What Race Are Anime And Manga Characters According to Japanese People?

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Every time an anime adaption comes out a heated debate among anime fans on the internet many people have argued about the casting for various reasons. One of the main ones of course is race. One of the most recent examples of this is the casting of Scarlett Johansson Hollywood adaption of Ghost in the Shell. It seems many people assume that anime characters are automatically white since they don’t look like racial stereotypes or have colored hair, or various other reasons.

Since we’re in Japan, we decided to talk to some Japanese friends and get their opinion on the matter. One such friend who we’ll identify as “Yoshi” who also happens to be a full fledged otaku had the following rules for determining whether a character is Asian or not.

They’re Asian if
1. If the story is set in Japan and the character has a Japanese name, they’re Japanese regardless of their hair/eye color. A good example of this would be Gantz where they specify where characters are from (Tokyo, Osaka etc).

2. If the story is set in a fantasy world but the setting have obvious Asian designs and character wear kimono’s etc. Examples would be Dragon Ball Z and Naruto characters.

3. If the story specifically specifies that they’re Asian.

They’re white if

  1. If the story is set in Europe or America the character is white. The best example would be Jonathan Joestar in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure or Gantz where they have North American and other teams from all over the globe.

2. If it’s a fantasy world and the setting is based on Europe, and features western design.

3. If the story specifically specifies that they’re not Asian. The best example of this would be Attack on Titan, where it’s specifically mentioned that the character Mikasa is the only character of Asian descent.

We know most people will probably choose to ignore this, but we’re going to go by their rules from now on.

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