cat eyes for a classic Korean look. Extend your eyeliner upwards away from your eye to create a dramatic, catlike look.

Why do Asians eat with chopsticks? ›

400 that people began eating with the utensils. This happened when a population boom across China sapped resources and forced cooks to develop cost-saving habits. They began chopping food into smaller pieces that required less cooking fuel—and happened to be perfect for the tweezers-like grip of chopsticks.

Are Koreans and Japanese related? ›

Further, the Koreans are more closely related to the Japanese and quite distant from the Chinese. The above evidence of the origin of Koreans fits well with the ethnohistoric account of the origin of Koreans and the Korean language. The minority Koreans in China also maintained their genetic identity.

Is Japanese Korean easier than Chinese? ›

Korean and Japanese are at the top of the “most difficult” level – with Japanese having just a small edge on Korean for it's use of 2 alphabetic structures and use of kanji – Chinese characters (in total 3 alphabets essentially) instead of just one alphabet like in Korean.

What race is Korean? ›

Koreans, along with Japanese and Tungusic speakers are generally considered a Northeast Asian group. The mitochondrial DNA markers (mtDNA haplogroups and HVR-I sequences) of Korean populations showed close relationships with Manchurians, Japanese, Mongolians and northern Han Chinese but not with Southern East Asians.

Is it easier to learn Chinese Japanese or Korean? ›

Relatively, Korean would be an easier language to learn. Thanks to its phonetic alphabet and more simplistic grammar rules, Korean is not the most challenging Asian language to learn. Chinese on the other hand is much more widely spoken. This means that finding study materials and practice partners would be easier.

Can a Japanese understand Chinese? ›

They can grasp many Chinese characters but not to the extent of understanding the whole phrase. But it is recommended for Japanese who want to be fluent in Chinese whether in speaking, or writing, there's no substitute for studying it. For Japanese who master Chinese will certainly benefit from learning the language.

How can you tell if someone is Chinese or Vietnamese? ›

Nevertheless, Vietnamese people are often seen to have broader noses. They also have a smaller body frame than the Chinese. They are quite short people, bearing a darker complexion and fuller eyes, as they are those who live in Southeast Asia. Conversely, Chinese people appear taller than most Asians.

What is the difference between Chinese eyes and Japanese eyes? ›

The main difference between Chinese eyes and Japanese eyes lies in their shape and appearance. Chinese eyes are smaller in comparison to Japanese eyes and are angled downwards from the outer edge, while Japanese eyes are comparatively larger and angled upwards towards their brow bone to give a more snatched look.

What is the hardest language in the world? ›

Mandarin

As mentioned before, Mandarin is unanimously considered the most difficult language to master in the world! Spoken by over a billion people in the world, the language can be extremely difficult for people whose native languages use the Latin writing system.

What is the hardest language to learn? ›

Mandarin Chinese

Interestingly, the hardest language to learn is also the most widely spoken native language in the world. Mandarin Chinese is challenging for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the writing system is extremely difficult for English speakers (and anyone else) accustomed to the Latin alphabet.

Can Japanese have blue eyes? ›

So while many Asians do have the “blue-eyed allele”, blue eyes themselves are still quite rare.

Is Chinese harder than Japanese? ›

If you generally have no problems with grasping foreign grammar concepts, Japanese is the easier language. If you find tones easy, and getting used to using them correctly when speaking, Chinese might be easier.

Is kanji easy for Chinese? ›

Japanese. Japanese is the language that English, Spanish, and probably other European native speakers consider as one of the hardest languages to learn. The set of characters, kanji, and kana gives a headache to most of the language learner. Most learners, yes, but no to Chinese learners.

What are Japanese facial features? ›

Description of Japanese Faces

Some of the properties of the Japanese face include longer and wider faces, pale face, especially for the people living in the cold regions of northern japan, and bigger eyes, which are angled downwards.

Who are considered Asians? ›

The Census Bureau defines a person of the Asian race as “having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.”

Is Vietnamese or Chinese harder? ›

Which Is Easier To Learn Chinese Or Vietnamese? To English speakers, Vietnamese seems to be easier to learn than the Mandarin language. FSI put Mandarin in the category 'super-hard languages' that requires a native English speaker 2,200 hours to be fluent, while the Vietnamese just requires 1,100 hours.

How can I get my eyes like Korean? ›

Highlight under your eyebrows with a highlighting makeup pen to make your eyes look big and innocent. Finish the look with your favorite eyeshadow and eyeliner to make you look Korean. Create cat eyes for a classic Korean look. Extend your eyeliner upwards away from your eye to create a dramatic, catlike look.

Do Japanese people have round eyes? ›

Here is a highlight of the characteristic features of Japanese eyes: Japanese people have eyes which are round or oval in shape. Their eyes are shaped or angled in the upward direction.

Why do Asians eat with chopsticks? ›

400 that people began eating with the utensils. This happened when a population boom across China sapped resources and forced cooks to develop cost-saving habits. They began chopping food into smaller pieces that required less cooking fuel—and happened to be perfect for the tweezers-like grip of chopsticks.

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