Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Ask a Korean! Wiki: Does This Guy Look Korean?

Dear Korean,

I am a Western-born Chinese who is half Southern Chinese and half Northern Chinese, which is mix that you can sort of see in my face. In China, people are usually convinced that I am Korean. Part of this is because I dress and move like a foreigner, speak passable but not perfect Mandarin, yet do not look like a Hongkinese (too tall). But taking these factors out of the equation, people still insist that my face looks Korean. I've never lived anywhere that has a big Korean population so I don't know what this means. I don't look anything like Margaret Cho, Kim Jong Il or Euna Lee. The only possible relevant indicator on your 'How to Pick Koreans from Other Asians' list, in the context of the US, seems to be : "Facial Expression – in a neutral state, Koreans tend to look like they are pissed off. (Confidence Level = 2)"


Do I look Korean, and why? Or do I just look pissed off?

- Tze Ming




Dear Tze Ming,

To the Korean, you look VERY Chinese. But it would be interesting to hear from the readers. What do you think, readers? Does Tze Ming look Korean?

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at askakorean@hotmail.com.

39 comments:

  1. Certainly not Korean. I would have said Chinese too...

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  2. he looks like heechul sulking XD (LOL sorry couldn't help but notice) so i suppose he resembles a korean..

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  3. I think his nose & mouth look very much like mine (I'm korean). his eyes definitely look like my friend hui shuan's eyes! (chineeeeeese!) But hey from what I hear from my japanese friends: if someone mistakes you for korean, it means you're good looking!

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  4. I am Chinese American and am often mistaken for Korean when visiting China. The reason is very simple. I do not speak Chinese well enough to be considered native Chinese. Korean has become the default non-Chinese Asian setting.

    So the answer is no, he does not look Korean. Neither do I.

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  5. I really hate the "looks Korean" or "looks Chinese" or "looks Japanese" stuff because it basically suggests everyone should be and can be lumped into stereotypes.

    That said, the guy doesn't look particularly Korean to me, but I have nonetheless seen Koreans with a similar look (not the pissed-off or bored look, but the overall appearance look).

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  6. well,doesn't look like Korean,but certainly not Japanese.so if not Chinese,I guess maybe Korean comes next.(as close and famous country,or how can I say...so maybe more Korean,than Vietnamese or I don't know)

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  7. Not Korean! I would probably have guessed Chinese, but the only thing I would say with confidence is not Korean.

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  8. Is it the hair? Guys with longer hair must be from 'that other place where kids get to be weirder'? I'm Korean, and I usually assume the guys with longer hair (colored, permed, etc) are Japanese. Especially if they're wearing a fedora.

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  9. Many of my Korean-American friends living here in Korea often get asked if they're Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, etc... when they are full Korean. All the natives recognize is that they don't speak Korean fluently, and there's something "different" about them--thus they must not be Korean.

    If you told me you were Korean, I'd believe you... There's so many different faces all across Asia...sometimes it's obvious, sometimes it's not. Basically, I would argue that your American-ness is what makes you unidentifiable when you're in China.

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  10. Dude just looks gangster, if you ask me. Sort of a thinner version of Sung Kang, so I guess he can pass himself off as a korean.

    Wait, does this mean chinese people think that koreans tend to look gangster? Hmnnn...I see. Heh heh heh.

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  11. I'm not sure I like how you guys are trying to determine his ethnicity just by looking at him.

    While there are those who have facial features that are distinctly and unmistakably Korean, there are also many who don't have those same facial traits and could easily blend in with people of other ethnicities.

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  12. If he claimed he was Korean, I would have believed him. If he claimed he was Chinese, I would have believed him too. I think the physical characteristics of East Asians are largely shared and while some characteristics might be more common in certain nations, most of us can found a counterpart in one of the other nations that shares a number of those characteristics.

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  13. He looks Chinese, but then again I've seen many Koreans, Japanese and Chinese so maybe I have easier time distinguishing asians.

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  14. It's probably because of the puffiness under the his eyes and the full lips. I notice that these are common Korean features.

    Or I could be wrong. Don't hate me. *ducking*

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  15. He definitely looks Chinese...

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  16. I wouldn't know. I watch a lot of Korean shows, and you look different. If you say you're Chinese, than you're Chinese :D

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  17. I don't think he looks Korean, although certain parts of his face reminds me of some childhood friends...

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  18. Definitely not Korean. Chinese for sure.

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  19. Having spent time in Korea (5 years), it's my semi-informed opinion that that Mr. Tze looks Chinese. I would have never taken him to be Korean, but I don't know why his countrymen think he is.

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  20. If you live in a part of the U.S. that does not have a large Korean population... That may be the reason why you are mistaken for being Korean. People will generalize based on their experiences and classify into what they believe is closest to their ideal picture of a Chinese person, and you obviously you don't fit that description.

    I think the older you get and once you start growing into your features.. It becomes more apparent as to which you look more like.

    I'm Chinese as well, but I've been told I look Korean by many native Koreans and Korean Americans, in the United States and Korea. But when I go to Hong Kong, most people think I am mixed.

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  21. AAK,

    Excuse me for going off-topic, but email to your Hotmail account is bouncing back.

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  22. He looks very Chinese to me...

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  23. I've never understood why anybody gives a shit about questions like these.

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  24. The Korean is turning into Asia's Finest Forum!

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  25. It's not possible to guess the origin of a person based on a picture... People Think my Wife is Korean/chinese/japanese/thai....
    And her guess are wrong, as well when she tries that game.

    it's like lottery...you can't win if you don't play :D

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  26. I think the answers would have been more interesting if we didn't know he's Chinese in the first place. LOL!

    Anyway, he does look Korean AT FIRST GLANCE but when you look again closely, he's not.

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  27. I think he looks more Chinese than Korean.

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  28. She looks very Chinese, maybe she is mistaken for a korean precisely because of her foreign behaviour and maybe mouth or nose but they eyes are totally Chinese :O

    I have Spanish/Italian/Chinese ethnicity and when I was in China they though at first sight I was Chinese (because I have black hair, similar skin and body shpae) but when they looked at me again they realize I have bigger eyes and a little bit different nose and their faces were like "OMG!!!" xDDDD

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  29. i think people from east & south east asia have mixed ethnicities so it could be very hard to tell them apart. i am fond of korean dramas and from his looks, he could pass as a korean (not the metrosexual kind but the urban one).
    it would be nice if someone just asked one's ethnicity rather than assume on their own. i am a Filipina-Chinese-Spanish mix. before the K fever ever hit the PI, I was always mistaken as Chinese and until recently, Korean. i used to be offended by the questions when i was younger but now i realized, no matter what you look like or who you look like, what matters is that you live up to the citizenship you assume...i'm just proud to be Pinay.

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  30. laughed so hard from this photo i guess the place you come from has never seen korean people

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  31. Maybe looks part Korean but I would definitely say mostly Chinese.

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  32. I don't know it's hard to say from a picture. I would have to hear the guy talk and hear his accent. If he's American and just sounds like he's from somewhere in the US, then I wouldn't be able to say at all. I would just call him Asian. However,I do know this; my husband really gets annoyed when some redneck asks him "Hey are you Chahneeze?" because he's not.

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  33. Hard for me to say certainly because I cannot even distinguish my fellow Europeans and be completely sure.

    However, my first impression, when I saw the thumbnail, it didn't give me any Korean feeling. I've been living in Korea for one and a half year for now. And I met a lot of Chinese and Japanese and some Taiwanese and people from other parts of east Asia. Well, I can notice some difference, some... feeling.

    I would say this guy seems Chinese too, but then, Chinese people are so numerous and various and China is very big and their population maybe has the most mixed genes. So, as I notice, they look too different from each other anyway.

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  34. If he had a Korean haircut and wore dark rimmed glasses he'd look Korean. I think it's style that differentiates East Asians more than actual features.

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  35. I wanted to say Vietnamese, I am from Seattle and we have a lot of Vietnamese.

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