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Japanese, Korean, Chinese… What’s the Difference?

Before you quickly assume “Japanese,” “Korean,” or “Chinese,” take a step back and remember that each person comes from a unique country that is their own.

By 8 min read 302

Until I lived in Asia, I can honestly say I didn’t know the major differences between Japan, Korea, and China. I realize that’s extremely narrow-minded of me but since living in Japan, I’ve grown a lot because of having to make such a drastic change in my mindset about these countries.

However, after talking to family and friends in America as well as my ESL students around the world, I’ve come to understand that I am not alone in my confusion between the three countries.

When you first live in Japan, it’s very important to understand the differences between Japanese and other Asian cultures, as well as what it’s like for Asian foreigners who live in Japan.

Once you can understand the different culture better, you start to see why people in Japan live life the way they do; and it, in turn, makes living in Japan a much more fulfilling experience.

Here are just a few of the many differences I noticed between Japanese, Chinese, and Korean culture from my perspective as an American living in Japan. I’d like to add that these are purely my observations that I understand come from my own upbringing and a world view built by a particular experience. It’s not my intention to judge or promote stereotypes, I’m simply sharing my thoughts—and I hope that you can too in the comments at the end of the article.

Japanese vs Korean vs Chinese mannerisms

I can’t think of a more extreme difference that I noticed between Japanese, Korean and Chinese people than their mannerisms in everyday life. While there are some similarities, for me it is easy to tell that someone was raised in Japan versus China, and sometimes Korea as well.

When it comes to gestures, bowing is one aspect of each culture that most assume is the same, but in fact, it has evolved in each country over the years. In Japan and Korea, a slight bow when greeting each other and a deeper bow in more formal situations are still considered appropriate.

However, in China, the handshake has actually become a common greeting, with only a slight head nod rather than the traditional bow.

I noticed this a little in my experiences with Chinese people, but especially with the Korean and Japanese. Even in my Skype lessons with the latter, we often end the call with a bow out of respect, which is definitely unique from my other students.

Another mannerism that I noticed in everyday life was the volume and tone of speaking. I visited Hokkaido in northern Japan on vacation once and began to see and hear Chinese tourists from a mile away each time I got on a train. Upon entering a train or other public transportation, Japanese and Koreans typically remain eerily silent and even keep their laughter to a minimum. Chinese people, on the other hand, don’t seem to have the cultural custom of quietness in public spaces.

So, you’ll often see people in China laughing and raising their voices, which is a stark contrast to Japan and Korea. I’m sure this has something to do with their long history of such held traditions, but that would take an entire course in Asian history, so I digress.

How does fashion differ between Japanese, Korean and Chinese people?

When considering their appearance in everyday life, fashion between the three countries varies somewhat as well. Modern-day Japanese men and women typically prefer subtle hues, often with dresses and skirts for women and tight pants for men. The Japanese brand Uniqlo, for example, represents pretty well the large spectrum of the daily Japanese outfit. Also, they’re known for their kawaii (cute) culture even in fashion, which is one way that you can tell a Japanese person from other Asians.

Koreans, on the other hand, are known to choose brighter colors more often than the Japanese but still bring in a similar element of the Asian vibe that’s popular across the three countries. You can have a pretty good idea of the bold Korean fashion with the makeup artist Pony and the street fashion photographer Kyunghun Kim.

I was also told once that even despite the Japanese’s constant effort in never leaving the house without looking immaculate, the Korean culture puts even more emphasis on both this aspect as well as brand name items. 

In China, fashion varies greatly in urban and rural settings, but overall they take a more Western approach to their clothing and accessories. In my interactions with Chinese people, I always noticed their t-shirt and jeans, which is something that seemed like an anomaly in Japan or with my Korean acquaintances. Check out Mr. Bags or Becky Li, two of the most famous Chinese influencers, if you’re curious about China fashion trends.

What are the main differences between the Japanese, Korean and Chinese languages?

When you start to recognize the differences between the three languages, things will start to make more sense to you about their distinct cultures. To me, a person’s language and way of speaking says a lot about their culture; and you can really learn a lot about the person’s background when you start paying attention to how they speak.

If you have studied Japanese, you know that the entire language consists of only 5 vowel sounds and about 100 different syllables with very few variations. “A I U E O” becomes totally clear even to the untrained ear when listening to a Japanese person speak. In addition, each Japanese word either ends in a vowel or “n,” making it easy to pick up on Japanese even if you haven’t learned the first word.

Korean, on the other hand, can end words in consonants other than “n” and have a total of 10 different vowels and 19 consonants. They do have a simple syllabic and vowel system similar to Japanese with an alphabet called “Hangeul” which makes it much easier to read and write. But before learning more of the language it was always easy for me to tell the difference by the increased number of consonants—here 14.

From a purely grammatical point though, Korean and Japanese share many similar sentence structures and words.

Even though China’s languages share vocabulary similarities with Japanese and Korean, the spoken language seems like it could not be more different. Not only does Mandarin, the official standard for China, contain multiple vowel sounds for each English equivalent, but their mannerisms and personality come into play as well. They seem to raise and lower their intonation and tone increasingly, and combine consonants where Japanese or Korean wouldn’t.

Without dissecting this country’s incredibly detailed and historic languages, it’s safe to say you can still pick a Chinese person speaking out of a crowd based on their distinctions from Japanese or Korean.

Respect for the elders is present across all three societies 

Something that is less emphasized in the West, but a common socio-cultural element across almost every Asian country is their very strong sense of respect for the older generation. 

Filial piety is indeed a very important element of the Chinese Confucianism that spread up to Korea. In Japan, we even celebrate the respect-for-the-Aged day, 敬老の日, “keirou no hi”, as a way to catch up with our elders sometimes miles away from their children and grandchildren.

The respect for the elderly can also be found in the language with “the levels of speech.” While it is not true anymore in Chinese due to the variety of cultural revolutions the country faced, it is still very important that you respect those levels of speech and honorific titles in Korean and Japanese. Where you would usually speak casually to your grandma back home, you will have to be careful about choosing a specific honorific title with a specific verbal form if you want to speak to a Korean or Japanese elder.

The Japanese “Kohai-Senpai” system in the work environment—also found in the Korean society—is something that can be linked to this respect for the elders, as well as the love for linear hierarchy. 

After analyzing only these four differences and similarities between the cultures, it’s easy to start to see the uncountable differences between the three countries. So, before you quickly assume “Japanese,” “Korean,” or “Chinese,” take a step back and remember that each person comes from a unique country that is their own. They each have their own culture, an incredibly long history, and deserve to be distinguished because of it.

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  • Rukky says:

    AWWWWW you have really cleared the air for me on this three countries as well. have always had same mindset about the three counties until i read your write up. you write really well. thank you….

  • Yi Yao says:

    as a Chinese who has learned both Japanese and Korean, I have to tell that the author (Kelsey) is wrong. Korean and Japanese are not originated from Chinese. As three different languages, the relationship of these three is Vocabulary, Japanese and Korean have vocabulary borrowed from Chinese, but you can’t simply say they’re originated from Chinese . Because language is not just vocabulary, there are also pronunciation,grammar, structure,and many other social contents. To make it more understandable, in English there are many French words, such as avalanche, chef, restaurant, but are you going to say that English is originated form French?

  • 青龍 says:

    Lol true. And they keep saying that Chinese Malaysians should go back to China. Same with Indonesia. But they tend to forget that ethnic Chinese control the majority of the country business.

  • JP says:

    The Japanese find it cute to have crooked teeth.

  • Lilith says:

    Wow, so many dumb racists on the internet. It never fails to boggle my mind. Wasn’t there some 90s quote – “Can’t we all just get along?!” Don’t you think all Asians, East Asians, and human beings should support each other and be united as humans? Internet, world – stop it with your racism. Stop looking down on other people and thinking your own is superior.

    • Genia L says:

      You Japanese think Taiwanese are Chinese. You Japanese called Taiwanese as Chinese as though Taiwan should belong to China. Japanese think Taiwanese, and Chinese are the same, and that’s why we should be loyal to Mainland.

  • Lilith says:

    Yeah, it’s shocking to me that Koreans and Japanese look down on the Chinese. Here in the US, Asian American groups like to band together to fight for civil rights. But we all know the Japanese & Korean Americans see themselves as superior to Chinese American.

    Taiwan & China look up to Japan & Korea. However, Japan & Korea look down on China and Chinese people all over the world.

    You can see that in the way Korean & Japanese people talk about Chinese vs. the way they talk about other types of people. When they talk about Chinese, they give them a harder time and are more condescending – even if the Chinese didn’t do anything wrong.

  • Lilith says:

    As if that’s a bad thing.

  • Leap through Stars says:

    Do China also uses the respect custom for early birth (be friends with the same age of you and call them hyung/unnie if they’re older) that being used in Korea?

    • musings says:

      yes, china, korea, japan, and vietnam all have terms for an older/more respected figure
      they are 師兄 for males 師姐 for females

  • Leong David says:

    Why 3 of them are using CHOPSTICKS, SPOON & BOWL in mealtimes? Can anyone here explain why?

    • Leslie Wen says:

      chopsticks is a Chinese practice that spread to Korea and Japan historically.

  • Rain_Cloud_1891 says:

    So, as I was reading this article, I had a question pop into my mind: Do people who are half Japanese & half Chinese (or half Korean, or some other variation of the 3 different nationalities) speak just one language or can they usually understand and/or speak in both languages from both sides of their respective countries/ethnic backgrounds? I love learning about new cultures from all over the world. It’s amazing how, as humans, we can all be so similar, but yet, also so very different at the same time. I will admit, as an American, we are not raised to know the difference between these 3 different peoples & their cultures, which is unfortunate, but also why it’s so important to educate yourself & have an open, respectful dialogue with other people from other parts of the world. Now that I have started researching this particular topic, I can easily see how different each country, and its people, really are. There are similarities, but that’s common with many other cultures as well. The more you learn about each country, the more you can see the differences, and how each one is unique, distinct & beautiful in its own way.

    • Mackie says:

      it depends on how you are brought up. if you are brought up speaking Chinese when you are also Japanese will probably mean your’e main language would be Chinese. anyone can learn a different language. i am chinese and i was somewhat brought up in Mandarin but because i was born in North America and most people spoke English i soon began to shift more to English and now i can’t speak Mandarin only understand and listen XD

    • keddow says:

      I have a quite a friends who are Half Korean and Half Japanese/Chinese. They all speak both languages of their heritage. English was their third language (and therefore their weakest). I have noticed that where they live in their youth will largely determine their cultural identity as being “more” of a certain heritage as they will have spent their most formative years there.

    • KrysicaJ says:

      1st example: 50% Japanese, 50% Chinese. I have 3 friends with this mix. One of my friend only speaks Chinese, Cantonese, Hokkien, Malay and English, living in Malaysia; the other one speaks Japanese and English, living in Malaysia; last one speaks 3 of them but she only speaks Chinese with me not with parents, living in US.
      2nd example: 50% Korean, 50% Chinese. I have a friend of with this mix, he speaks Korean and English fluently but he is learning Chinese, living in Malaysia.
      3rd example: 50% Korean, 50% Japanese. I have a friend of with this mix, she speaks both languages and English. **At the start of living in Korea, she was accepted in her school society because nobody knows that she is half Japanese because she has a Korean surname, after one day her school came in a Japanese guest and she was suspected as a Japanese because she was forced to help translating because of the guest’s communication problem, although it was verified other students afterwards as she is half Japanese. Then she got hated by society. 🙁

  • Alex Tan Hao Nam says:

    In the old time japanese has no chinese words until the people came from china(in the dynasty of Qin a group of chinese went to Japan and stay there because ???-a lot of possible)and other and other you known already and this is why in the old time the japan army(leader)can easily take down china/mainland.

    • KrysicaJ says:

      Japan and Korea used to be a part of China 🙂 this is why our languages are similar to each other, cultures and traditional clothes as well. Ex: Kimono and Hanboks are originated from Chinese’s Han ethnic clothes.

      • Kundan Bapat says:

        incorrect. japan was never part of China. In fact through centurires, Japan had presence in China and held dominion over many chinese dynasties, controlled trade. Japan also had the same trade influence in Korea. No country has thus far ruled Japan – unless we consider post WW-2 US naval presence in japan as a foreign ‘rule’.

      • Viken says:

        We never was part of china. Yes, korea and china had a few wars, big and small, but the entire country has never been part of china. There was one time where a chinese leader took over korea, but the cultures created at that time went on to being korean culture and it was that tike where the first step of country’s own culture if i must say, was being created. So you can’t say that korea was part of china back in the day where the leader was chinese but everything else created was korean. But back in the day what we call “samgukseade”. , where korea was devided into three nations, (three nation era) korea didnt have it’s own language until a lot after hangul was invented. Korea used chinese characters, which had influence on our own language hangul when it was invented. Also there are things called “soonooreemal” Which means that it doesnt have chinese character meaning to it. Because korean language, hangul had influence from chinese language. A lot of the words in korea has chinese character meanings to it. But soomooremal doesnt have any sort of chinese meaning, cant be explained in chinese and can be only explained by korean. In the end I dont think you can say korea was part of chija when it wasnt at all.

      • Pixxless says:

        You are wrong on that one. Japan was never invaded by China.

  • Alex Tan Hao Nam says:

    in ancient korea they have chinese words in their language and after they abandoned it cuz to specified the race

  • Melonbarmonster says:

    Chinese languages are not the origin for Korean or Japanese. Korean and Japanese are related but both are considered to be isolate languages. Korean is sometimes classified as Altaic but it’s not clear. There is no dispute about their origins not being Chinese languages.

    • KrysicaJ says:

      Japanese and Korean are originated from of Chinese language, I’m Chinese here and we learn it from history :), my Japanese and Korean friends admitted this statement as well 🙂

      • Leong David says:

        But there’s one thing for sure is 3 of them are using CHOPSTICKS, SPOON & BOWL during mealtimes. Can anyone here explain why?

      • Pixxless says:

        I believe that is just what they want you to think. I am studying japanology and koreanistics and we have been told at my univerity that they have not originated from Chinese. They are, as Melonbarmoster said, considered to be isolate languages. However, a large part of their vocabulary consists of borrowed chinese words, and both Koreans and Japanese still use Chinese characters along with their writing system. But thats a bout it.

  • KoreanPeninsula says:

    I can tell difference between Korean, Chinese, Japanese. It is easy.

  • Monkey Luffy says:

    Hong kong people loud in Japan?!! Really?!! Of all the hong kong people I’ve met abroad; they have been quiet and reserved. Are you sure it’s not people from canton that speak the same language!

    I and most non mainland chinese think the brash and loud part is a result of the cultural revolution: the lack of manners, culture, compassion, the absolute inconsiderate behaviour etc. That’s another story.

    Great post!

  • Hj Lee says:

    In fact, Chinese is not the origin of Korean and Japanese. Korean n Japanese are more similar to Nomadic tribe languages such as Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and even Turkey…

    • KrysicaJ says:

      You are true but the fact is the other way round: Korean and Japanese are the origin of Chinese

    • Queen Sash says:

      I think you are talking about the race. The article is talking about the language when it says the origin is Chinese. Japanese characters are originated from Chinese character for sure. Japanese changed and modified the Chinese character. Korean writing system is invented all by themselves and it is totally different from Chinese. However before they invented Korean writing system, they used Chinese characters. And many Korean words are based on Chinese.

  • internet says:

    I love Korean, Chinese, and Japanese people.
    I love Asian, Black, Hispanic, and White people.
    I love and respect all of the people.
    God created people beautifully.
    The only people I cannot put up with are filthy and foul people with disgusting minds & personalities.

    Note: differences do not mean wrong.
    similarities do not mean right.
    We are all differently beautiful.

    Love & Blessings.

  • Shin Daiki大輔支那 says:

    I live in Europe and I can’t get used of the fact that Europeans sees any Asian as Chinese.

    • Asado Independiente says:

      Hi, yeah most Europeans will think an Asian is either Chinese or Japanese thats just the way it is, just like most people in Asia assume you are an American or Brit if you are white, and they assume English is your mother tongue. By the way where in Europe do u live ?

    • Ryan Stratton says:

      I’m from England and we tend to say the Germans, the Japanese, the Thais, the Americans, etc. After 3 years living in Japan I can’t get use to the fact they just say Gaijen for anyone not from Japan. I guess it’s just people who haven’t travelled much.

  • Charlie Shin says:

    “Even though China’s languages are the origin for Japanese and Korean”??? Do your research right.

    • katie says:

      “Do your research right.”

      …lol well it’s true

    • Wayne Wang says:

      Check your history book and you will find both Japan and Korea was a part of China. The Japanese and Korean language was developed from Chinese language.

      • Peter Kim says:

        This is totally BS. Both countries borrowed the character letters, and the koreans don’t even use them since the 13th century. I admit there’s cultural influence but that’s it.

        • orinzone says:

          I think these three different languages are depicted from a similar civilization in the ancient period.

        • Peter says:

          If you watched Korea during post-Korean wars era (not Korean movie), Chinese characters were used in the shops, street protests, even newspapers. Korean characters are only popular after 1965 because Koreans want to wash out Chinese influence. Even South Korea’s capital Seoul was changed from 漢城 to 首爾 in 2005.

          • KrysicaJ says:

            R u even a Korean?! All of my Korean friends do know that China, Japan and Korea were united as a country lol.

          • Gunwoo Lee says:

            DUDE stop that BS. Stop there unless you want to look more of an idiot. Let me ask you, if you KNOW that China, Japan and Korean had ever been united, what was the countries name?
            As a Korean view point, from around BC 2333, Korea had the land for ourselves.
            I think what you are talking about is when Chingiz Khan swept over asia and his son, over Europe. Even then, Korea was one of the few countries that remained independent and fought over 46 years where the Mongolian empire relented in the end.

  • U.O. says:

    China hates everybody but themselves and white people though (Korea too actually), so they could start by not hating everybody.

  • Fdom says:

    I don’t know what’s worse. The totally ignorant racist generalisations in the article or the blantant racism in the comments. Try writing something like this about Canadians, Americans and Mexicans and see how that goes down.

    • Nando says:

      Aside from language, there isn’t really that much of a difference between the three countries. I mean, of course, there are differences, but, aside from languages (and may not even that!), I’m sure you’ll find more differences between a person from NYC and a person from Alabama than you’d find between people from NYC, Toronto, and Mexico City. I’m not saying the cultures are the same, but they’re not tremendously different.

  • hardyandtiny says:

    Japanese smell like wasabi, Koreans smell like garlic, Chinese smell like shit.

  • Selma T. de Faria says:

    I have 4 Japanese woman friends, have met a few others in my life time, and all of them are really attractive. I’ve also been to Japan and saw many, consensually speaking, beautiful women while I was there. But above all else I also find them amazingly classy, compared to what I’ve seen in other places in Asia which I wont mention. So I seriously have no clue what you are ranting about. There will never be anything more disgraceful, sad and pathetic than a female who likes to bring other fellow females down.

  • Dale Goodwin says:

    Nobody in Japan would mistake your name (Shen) for being Japanese – you may look Japanese (which I doubt), but your name is definitely not Japanese (no Japanese names end in “n,” always a vowel).

    • Monkey Luffy says:

      I’ve just been dealing with this at work. “You can tell the difference between xxxx bollocks”
      I’m working in HK and I hear locals saying you can tell the difference looking at someone’s face weather they’re French or English. There are typical features but my guess is most of the time you cant. Worst was”it’s obvious a persons from Scotland by their facial features” oh c’mon!

      Just reread this; sounds like I’m having a go at you. Just an fyi I’m not. I just dont buy the you look like or don’t look like theories.

  • Dale Goodwin says:

    I thought this article was doing pretty good until Kelsey claimed that China’s languages are the origin for Japanese and Korean – linguists have proven many years ago that they are not related. Japanese and Korean both use Chinese characters, but that is the extent of the relationship.

  • Meeeeooo says:

    I got this korean biddy on the side. Dam she can suck a mean dick!

  • Sarka says:

    I think the tired attempt to equate or correlate Japanese culture to a specific period in Chinese culture/history is basically the attempt to try to downplay Japanese culture and a resistance to acknowlege that they are not Chinese.

    The Japanese already had a culture of their own before the Chinese began to have contact with the Japanes ein ancient times. They already had these practices like bowing or clapping after praying to their gods or before eating as a sign of gratitude for the food they were about to eat.

    Not everything stems from the Chinese. People made their own achievements and they had their own ways of seeing and dealing without Chinese involvement.

  • SS says:

    You’re right about the Tungus Manchu in Koreans

  • Ze Khong says:

    Japanese and Korea are turkishmongol orgin.while chinese is Tonal language only chineseTibetan and Burmese speak that tonal language.

    • Dale Goodwin says:

      I agree that Japanese and Korean are not related to Chinese. I don’t think, however, that Japanese and Korean evolved from the same language.

      • Monkey Luffy says:

        I’ve heard a lot of Japanese and there are a lot of spoken vocabulary that’s the same. Some words that are I hear from cantonese and mandarin are the same.

        It makes you wonder

        To take a stroll in Japanese sanbo ( if memory serves correctly)(cantonese: sanbo) is said the same in cantonese a some of the numbers also like a mix and match.
        There are lots of vocab also taken from the Japanese.
        Telephone is another; but what I’m trying to get at is the pronunciation is very very similar for the same words.
        Word borrowing from different cultures one thing but pronouncing the same written words almost the same way certainly arouses the suspicion of relationship between languages

        Just 2 examples there are many many more.

        Japanese :ken
        Canto. :kuen
        Mand. : chuen


        Jap anese: Denwa
        Cantonese: dinwa
        Mandarin: dianhua

        Is it just a case of loan words? For those that speak the canto/jap/mand/chazhouhua it’s a bit too much of a coincidence.

        Who knows.

      • Wayne Wang says:

        Check this out from Wikipedia: Through the spread of Buddhism, the Chinese writing system was imported to Japan. The earliest texts found in Japan are written in Classical Chinese, but they may have been meant to be read as Japanese by the kanbun method. For Buddhism, it says in the 2nd century CE, Mahayana Sutras spread to China, and then to Korea and Japan, and were translated into Chinese. Probably you also could conclude Japanese language is developed from Indian 🙂

        On the other hand, some Chinese texts show the influences of Japanese grammar, such as the word order (for example, placing the verb after the object). In these hybrid texts, Chinese characters are also occasionally used phonetically to represent Japanese particles. So, what’s the essential elements of language? Grammar? Character? Pronunciation?

  • Bullman says:

    Should you have a complaint about living, learning, working, playing, traveling in Korea, please share them at bullman.co.kr
    Thank you.

  • EY D says:

    Thank you for your thoughtfulness in explaining what you’ve observed in the 3 nationalities! My pet peeve is when everyone lumps us all together as “Chinese”.

    • Jessica says:

      I can totally understand. I mean, even though I am Chinese, it still really annoys me when others just go up and are like: ” Hey, your Chinese right?” Show some respect for the other East Asian Nations people. Its not just ” China”.

    • Ellise says:

      Ya like everyone is not Chinese mostly white people say that tho

  • ken says:

    I am 1/2 Chinese and 1/2 Japanese. My grandfather is Chinese, but born in Japan. But my grandmother is fully Japanese. My dad is 1/2 Japanese, and my mom is 1/2 Japanese too. I believe I like to learn Japanese and Chinese. I was raised in Vancouver, BC (Canada), so my Japanese and Chinese spoken language is weak. This is why, I would like to focus on both of the languages. I believe there are not much of a difference between us.

  • Sonneillon ソネイロン says:

    omg Hetalia

  • Craig says:

    I just returned from Shanghai and I have to say wow… The drivers are insane (moped, car, bus you name it) they will straight out push you out of the way with their vehicle. If you are standing in a line you had better defend your space as they will just cut in front of you. Male, female, old or young no matter… They are very loud too. I could never hear myself in a discussion with anyone as someone 20 feet away was basically screaming at each other. Was like I was in the twilight zone.
    I saw a moped driver cutting off a bus, the moped driver looked at me (I’m a white guy) and he was so interested in something about me that he drilled a fellow Chinaman standing in the white painted cross walk zone. Both were in the wrong. Moped was running the red light the person standing in the street was just chilling waiting for the pedestrian sign to turn green. I was yelled at for starting the whole thing. I was minding my own business standing on the curb. Quite a funny thing as a police officer with the flashing red white and blue LED light attached to his shoulder patch just kept on walking as he didn’t seem to care one way or another.
    Total culture shock for me. I have been to main land Japan and northern South Korea. I’d say for sure that the people of Shanghai are far more rude then the other two countries. Just IMO

    • Wayne Wang says:

      When you say “Chinaman”, people know what kind of person you are.

    • Bradley Temperley says:

      I was going to mention queuing and driving.
      I saw Japanese man attempt to explain the lines on the railway platform to a Chinese family visiting Tokyo. Eventually they understood where to line up and how to place luggage within the lines.
      Driving in Japan is more pleasant than it has any right to be. Despite heavy traffic, tolls every 20km, and parking lots that require incredible dexterity and zen focus, it is enjoyable and safe.
      I wonder how China and Korea compare.

    • Yifan Wang says:

      Definitely, absolutly conform the case in Beijing, I’m a native of Beijing. Nevertheless, rudeness, darkness, poingnancy, they are also part of a city, EVERY city in the world.

  • Bigleeu says:

    China lost their culture because of ruling of Manchu form 17th to early 20th century.
    The communists following stalin’s soveit union eliminated the left-over traditions.

    You can see it from the so-called tradiational clothing and that bold head with a pig tail.

    Koreans and Japanese all inherited Chinese culture from different previous era of China.

  • Bigleeu says:

    Korea inherited Ming China. Japan inherited Tang China. China inherited Manchu’s Qing (retarded China) and soviet.Union.

  • Mary Lenoi says:

    Despite reading this, i still cant tell the difference. No offence, but it seems to me that some of these nationalities behave at one point in all of these ways. I dont mean to offend anyone, im just saying my personal opinion.

    • sigh says:

      And no one asked for your opinion. Fair enough, you can’t tell the difference, but you don’t need to sound ignorant by actively saying that you can’t tell three significantly different countries apart.. I’m Asian and I can easily tell the French, Spanish and Germans apart.. And I haven’t even lived in any of these countries, I was born and raised in Korea. Just pay a little more attention. It’s not that hard.

      • Empress 32475 says:

        Wow, that was beyond ignorant, it was mean and blatantly racist in a vindictive way. Basically Mary is saying that all Asians look alike just like Moors and Maroons (so called blacks) and she doesn’t care because anyone that isn’t a Caucasoid is inferior and unimportant. Sorry to burst ur bubble ms opinionated ignoramus but no one GAF about what u think!

      • Alante says:

        Because their accents. Could you tell people from the columbia, mexico or Dominicanot Republic apart? Americans mean no offense by it, some of us don’t even know the difference between those three, we are here to learn the difference, we are trying to not disrespect anyone, we understand its rude to not know but that’s why we are looking to learn the difference

        • Juni says:

          You’re so right on. I am Chinese descendant born and raised in Brazil, but I live in North America. Whenever I go back to Brazil and talk with my husband in English, people don’t know what we’re talking and assume we are speaking Japanese as most of the Asians in Brazil are Japanese.

  • William Dugger says:

    Chinese, Japanese and Koreans are not different races. They are all Mongels all the same.

    • Bigleeu says:

      No No No. Koreans are mix of Tungus, Mogolian (which is thought to be of Tungus heritage as well), and island aborigines and Chinese. Koreans look like people from northeast China with some Tungus blood.

      Japan is a mix of Tungus, Chinese and island Aborigines. some Japanese look like people form Wu (Jiang Su and parts of Zhejiang, Anhui and JiangXi province) state of China.

  • Ryoku Park says:

    Obviously When you talk about Japanese KANJI漢字,Korean HANJA한자,IIt just make me think about they are originated in CHINESE HANZI 汉字(Simplified Chinese)漢字(Traditional Chinese).Coz the Pronunciation

  • Ryoku Park says:

    I do really admire you,If that!Now in china there are thousands of languages, thank you for giving chinese people so many different languages,coz there were all different languages ,coz different provinces in china they have different grammers!!!even they all can speak Mandarin WHAT I WANNA SAY is So many languages in China CAN’T write in chinese,coz no words to Write it ,should they make new languages?OMG Where are you from?How do you Know long-term changes in Korean and Japanese languages? Just like You dont know any asian dialectology.

  • Michele Day-Willis says:

    just from reading I think all three culture’s are beautiful. every culture has its good and bad but I love the willingness to strive to do better and all three cultures, here in America they are always top notch they are always respectable and I would love to learn more

  • Hyun Kim says:

    Man you might be needing more learning. China is not what you believe to be the China. You should separate Manchuria, Mongol, Tibet, and other more than 40 different ethnicity. Or whereas, you will conclude in the future, it is the melting pot of all the Asian cultures. Then only Koreans and Japanese are most distinctive to Chinese melting pot.

    • Bigleeu says:

      Chinese used to stand for Han Chinese, which now accounts for 90% of Chinese population.
      Manchuria is called Liao before Manchu came from Tungus and colonized China from 17th century to early 20th Century and it was called Yan even earlier. Koreans are mix of Tungus tribes such as Manchu, Mongolians, Chinese and the island aborigines. So in this sense, Korean is a melting pot. Before Mongolian came into form as a race. Mongolia was called Liaoxi (辽西west to Liao ) or Mobei (north to the desert).

  • Ashley vz says:

    Racism is everywhere, my friends. There are racist in every people group! These people are all just narrow minded and believe the things they are told. I am a white South African with many multi racial friends (even best friends). I don’t know why people must always look down on other people just because of where they are from or the colour of their skin. Racism is still a big thing in South Africa.

  • animeuser says:

    there is no difference there all of there eyes go sideways. And they all hate america.

    • Suzuki says:

      I’m Japanese, but most Japanese like the United States.

    • Marina Rose Hart says:

      man, that so that true well maybe a couple but if they hate america then they wouldn’t be living in AMERICA are learn eng, aren’t that supid

  • Luca says:

    it’s shallow how the writer just simply put Hong Kong as an example of hnebse regardless of its totally different colonized history background. Hong Kong is very westernized as a whole. they don’t even speak the same language as they do in mainland China technically. some people just call Cantonese a Chinese dialect but we have to admit that as a spoken language Cantonese is just like another language than mandarin Chinese.

    as a person having lived in the mainland and Hong Kong for years. I see great differences between mainland China and Hong Kong. I hope the writer knows that Hong Kong is not just another city in Hong Kong but a more independent place from China where people have their own passport.

  • C Jasz says:

    Japanese women are tops!

  • 郭依峰 says:

    fine i am chanese ,but my English not good ,so yo just can to google it..sory..作为一个中国人,我对于日本和韩国并不厌恶,总有一些人,他们经常发出过于激烈的言论,但是在中国,这种人并不多,所以,尽管我不是很能看明白这个文章,但是我似乎看到有一个评论说他被攻击了,假如他们伤害了你,我在这里对你们表示抱歉。(last:i am sory to you)

    • Hanley says:


  • sangos says:

    Blame it on our primate tribal DNA….ours is almost ‘almost identical’ to the apes yet the chasm between us is scary.

  • Seihe1 says:

    Likewise, there isn’t such thing as Latinos and it might be perceived as rude to refer to Spanish-speaking Americans as Latinos because it is neither a race or culture, except for those who were actually born in Latium (Italy).

    People born on the American continent are called Americans.

  • Random Guy In The Internet says:

    its racist to assume every asian is chinese tho….if u say russians are europian and u r 50% right..its also a major part in asia..and i mean major…but chinese is really easy to learn…throw several pots to the geound and it can sound a bit chinese…(coming from an asian guy living in malaysia)

  • evan says:

    I am a white american, my uncle’s wife is Korean and my cousin is half Korean. They live in Okinawa where he teaches English. I have never been to Asia but I think the Chinese that can afford to travel don’t accurately represent the people as a whole. I believe the majority of Chinese are still peasants toiling in the fields, a pious family-oriented people. No doubt the wealthier urban Chinese appears loud and obnoxious abroad, as they are now finally enjoying the success Japan and south Korea have been accustomed to for decades. As a citizen of the west, I openly admit, western is not better, and would also like to see a cultural rebirth of sorts in china

    • Bigleeu says:

      I hope China can restore their culture before it was retarded by Manchus and Mogolians.
      Korea tried their best to follow Ming China.
      Japan followed Tang China.
      You can tell this from their traditional clothes, architecture, arts and language.
      China inherited the barbarian Manchu’s Qing China and Stalin’s soviet Union.

      • Monkey Luffy says:

        If anything. I am believer that Mao destroyed Chinas culture and made it retarded with that flippin cultural revolution.

        • Bigleeu says:

          after the first century of Manchus ruling. China was already retarded. Mao and communists destroyed the leftovers. By the way, back in China, we call Communists Manchus 2.0.

      • Hanley says:

        Yes you are right. I have to say the best part of our culture were abandoned. Now we can’t find any traditional track in our daily life, traditional clothes, traditional manner, traditional opinion of relationship,etc. Everyone think he is the most powerful person and don;t be afraid to anything, they don’t respect their parents, their teacher, the older. Too stupid. It’s really a sad thing.

    • Marina Rose Hart says:

      that would actually be wrong, china was very rich in the past so u r wrong for saying that they are “loud and obnoxious abroad, as they are now finally enjoying the success Japan and south Korea have been accustomed to for decades”. By past i mean like in the ancient time so the word “decade” u use is wrong, i can’t believe all people think china is poor, if they r poor then they wouldn’t have those beautiful building from the past.

  • tomoki azuma says:

    hi mimi r u japanese? if so im dissapointed u dont take my side. whats funny is u say u can write perfect japanese. i dont believe theres so-called perfect japanese thou lol. but im curious. just show me! ill judge if its perfect. but im pretty sure u r just a nit-picky boring white. u think japanese suck at english right? I AM SOLLY FO MAY POOL SPILLING

  • vikas singhal says:

    China Korea and Japan are three beautiful country of the earth. If they solve their differences than this region can lead the world in prosperity.

  • robin says:

    i speak hokkian, when i saw korean drama the first time, i noticed so many similarities in pronouncement with the same meaning in my language with korean

    • John C says:

      For the fifteenth time, that’s because Koreans borrowed many Chinese words. It doesn’t mean the Korean language is related to Chinese. How do you say hamburger, coffee, nylon, vitamin, etc.. in Chinese? Don’t the Chinese words sound very similar to English words? Surprise!!! Does that mean Chinese is related to English? Of course not.

  • Daniel Jun says:

    Ugh. In elementary school, I was one of five Asians. Three were Chinese, one was half Japanese half white, and I was the only Korean. Holy hell, that was no fun. Oh, and did I mention all the other students weren’t Asian were white? That was no fun…
    Also, I can attest to the racism in Korean culture a little. My dad told me LOTS of hella racist things about the Japanese when I was a kid (I blame the Japanese subjugation of Korea during WW2, and my family agrees that that is the main cause of the institutionalized racism in Korean schools back in the 1970s). Every culture has idiot biggots who are simply rude people, not just Koreans or Japanese or Chinese. Although, here’s a little anecdote: during my time in South Korea, the Chinese are always the ones being loud, rude, obnoxious, and in general complete pains in the ass of both shoppers and employees. I mean, that’s just cultural differences. So yeah. We should stop saying “nation X is racist” because the fact of the matter is, every culture is guilty of some form of racism or general rudeness at one point or another.

    • Random Guy In The Internet says:

      yeah..true…but americans are for the most part the most racist country in the world…then again..”some” americans can be nice people…5% is the “some”

      • malice says:

        Actually, America is not so racist anymore! In Florida, where I live, white people are actually becoming the minority now lol… Besides; what Daniel Jun said is right- all countries come from a history of harsh racism, regardless of you want to admit it or not.

  • NOIR GOON says:

    Chinese is not a language,, its either mandarin,Cantonese and several dialects

  • John C says:

    No, people are not pretty much the same everywhere. Even in one country, New Yorkers think and act a little differently from Texans, who think and act a little differently from Californians.

    • Ryoku says:

      John i think you just read books too much !try to think about it! not just copy these languages studing from wikipedia ,we know how to wiki!

  • William Low says:

    The Japanese and Korean languages are heavily influenced by Chinese but they are completely different languages. Chinese is akin to Greek/Roman influence for the Western Europeans. The greatest influence was in Chinese characters. Since it was a pictograph, it can be pronounce in any variations the user needs it to be. My advise to Chinese/Chinese origin posters, I believe a lot of Japanese and Koreans understand that they were very heavily influenced by Chinese but many are not that happy to acknowledge this as Chinese (Mainlanders) are uncultured and looked down upon now. Economic prosperity will not buy you the respect but it is cultural mannerism, good manners and self-confidence with no arrogance and inferiority complex will win the respect of everyone. I believe it has to do with politics as well, China is now seen as the big bully in Asia exerting it’s force but not on the soft power side. Until China develops the cultural sophistication it had during the Tang, it is very unlikely any nation would want to have anything to do with China. China needs to rediscover her lost roots from Japan and Korea and also the rest of the Chinese diaspora. China is heading the right direction now, developing economically and slowly embracing the concept of western politics. China needs to learn fast, a lot of catching up to do. Until then, Do your best to be a respectable Chinese with good manners and learn the sophistication of the West. I always believe in a confident but responsible China, not a China that bullies and without culture. You did it in the past, you just need to rediscover yourself.

    • 青龍 says:

      How patronizing of you. Typical foreigner behavior. And people keep saying that Chinese tourists are obnoxious. China’s rise is inevitable now, so you gotta live with it, one way or another. Peaceful relationships can only be created by the good behaviors from all side, not just from China.

    • Marina Rose Hart says:

      yea even some of the word in japanese is chinese

  • Andy shabadoo says:

    You need some lessons in linguistics. You said, “Even though China’s languages are the origin for Japanese and Korean,
    the spoken language seems like it could not be more different.”

    Any students of linguistics will tell you that Chinese language belong to Sino-Tibetan language group and Korean and Japanese comes form Altaic language group (some linguist say language isolates). Anthropologist say Korean and Japanese language didn’t originate from Chinese. China being cradle of civilization in the far east they (Koreans and Japanes) just borrowed a lot of classic Chinese words and got influenced culturally. That explains why over 50% of Korean and Japanese vocabulary is of Classic Chinese origin (Vietnamese as well). Kind of like the way many European language that is not of Latin or Greek origin(such as English, German, Dutch etc) have many words and phrases of Greek and Latin origin. Plus Chinese is a tonal language where as korean and Japanese are not.

    That explains why Japanese and Korean sound totally different from Chinese. Before posting stuffs like this do some research!

    • Li Zhao says:

      I really wanna tell you for what you said about Chinese language is a TONAL language?Yes totaly right for Nowdays! But when Japanese and Koreans learnt that “Chinese language”in ancient that Chinese language is not a Tonal language!and i think you just wanna try to misunderstand Mandarin and Chinese.PLS LEARN MORE ABOUT HISTORY good for you

    • Julie says:

      Thank you for posting this. I cringed when I read that statement about Japanese and Korean originating from Chinese.

      • Robin Btba says:

        I speak hokkian and i can say when i watch japanese or korean movies (especially korean) i found their word pronounce and mean the same to my daily language hokkian ( one of chinese dialect )

  • John C says:

    He has written only one comment ever. Most likely this guy isn’t Korean but a Japanese guy pretending to be Korean. I don’t know why they do that, but some of them write crazy comments about Koreans while masquerading as other nationalities.

    • lio says:

      Agree with you! I’m Chinese but i think Whisok Song is a Jpnese who pretending to be a Korean,too much over!!!

  • Limyaael says:

    China has always seen itself as one very large nation. If it had regarded Korea or Japan as a part of China, then the Ming or Tang dynasties would have bothered to attack them instead of sitting around. The concept of the Mandate of Heaven was that the gods bestowed the ruling of China to the current dynasty, and when it collapsed, they had lost the mandate and had done something wrong. No successor state was acknowledged to be the true China until they had conquered all of it and secured heaven’s permission.

    The Classical Chinese never viewed Korea or Japan as a part of their nation, just as lesser tributary states (that they occasionally had to interfere with).

  • P SHeer says:

    wow, there are so many bad comments about korea… I wonder why… Im korean but Im not a racist at all! by the way I was the victim when I was traveling europe.

    And I have something to tell for everybody who thinks that theyve been treated badly by koreans. I admit that some koreans are some what rude sometimes but we are not all bad people and racist! I think its korean’s own character. even I feel a bit uncomfortable cause of some rude koreans. and the things you should know is that we koreans are really adapted to fast society. everything needs to be done quickly in here. and in my opinion, these things are the main things which made koreans rough. by the way there are bad guys in every single countries. we all know that. so dont assume that all koreans are bad cause of one or two rude dudes.

    koreans are usually paying attention to their own works, so it might seems unfriendly in the first time but once you chat or do something with them, I bet they could be your favorite friends ^^

  • Tomoki Azuma says:

    im japanese and often hear ching chong chang when i go abroad especially in european countries. they think japanese, chinese and korean are all same. they say to me nihao nihao, chino chino, china china. european people are totally ignorant about asian countries and the defferences between them. and what they always do is imitate our small eyes and mock our tiny dick. how rude! how ignorant! shame on them! i get angry at such times. its really rude to ignore where he/she is from. what if i say that americans and brits are all same? and that algentinas and chilians are all same, cuz they look all same. it makes no defferences to me. right? americans eat hamburgers every day and are all fat and rude, all have guns and kill each other every week, right?

    • Martin says:

      Damn i am from europe and i really know your feelings . People there are making fun from you (asian peple) , not all but there are some dumb asses what do that . But i really like your culture becouse i was in japan and people there are so kind and respectfull , that are thing what lot s of european people dont have . And i tell you one funny thing I am 201 cm tall and people in japan was looking at me like damn look at this tallie 😀

      • Marina Rose Hart says:

        yea, they alway say fix ur spelling n grammar, well i can write good eng when i m in the society, this is a computer world why everybody judge the writing, it so stupid, nobody know who u r, r ur live n this mostly happen to asain, what the hell, if they complain then why r they using slang word then
        this doesn’t really concern on ur comment but i feel like writing it for other

  • Whisok Song says:

    Everyone seems to have keen observations and be saying basically the right things, albeit a little biased based on their own experiences, which is understandable.
    Koreans are hell racist alright, and – how funny – only compared to people they think are from poorer countries. Koreans are materialistic to the extreme. Wealth is the only thing they judge people by. They are selfish. Very selfish. And cunning. So selfish and cunning that, when someone returns a wallet, they put it on YouTube because returning is unthinkable.
    In Japan, some department stores put umbrellas at the exits for leaving customers to borrow freely when it suddenly rains. All umbrellas are returned eventually because not returning is unthinkable. Japanese are courteous and cultured to the extreme. They would rather die than be considered rude.
    Chinese? Well, they are just loud bunches being too honest to themselves. When there are ten Chinese, there are ten of them talking.
    Yes, I (a Korean) am biased, too, and know that there are many mutant individuals in every country.

  • John C says:

    I address this above. You confuse the writing system with the language. At no point did Koreans or Japanese use the Chinese language as their own. They studied Chinese classics, to be sure, but they also had their own languages. The same way you Chinese study English today and still have your own language.

  • John C says:

    Again, you don’t understand the basic distinction between a language and its writing system. A writing system is just a writing system. Koreans actually experimented with several different versions of writing systems, which involved various modifications of Chinese characters combined with some new characters, and eventually abandoned them all and settled on a very simple writing system they developed on their own. Koreans also studied Chinese as an important foreign language, but that’s separate. At no point was the Korean language related to the Chinese language but you keep on repeating your errorneous statement.

  • John C says:

    No, you are wrong.
    1) A writing system is NOT the same as language. The Korean and Japanese languages are not related to the Chinese language at all. The Chinese language belongs to the Sino-Tibetan language family while the Korean and Japonic languages form their own language families. A writing system is just a writing system. For example, the Vietnamese use the Latin script for their writing system, but that doesn’t make the Vietnamese language related to the Romance languages.
    2) Borrowing vocabulary does NOT equal related language. English borrowed a lot of words from Latin and Greek, but the English language is a Germanic language (German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian), while Latin is an Italic language (Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese), and Greek is a Hellenic language (Greek, Macedonian). The Korean language borrowed words from Chinese in the ancient times, from Japanese during the colonial period, and from English in the recent times. You can not argue that Korean is related to English simply because they have heavily borrowed English words.
    3) Sure, you can find books in Chinese in Korean museums because some ancient Koreans read Chinese literature just as some Chinese students read English books today and some American students read French books. This happened because the Chinese culture was considered to be most advanced in the region. What you don’t seem to understand is that Koreans also wrote books in their own language. They initially used modified Chinese characters as a phonetic system, but because the Chinese characters were so poor in denoting the Korean language, Korean people developed their own alphabet highly suited to writing their own language.
    4) Sorry, Korean and Japanese cultures are NOT identical to Chinese culture. They were strongly influenced by Chinese culture, but they are also very different. I am sorry to also point out that it wasn’t always a one way street. The Chinese culture was also heavily influenced by what they considered barbarian cultures.

    • Lily says:

      Obviously you don’t know the history. Japanese & Koreans have developed their own language. You can distinguish the written language. If you read into the history, it was that way. Japanese & Koreans used Chinese characters (words). Look it up before you say anything.

  • Minhazur Rahman says:

    there is a huge and difference between Japanese,korean and chinese. chinese are very loudy. koreans are hell racist and discriminate others but less compared to white people . Japanese people are very peacefull ,polite and respectful.when they found something they give it back of who this thing belong or put it in lost item compared to chinese or korean that will take it and will never give it back of who it belongs. japanese is very clean,modernized compared to chinese or korea .

    • 오찬영 says:

      shut up! All counties are nice`!
      just it’s annoying that he is saying bad thing about Korea and China…
      Don’t think all Japanese are stupid just like him~

    • Peter Payne says:

      Koreans are VERY into respecting elders, even more than Japan. They are hardworking and always under stress to get into the right school, the right company. They are competitive and combatative whereas Japanese are like “maa, maa, maa” (a calming gesture) when someone’s fur is ruffled. Japanese want to move on from WWII in the same way America has moved on from Vietnam, but Koreans and Chinese (and to a lesser extend the other Asian nations) won’t stop beating up on their favorite straw man of history, always inventing another reason why Japan’s 44+ official apologies (source, wikipedia) are actually meaningless.

    • wangin says:

      See some videos about Koreans giving a wallet back to people on youtube. They are so respectful. Have you ever been to Korea? If you want to judge them, judge them after visiting South Korea. At least I visited Korean, that’s why I can say something about Korea.

    • flyingcod 531 says:

      Japanese are hell racist too. Not all Korean is racist. When I was in japan there were LOTS of racist people. When I went to Korea, people are very nice,loves sharing stuff. I would say Koreans are most kind,cleaned modernized people.

      • Peter Payne says:

        You say Japanese are racist, but it took me like 10 years of living in Japan to learn any negative slang word about Koreans, they are so deeply hidden away and never used. I don’t think it’d take me that long to learn rude slang words about Japanese in Korea.

        • flyingcod 531 says:

          Its going to be same. No Koreans call Japanese slang unless its little kid or something just like in Japan

          • Timurni says:

            “When I was in japan there were LOTS of racist people. When I went to Korea, people are very nice,loves sharing stuff”
            You need to work on how to lie better, kid.

  • France says:

    Hetalia!!!!!!!! <3333333333!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Noelle Davis says:

    Nice Hetalia picture.

  • Sam says:

    Perfect answer. I agree with your statement.

  • Sam says:

    You have to compare apples to apples. Comparing China to Korea and Japan is like comparing Russia to England and Germany. China is very diverse, and Mandarin is relatively a new language that went through many changes from its dynastic changes. China previously had hundreds of ethnic groups and languages, more diverse than North America. Japan as well, has had native culture that has a similar history to that of North America in which the natives were nearly wiped out.
    Uncertain about Korea’s history but you are definitely wrong in your statement that the Korean and Japanese languages are originating from Chinese language. The two are complete different groups that have no relation to each other. Literally comparing East Indians to Latinos who are both Brown.
    The similarities that you see among China, Korea and Japan are no more than globalization of East Asia in its past time. Like how many nations in the world today have some Western influence through globalization.

  • Mark Ackermann says:

    Not only that, there’s a lot of Japanese who loves Chinese culture and China in general. In fact, my girlfriend is Japanese, I live in Japan as well. And she’s studying about Chinese History, she can speak Mandarin at some level and loves Chinese pop culture.
    For me, is just about perception and what you want for your life. Most of the people, give high praises to Japan, only because they’re in love with animes, mangas or Japanese porn. The first time I said to a friend of mine I was living in Japan, he did reply to me; “why do you living in Japan if you don’t like animes?” as like Japan had anything besides anime culture. Many Japanese are offended by that in fact.

    I love here, Japanese people are very polite and their mannerism is just amazing. But I met many Chinese as well, and they was always very polite with me.
    But do not think Japanese are always all well mannered because they think that’s the right thing to do, a lot of times, they do that automatically, without think about it.

  • quinnn says:

    Even though China’s languages are the origin for Japanese and Korean, the spoken language seems like it could not be more different. -> yeah obviously may seems like it could not be more different because that ‘china’s languages are the orgin’ is absolutely wrong. you should tell the differences between the language and the letters of a country, and how they had been developed and are used. but I can tell it’s true three countries share 漢字語.

    • Kochigachi says:

      If you know how to read Kanji then you’ll know the difference. Korean/Japanese tend to use SOV even in Kanji usage when Chinese SVO even in Kanji writing.

  • John C says:

    “Even though China’s languages are the origin for Japanese and Korean,
    the spoken language seems like it could not be more different.”

    Actually, the Japanese and Korean languages are completely unrelated to the Chinese languages. Grammatical structures and syntax are completely different. Linguists generally consider Korean and Japanese as language isolates, not belonging to any language families. Some linguists have suggested Korean is related to Japanese, because of grammatical similarities, and others have suggested both Korean and Japanese as being possibly related to the Ural-Altaic language group. But there are no links whatsoever to the Sino-Tibetan languages.

    Korea and Japan did borrow the Chinese writing system, although Koreans later invented their own alphabet and in recent years have used it preferentially over the Chinese characters. Some of the formal vocabulary (usually nouns referring to abstract concepts) originates from the Chinese because of historical cultural influence, just as some of the contemporary Korean/Japanese vocabulary (usually nouns like TV, radio, coffee, computer, fashion, etc.) originates from the English because of the cultural influence of the U.S. in the modern times. However, that wouldn’t necessarily make you say that the Korean language originates from American English.

    • Carmen Young says:

      Hey buddy. I agreed that the grammar and the way of speaking of Japanese is quite different Chinese. But do u know any Cantonese or Mandarin ? Do you know what is 高麗(Korea)? Do you know the original name of Seoul is 漢城 is not 首爾 ? Do you know what does 漢 mean in Chinese ? Of course, nowadays most of Chinese are speaking Mandarin but do u know Mandarin is only the official language in Qing dynasty. In most 5000 years of Chinese history they were speaking Cantonese !!!! If you don’t trust me , go to find some Tang poem Song jambic verse and compare them with Cantonese and Korean.

      • Kev.S says:

        Chinese was originated from the north, the ancient Chinese culture and language were also from the north, the Confucianism, Terracotta Warriors, Yellow River and so on. Those cultural symbols were all created by the Northern Han Chinese. Korean,Japanese and Han Chinese are all northern ethnicities, Cantonese only exist in three cities in the very south of China, over the past 1000 years, There were several groups of Han Chinese from northern China had moved to the south and “MIXED” with the local South-east Asians in Guangdong area and trade with the South-east Asian countries, in the past 1000 years those “mixed people” were redefined into Cantonese, from their language to their appearance Cantonese are 100% like South-east Asians, and even Cantonese has the same DNA with Thai, Vietnamese, Filipinos….
        Korean and Japanese are more like northern Chinese.
        And Cantonese are definitely not mainstream culture and ethnicity in China. People know Cantonese is based on their past of British colony background and huge overseas Cantonese groups in Canada, USA, Australia and Europe.
        The average height of Mandarin people is 175cm: Cantonese:167cm
        The average IQ of Mandarin people is 107: Cantonese: 100 (Gunagdong)
        And if you can speak mandarin especially in Northern accent, you can hear a lot Japanese words and Korean words are sound similar to Mandarin

        I was born in North-eastern China, My family and I migrated to Australia 2 years ago, In Australia I can not distinguish Cantonese, Vietnamese and Thai.., They are all looks the same to me, even Cantonese language sounds 100% like Vietnamese . It’s easy for me to tell Cantonese and Mandarins apart but it’s way more difficult to me to distinguish Northern Chinese, Korean and Japanese.

      • John C says:

        고려(高麗) is the name of one of the ancient Korean kingdoms, also known as 고구려 (高句麗), which existed between 37BC and 668 AD. Later on, there was another Korean kingdom named 고려(高麗) that existed between 918-1392. What’s your point? Just because the name of the country can be written in Chinese characters (as well as in Korean characters), it doesn’t mean the people spoke Chinese.

        한성 (漢城) is the name of Seoul during Joseon dynasty period. Before that, it was referred to as 한양 and before that 양주(楊州), and before that 남경(南京), and before that 위례성(慰禮城), etc. What is your point? The letter 漢 doesn’t mean that Koreans are 漢 people.

        The Korean language has nothing to do with Mandarin OR Cantonese OR any of the Sino-Tibetan languages. Go look up linguistic family trees. Korean and Japanese are language isolates.

        Not only is the grammar utterly different, Korean doesn’t sound anything remotely like Cantonese. Cantonese is tonal and very unpleasant to listen to.

        • Peter Payne says:

          Thanks for your comments, John. You know a lot about Korea, I wish we could pull up a table and swap Japan/Korea tidbits over beers.

        • Victoria Sheung says:

          Also, we can say the same thing about Korean language, that it is “tonal and unpleasant to listen to”, because guess what, a language is not defined by the pleasantness in their “tone”, and judging from your statement, you find foreign language very much like gibberish, which is something EVERYONE, or almost EVERYONE, can say. No point found in your gibberish either.

          • John C says:

            No, Korean is not tonal. Sorry. Neither is Japanese or English. Chinese is tonal and so is Vietnamese and Thai. As a native speaker, you probably don’t find a tonal language unpleasant, but many people find tonal languages unpleasant to listen to. I think they sound kind of low class because of their shrill and harsh sounds. It has nothing to do with my not understanding the language. If you search the internet, you will find that many people share my sentiments.

          • 青龍 says:

            Lol, because people keep saying that, then it must be true, eh? You’re the living example of ignorance.

    • Paul says:

      If you know korean, you would realise there are so many shared words and similar sounding words for the same item with Cantonese, however not so with Japanese

      • John C says:

        No, sorry, there are no shared words and similar sounding words between Korean and Cantonese. What you may think are “similar sounding” words are probably the vocabulary Koreans borrowed from the Chinese but that doesn’t make the Korean language related to the Chinese language. Koreans also borrowed a lot of cultural vocabulary from English, but that doesn’t make the Korean language related to the English language. Koreans also borrowed a lot of vocabulary from Japanese as well. Korean and Japanese actually have similar grammatical structures, so it’s much easier for Koreans to learn Japanese than Chinese. However, the Korean and Japanese languages are still not close enough to be considered in the same family.

        And Korean and Cantonese do not sound alike. NOT AT ALL.

        • Paul says:

          Yes grammatically, Japanese and Korean are similar, in words not at all. I’m half Japanese, and my fiance is Cantonese and when we watch Korean dramas she says so many words are the same in Cantonese, Don’t really have a reason to lie, even I thought they had nothing in common.

    • KoreanPeninsulaMSN says:

      Koreans borrow Chinese vocabulary like English adopted Latin, Greek, German, French to there vocabulary that is about it.

  • Skyelar Raiti says:

    “Not only does Mandarin, the official standard for China, contain multiple vowel sounds for each English equivalent, but their mannerisms and personality come into play as well. They seem to raise and lower their intonation and tone increasingly, and combine consonants where Japanese or Korean wouldn’t.”

    The raising and lowering of tone has nothing to do with mannerisms and personality; Mandarin is a tonal language, meaning that pitch is part of a word, and changing a word’s pitch can change it’s meaning. A commonly given example is the syllable “ma”: 妈 mā with a high, flat tone means “mother”, 麻 má with a rising tone means “hemp”, 马 mǎ with a low dipping tone means “horse”, and 骂 mà with a falling tone means “scold”.

  • Trashorange says:

    Chinese is not the origin of Korean and Japanese. Korean and Japanese are considered as different language group from Chinese. Korean and Japanese just got influenced by written language. The way of speaking and grammar is totally different. You got that point wrong.

    • Carmen Young says:

      Hey buddy. I agreed that the grammar and the way of speaking of Japanese is quite different Chinese. But do u know any Cantonese or Mandarin ? Do you know what is 高麗(Korea)? Do you know the original name of Seoul is 漢城 is not 首爾 ? Do you know what does 漢 mean in Chinese ? Of course, nowadays most of Chinese are speaking Mandarin but do u know Mandarin is only the official language in Qing dynasty. In most 5000 years of Chinese history they were speaking Cantonese !!!! If you don’t trust me , go to find some Tang poem Song jambic verse and compare them with Cantonese and Korean.

      • John C says:

        I answered your comment above. Korean has NOTHING to do with Cantonese or Mandarin. NOTHING.

        Cantonese, Mandarin, Tibetan, Burmese, etc. – Sino-Tibetan language family
        Manchu, Siberian languages – Tungisic language family
        Mongolian, Buryat, Ordos, etc. – Mongolian language family
        Turkish, Azerbijani, Turkmen, etc. – Turkic language family
        Korean – Koreanic language (language isolate)
        Japanese – Japonic language (language isolate)

        Some linguistics have tried to link Korean and Japanese with the Tungisic, Mongolian, and Turkic language families as the “Altaic language family” spanning Turkey to Japan. This is highly controversial and not widely accepted. However, NO ONE has ever suggested that there might be a link to the Sino-Tibetan languages.

  • kmg020202 says:

    Chinese language isn’t the origin of Korean, Japanese Language.

  • disqus_eOJvt0EMMC says:

    Extremely good point made about learning/knowing other Chinese dialects, in order to see how many words in Japanese or Korean, sound the same as ones in the different dialects. I grew up speaking 3 Chinese dialects: Teochew, Cantonese, and Mandarin. When I started to learn some Japanese and Korean, it was interesting that there was so much vocabulary and even expressions that were the same exact sounds, in either one of the 3 Chinese dialects I know. People seem to look toward the written, talking about how the Japanese or Koreans borrowed/used Chinese characters. I don’t hear many people talk about the similarities in oral languages. Also wondering if the experts who say that the Japanese or Korean languages are more similar to other language than to Chinese, actually speak Japanese, Korean, or Chinese dialects.

  • GG says:

    You wrong. The most Japanese culture came from Korea. Of course, most Korean was influenced by Chinese culture. Order is China ->Korea ->Japan OK? You are skip Korea because you don’t know about Korea well. You also lack concrete historical and cultural knowledge. What the… How do Tang dynasty influenced to Japan in that time? It was took time for went to Japan from Tang dynasty because didn’t develop sailing navigation in that time. So Japanese learned to Korean what Chinese culture. Baekje and Gaya(a small countries in Ancient Korea) people went over Japan and they had propagated Chinese Character and Confucianism.

    • dinoomu says:

      Yeah you’re right Korea was an important channel through which Japan got a lot of Chinese culture/technology. But during the Tang times, a lot of the cultural importation was done through the exchange students sent by Japan to the Tang capital Chang’an. Tang court also sent people like Buddhist monks to propagate Buddhism.
      But yeah I’m sorry I didn’t mention Korea.

      • Kochigachi says:

        That’s miss understanding, Buddhism did entered Japan via Korea not directly from China. Tang wasn’t in good relation with Korean so Japanese may have taken different route to trade with Tang. Tang influence over Japan is exaggerated when most of cultural originated from ancient Korean kingdoms. It was Korean Kingdom called Baekje that influenced Japan the most from Buddhism to culture, even Japanese imperial family are associated with Baekje Kingdom.

        • dinoomu says:

          Did you learn your history from distorted and ultra-nationalistic Korean sources? Although Tang and Silla had some wars in the beginning, their relationship was soon normalized as Silla realized it could use Tang help to legitimize itself. It accepted Tang suzerainty and began mass import of Tang culture. Thousands of Korean students go to the Tang capital to study yearly and brought back Tang culture and practices. And then these practices were imported to Japan. But Japan also sent many students to the Tang capital, so it was as if Korea was the exclusive in its role of transmitting Tang culture.
          Baekche, along with the other two Korean kingdoms, were not developed civilizations, but proto-states, they didn’t have a sophisticated and developed culture like the mainland dynasty, so maybe it had some influence in early Japan when the latter was also underdeveloped, but the high culture and technology all originated from the mainland.

          • JJA says:

            in Japan, many of Koguryo, Baekje, living descendants. Japanese temples and shrines architecture and design company Kongo Gumi was founded baekje people. hiragana but came from Manyo Gana, Manyo derived from Baekje, katakana was affected by the Silla of Buddha text. Tang, song dynasty also so many influence after. Countries that have the closest genetic group, except Japan and the South Korea, the Japanese Aboriginal.

          • JJA says:

            in Japan, many of Koguryo, Baekje, living descendants. Japanese temples and shrines architecture and design company Kongo Gumi was founded baekje people. hiragana but came from Manyo Gana, Manyo derived from Baekje, katakana was affected by the Silla of Buddha text. Tang, song dynasty also so many influence after.

  • Lol says:

    HETALIA! Omfg

  • Anhkhoi Nguyen says:

    You are both wrong, how freaking sad…….
    Please learn the difference between, “Race,nationality and Ethnicity”….

    56 nationalities?……….Geez I did’nt know China was made up of 56 independent countries….
    Its 56 ETHNICITYS not nationalities or races. LOL

  • Fleur says:

    Thanks for answering, but if it’s true I’m completely baffled. Our genetics (I’m a Chinese) differ so I wonder how could anyone group the whole of East Asia under a “race”.

    • Anhkhoi Nguyen says:

      Nationality refers to the country you hold citizenship in, has nothing to do with color,race,ethnicity or culture….LOL

      Race refers to your phenotype, genetics. negroid,mongoloid,Caucasoid,Australoid….Everything else are just branches of these.

      Ethnicity has more to do with a combination of common, culture,language.

      • Sam says:

        Mongoloid is not really a Race. It’s only a Race out in the West. But does not mean they branched from each other. All humans branched off from a Homo Sapien Race. Similar looking people does not mean they are from the same branch.

  • Mapo says:

    Not to beat a dead horse, but “Chinese” is not the mother tongue to either Japanese or Korean. To my knowledge, no language spoken in China–any of which could therefore be called “Chinese”–is genetically related to them. Only the writing system was borrowed, and with it a sizable chunk of words. Today Mandarin is what most Westerners mean when they say “Chinese,” but at the height of China’s influence over the other two (please correct me if I’m wrong) Mandarin was not the dominate language of either government or area.

    Other than that glaring irregularity, good article. It jives well with my experience working with international students from all three countries at my university. Mannerisms were the biggest tell-tale. Namely, our Chinese students were usually the most snobbish (but I think that’s because most of our Chinese students were from rich families, not because they were Chinese), Korean students were the most chill, and Japanese students were the most curious. We had fewer Taiwanese students, but they were usually like the Japanese students–very curious about America and English, but sometimes shy about asking questions.

  • TanTan says:

    I’m Chinese and I have been living in Chinese Mainland until now.I’m just a senior student major in economics.But I think I’m qualified to say something about china.
    Firstly,Chinese characters belong to ideograph system,This leads Chinese character conveying a meanings rather than pronunciation.So I agreed that Chinese is not the origins of Japanese and Korean.Mandarin is actually Beijing dialect.On the other hand,Chinese character not only represents a language but the Chinese culture.
    Secondly,In term of fashion,well I think I’m unfashionable if the fashion was defined as immaculate,different people have different views.
    Thirdly,Mannerisms,Which I want most to analysis but hard to state.For instance,One people said—My Chinese student once told me that if they keep using the polite terms after getting to know people, they are considered to be “fake.” —Yes it’s true.Because be in china, the relation or favor is more useful than the laws or rules so that if you always be polite ,people might think,talk,despise,marginalize etc .Which perhaps is indigestible for you even if me,but we all know what was happening was a sickness of society and we are striving for justice and a better world.
    Chinese is full of tolerance sympathy and diversity,we never discriminate any race or minority group.

    • Ali Munevver says:

      I am Chinese and this Tan Tan is full of bull. Chinese discriminate all the time. Towards Tibetan, Uyghurs, other minorities, blacks, which they call in Chinese ‘Black ghost” and the list goes on.

    • Lars Kullberg says:

      “we never discriminate any race or minority group” Oh, really? Tibetans might disagree….

    • romi says:

      actually i want to ask one question y english in not given much importance in china, japan and korea. Even a big company ceo cannot talk in english. I am eager to know the reasons. Also am from india.

      • John Culbertson says:

        Many students *will* study English at some point in these countries, but the learning is strictly memorization and not on conversational practice and understanding. It would be like the typical American studying Spanish or French for 3-4 years in high-school. They might be able to recall a few words, perhaps even understand a little of what they read, but that doesn’t mean they have the confidence, practice, or vocabulary to be able to speak proficiently with or even understand people whom have spent a considerable amount of time around the language.

      • Maruff HM says:

        You may lost and give up your language to English instead of developing it, but please let the other people keep and develop their own language up to the mark.

      • DanyEzdn says:

        From what I understand from my readings and from my japanese lecturers, the reason why *most* japanese ceo and companies lack compentency in english is because during their time (of studying) they were instilled with the sense of loving their own language and trying to raise its merits, rather then adopting a new language with fear of losing a part of their culture (correct me if im wrong)…
        Though the new generation of japanese are starting to realize the importance of english.

        Or so im told.

  • Fleur says:

    Why can’t she identify them as races? Sorry, genuinely confused here.

  • Pike Johnathan says:

    Japanese kings of Asian countries. Considering style and grace and most of all maturity. Many Asian countries look to them as looking to a big brother. Granted each country has it’s own history culture and traditions.

    • Neongi2 says:

      Under your assumption, if it is correct, then Germany is the King of the World.

      • Alessio De Luca says:

        Japanese are the best of the three (referring to Pike’s points) and most people who have experienced the 3 will say the same thing. Race is a thing and there are differences between them

        • HanSangYoon says:

          I would say Korea is the best. My point isn’t that what I believe is the fact; its that everyone’s opinions are different.

        • Dave says:

          Aleesio I agree race is definitely a factor and there are difference between most. For example, north and south asians, or even for example, the british/irish are much more capable than the southern euros like italians/greeks.

        • Neongi2 says:

          Japanese shall do their best to ensure Gaijings remain Gaijings.

  • Neongi2 says:

    Silly arguments with baseless theories. All three nationalities are Mongoloids. We all come from Africa and had one mitochondriacal mother. Nobody came about without others existence.

  • Neongi2 says:

    Koreans and Japaneses confuse 3R’s with DNAs. The truth is that without China both their cultures would not be in their present format. They like to label mainland Chinese as loud. Well Chinese are Americans of Asia.

  • Neongi2 says:

    Koreans and Japanese are mixing up the 3Rs with DNA. Without China both their cultures wouldn’t be in their present format. They like to label the Chinese as loud. Well Chinese are Americans of Asia.

  • RichP says:

    Sentence patterns yes, the rest of the grammar no… I’m talking about more than s-o-v or s-v-o order here… You’re right, some linguists have suggested that Japanese was heavily influenced by Korean during the Three Kingdoms period, but that doesn’t mean that they have to be considered as being from the same root …. my main point though was to take issue with this sentence, “Even though China’s languages are the origin for Japanese and Korean,
    the spoken language seems like it could not be more different”, in the article, which just displays a basic lack of research.

    • Daniel Eggink says:

      Interestingly some have suggested that “Chinese” (probably talking pre-mandarin) also had an s-o-v structure and that this was indicated through the development and evolution through time of the copula 是 shi4, ‘to be’.

  • あやか says:

    just wonder.. many postings and comments on ‘differences’ among the races, are already so well-known of.. i mean what the people most seen and experienced are what already took shaped after decades or maybe centuries of historical changes. what rarely commented is their behaviour and mannerism infront of guest(s) and behind closed doors. well, i think on this part of the pie, who knows there might be some similarities among these races. let’s not jump the gun as in which race is ‘superior’ than the other..

  • PIn LuNg says:

    I’m from Taiwan lived in Japan for more than six years. Japanese and Korean languages were definitely not origined from Chinese languages.
    Yes both Korean and Japanese borrowed a huge amount of vocabularies from Chinese languages( as you probably didn’t know there’s several languages exists in Chinese languages and the difference between them sometimes are bigger than Latin languages) . But the influence of Chinese vocabularies and writing system in Japanese/Korean doesn’t make them “origined” from Chinese languages. Just like both English and German languages content huge amount of vocabularies from Latin language, and even use the same alphabet system, but that doesn’t make English or German into the Latin language family.
    Indeed, Japanese language and Korean language, share a bigger similarity to each other as well as other northeast asian languages such as Manchurian( a dying language in China) Mongolian etc, and this group of languages has a different rout from Chinese languages.

    • Neongi2 says:

      Please let’s not cloud the issue as it is alreadu confusing enough.
      China has 56 ethnic races, all with their own twangs, dialects or slangs. And each is as unintelligibly as to one another. Good Lord they have not decided to invent new writing systems like Koreans did to over-impose on their former Chinese characters. Japanese are wise to borrow Chinese characters to widen their literary world , thus enriching their poetry, philosophy and art no end, unlike Koreans. Incidentally many of these Chinese characters used in Japan today continue to retain their Chinese pronounciation.

      • Kochigachi says:

        That’s very biased comment, no wonder both Koreans and Japanese tend look down on Chinese. For them Chinese are mixed people of many races not pure as them.

      • Justin says:

        The Korean alphabet was never meant to replace Chinese; it was invented to provide the common people with a means to communicate with the government to voice their grievances in a society dominated by Literati. This in itself is far more admirable. The alphabet later became the primary means of writing due to nationalistic reasons (like the Japanese attempt to eradicate the Korean language in the latter part of the Colonial Era) and matters of efficiency in an increasingly technological era. The alphabet allows for far more accurate approximations of foreign words (unlike both Chinese and Japanese systems) and provides its own poetic and literary tricks and nuances that a non-alphabetic language would not.

        Hangeul is often touted as the most efficient alphabet in the world–Google it. It should also be noted that literacy in South Korea includes required knowledge of around 1500-2000 Chinese characters, and those retained characters in Japanese utilize the same system of “sound-meaning” that historically the Koreans created and Japanese adopted. Even the Kana systems have their inspiration in systems like Yidu that were in use on the Korean Peninsula centuries prior to the Japanese of Kana.

        Any disputes with my post can be verified with very simple research–so please conduct that research before spewing any reckless, racist nonsense.

    • primalxconvoy says:

      Although your points concerning Japanese have merit, your statement about English does not:

      – “The English language belongs to the Anglo-Frisian sub-group of the West Germanic branch of the Germanic languages, a member of the Indo-European languages.”

      (Source: – http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language )

      “However, a significant portion of the English vocabulary comes from Romance and Latinate sources. Estimates of native words (derived from Old English) range from 20%–33%, with the rest made up of outside borrowings. A portion of these borrowings come directly from Latin, or through one of the Romance languages, particularly Anglo-Norman and French, but some also from Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish; or from other languages (such as Gothic, Frankish or Greek) into Latin and then into English. The influence of Latin in English, therefore, is primarily lexical in nature, being confined mainly to words derived from Latin roots.”


    • :D says:

      I don’t know about Korean or Chinease, but the Japanese language is considered a language isolate, meaning that (although there are linguists who believe otherwise) there has been no proven genetic link between it and any other language. You are absolutley right in saying that just because a writing system was borrowed from a different language does not mean that the languages are related. I wouldn’t say that the German/English and the Latin language family is a great example though. Although English and German are Germanic languages and Latin is a Romance Language, they are related. They are all within the Proto Indo European language family.

  • Mingji Lim says:

    The China Chinese do not have the “historical culture” as you are imagining – the reason being that communist China went through the cultural revolution. Most of the manners and traditions went out of the window with the revolution – leaving the country very much cultureless and traditionless.

    What left of the cultures and traditions of the Chinese can be found mainly overseas like in Taiwan, Singapore or even the American Chinese. China Chinese are now an entirely different breed of Chinese from those Overseas.

    • Bolen H says:

      Indeed, that so call “cultural revolution” was a great calamity for China. That’s definitely the worst thing that ever happened in China, but I can hardly agree that “entirely different….”.

    • Radames Lovato says:

      Japan and Korea have copied many things from China

      • Kochigachi says:

        The name Chinese is actually referring to Khitan people, so Chinese today are using wrong name for themselves.

      • Phillip Lee says:

        but not modern culture…..Now china is copying everything from korea, they way they dress, girls wearing make up, tv shows etc.

    • Wayon C Collins III says:

      oh my god dont tell a chinese person they dont have tradition!

      • Daniel Eggink says:

        Reckon! That’s a comment that’s often bandied around far too lightly by those who don’t seem to know what they’re talking about. While the Cultural Revolution was a pivotal period in Modern China’s history. One that has indeed changed many aspects of China’s culture, to make such comments that the true China and Chinese culture can only be found outside of mainland China is simply ludicrous.
        Also the comments regarding the respective languages are not entirely true. Korean and Japanese are both thought to be language isolates. Essentially, they are not genetically derived from Chinese or related to any other language, they’re unique.
        With the Chinese vowel system, it is well balanced and features diphthongs as well as a tonal system (which is carried/observed on the vowels). Again, these are features not seen in Japanese or Korean, which is rather telling. Furthermore, where the vowels show some variation from an ‘a e i o u’ set (an arbitrary one at that) they are simply phonetically therapeutic changes triggered by an adjacent (normally prior) segment/consonant.

  • Ain says:

    Japanese people wear jeans and t-shirts. Maybe not to the office, but jeans are not as unusual as you seem to think.

  • Elias says:

    She’s confused. In the past neither Korean nor Japanese had their own writing system so they borrowed (let’s say they used) the Chinese characters to write their vernacular languages. However by no means the Korean nor Japanese languages originated from Chinese. Instead, the huge original differences between them made the Koreans to create a different writing system that would better represent the sounds and phonetics of their own language.

    • Wayon C Collins III says:

      Koreans were forced to learn Chinese, but the people didnt take to it, a king i forget his name designed a alphabet and language. Korean language has closer ties to Turkey via Mongols than Chinese

      • Sam says:

        No, that is the wrong answer. Chinese were forced to learn a new language during each of their dynastic change. Koreans used the Chinese writing. But even the Chinese writing went through many changes throughout its lengthy history. One can conclude Chinese writing that they use today is not very authentic as let say what it was 5000 years ago.
        Koreans and Japanese on the other hand have had the same language for a very lengthy time. No dynastic affected their language. This is because during the steppe peoples invasion into Northern China, their was a change and migration in Race. Where ethnic Chinese peoples were pushed South while the Northern peoples were decimated. Very similar history to that of India. How Northern India and Southern India is different.
        I would compare the Arabs, Persians, Northern Indians to what is Northern Chinese, Koreans and Japanese.

        • Wayon C Collins III says:

          That’s not what a Korean professor from Busan University told me, i’ll stick with the professor

      • Daniel Eggink says:

        I think he was a man by the name of Han gyul which the name for the script itself draws its name from (not sure if there’s a space there or not, could be Hangyul).

        • Levi says:

          Hangul (한글) was not created by Hangyul. It was created by King Sejong the Great (세종대왕-世宗大王) together with Jiphyeonjeon(집현전-scholars selected by the king).

  • kim says:

    He means chinese lol

  • Kira says:

    You are deadly wrong. Even though most Asian languages have many similar syntax and stuff, they still have their differences in some areas. The origin of the languages are not the same. We used different stuff before the Silk Road. But after the silk road. The Asian languages influenced each other and they adapt or update the syntax and the way of talking to make it easier to communicate. However, all of the languages never became one. To know the detail of the differences takes a lot of studying and explanation.
    Even now, Asian languages are taking in English words and English syntax and they’re forming the modern Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, etc…

    • Sara Greeds says:

      I am just pointing out that the grammar structure, nowadays is almost (I am not a linguistic) the same… the order of the words, the functioning of the particles, the way of making polite and impolite verbs… It can not be considered a “complete isolate”…

      • Ko-chin Chang says:

        by that qualification then so is Chinese similar to Japanese. The sentence structure is very similar in the way it is shaped.

        • John C says:

          No, it’s relatively easy for Koreans to learn Japanese because the grammatical structures are similar, but it is much more difficult for Koreans to learn the Chinese language. I would not say Chinese is similar to Japanese.

  • Irina says:

    China’s languages are the origin of Korean and Japanese? Hello? Yes, Korean and Japanese still use a lot of Chinese vocabularies and partly Chinese characters though, the ‘ORIGIN’ of these three languages are not the same. Besides, the syllabic and vowel system of Korean are not similar to Japanese. I have no idea if you have ever learned Korean or Chinese, Korean characters are phonetic, like Latin alphabet. On the other hand Japanese has syllabic alphabet, which is systematically quite similar to Arabic.

    • Stick says:

      Im Korean . I agree Irina’s Opinion . I Know Chinise words 3-7 only . For Korean . chinese orgin word is usless . And we do not respect Chinese’s Savage Noise Lan. Its all

    • kon says:

      I totally agree with you. Chinese language isn’t origins of Japanese. Japanese just borrow Chinese characters.
      I studied Japanese language as Japanese, comparing other foreign languages,
      and now I’m learning Chinese, so I can say that.

    • boohoo says:

      Well I am a Korean and I believe that the expression “origin” can be used. Although we had our own unique language just as the Japanese, it is really hard to keep the language that we are using now if we do not include the part that has its origin from mandarins. If you have ever learned mandarin you will be shocked how many vocabularies (not just for directing sth but even grammatical vocabularies too) Koreans use is all from mandarin. Of course its usage or pronunciation may have changed alot from the original, still its most basic meaning is kept. It is like Latin for English. The two are totally different language but you can never say totally NO to an assertion that Latin has some roots of English.

    • Tom Klein says:

      Arabic has a phonetic alphabet, just like Latin.
      Consonants and vowels are represented by separate phonetic letters.

      I don’t know of any syllabic language other than Japanese.

      (Source: I studied Arabic for 6 years in school)

      • kelli321 says:

        Maori (from New Zealand) is quite syllabic. So are a lot of Polynesian languages.

      • Irina says:

        I have learned Arabic and I have majored philology at the university. Well, I admit that I didn’t use a proper linguistic term for it, it is still, however hard to say that Arabic alphabet is so-called phonetic alphabet which is judged in linguistic. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abjad

      • Aly Gamal El Din says:

        Yes , Arabic is a phonetic language , Ancient Egyptian or Coptic (extinct language) is a syllabic language and I think Italian too is syllabic not sure though

        • Daniel Eggink says:

          Italian uses the Romance script or our ABC alphabet so that’s the technical term for it, an alphabet. All spoken languages are by the same virtue phonetic. The phonotactic structures of some such as Japanese and Chinese do mean that you have a majority of what we call open syllables. Syllables with no consonant after the vowel.

  • Miranda says:

    I live in Australia and I remember how a bunch of Japanese school girls were laughing on the quiet buses -_- They seemed REALLY excited in whatever they were talking about…

    • Rika M-Park says:

      I live in Australia and I remember how a bunch of Australian school girls were laughing during class. They seemed REALLY excited in whatever they were talking about.

  • Sara Greeds says:

    I will say… when I went to Japan, while doing turism I found out that the rude people around me (the one’s that would make the whole line wait because they were filling their bottleS of water in the place to clean your hands/mouth in a Jinja, the one’s that spoke loud inside the religious places, that pushed the people, etc…) they were always chinese, it doesn’t mean that there weren’t chinese around that were behaving nicely, and, therefore, unnoticed. But I have to say too that my Taiwanese friends they always behaved nicely, weren’t loud and always tried to be polite; also they were always nicely dressed, a few of them cared more about what they wore than the others… but I guess that happens everywhere… So… I came to the conclussion that Taiwanese are very much different than the rest of chinese (I know… they are not chinese xD) that I have met… but I also met a lot of chinese people back here in my country (they own a lot of stores…) and… they are rude too…

    • Chris Shitateya says:

      I agree, that Taiwanese are rather calm, compared to chinese. But in fact, I think it’s just a more emotional culture, than the japanese one. In Germany, we usually recognize people from Southern Europe, America, Russia etc. because the way they talk is more colorful and intense and contains more gestures. Some people might regard such behaviour as rude, but for me it is mostly just a different culture… Germans might be seen als cold, hard-minded or boring for not behaving such colorful and passionate.

  • Pavlos says:

    To reiterate what others have said, neither Korean or Japanese languages evolved from any Chinese dialect. Both are language isolates, but probably share a common ancestor somewhere along the way.

  • Jeroen Pospiech says:

    Living with a housemate from Hong Kong the part about Chinese people speaking very loud becomes very clear. Though I can’t understand a single word of Chinese, I can somewhat understand the way its spoken as she pronounces her syllables very poorly, whereas she pronounces the vowels a lot more. This would suggest to me that the Cantonese (which I believe is a Mandarin dialect) which she speaks back home would involve a far more complicated and important pronunciation of the vowels whereas the syllables carry far less importance.

  • Chinese (land) people often spit (with or without meaning). When you compare KungFu movies to Samurai movies, Chinese people seam to be more hectic and the Japanese people raised pauses (in speaking and movement) to an art form.

  • RichP says:

    Just on a language note…. Korean is considered by most linguists to be a language isolate. Though it does take a large number of loan words from Chinese, it’s grammar and syllabary are totally unrelated to Chinese or Japanese.

  • Shady Shita says:

    The writer of this article makes china sounds bad , which is not entirely wrong , but I’m pretty sure there’s good and bad in each country

  • kelsey says:

    Oh your English is great! And I really understand what you’re saying, thank you for the information. That’s very good to know!

  • Pengxin Chen says:

    As a chinese, I admit the object fact that Chinese people are noisy and old-fashioned relatively. Material determines consciousness. After all, China is not so developed as Japan and Korean, so I think some shortcomings you mentioned is largerly attributed to the economy and social formation rather than the simple word of “RACE”. Sometimes I feel ashamed but I believe Chinese people are trying to ged rid of these bad habits. One day, Chinese economy will get much better and GDP Per Capita will not be forty years behind of Japan like today, and by that time you will find Chinese people are not so bad.

    BTW, Chinese fashions are not so weird and language has nothing to do with the flaws appear today.

  • You have blatantly grouped and generalised the Chinese.

    If you are to talk about the “Oriental” Asians. Please make sure you separate the 3 distinct Chinese nationalities which are Chinese (Hong Kong), Chinese (Taiwanese) and Chinese (Mainland). There is a distinct cultural differences between the Chinese people from those 3 regions. And lets point out that NEITHER of the 3 groups of Chinese people appreciate being generalised either.

    Your experiences in HK is a mix of Mainland and HK Chinese, you couldn’t even tell the difference between the two as you clearly generalised your “Chinese experience” in HK. You need to visit Taiwan, and Mainland China up far north.

    The Japanese and Koreans language was heavily influenced by the Chinese language. That would be a more correct statement instead of saying that the Japanese and Korean language originated from Chinese.

    • Sam says:

      And the Chinese language was influenced by even more diverse groups. The origin of Chinese is unclear due to this reason.

    • Davy Crockett says:

      You may want to add Singapore Chinese and the Chinese expats many several generations removed from the Mainland in many countries throughout Southeast Asia.

      • Fleur says:

        That, and like every other Chinese community in the other parts of Asia. I can’t speak for the others, but Chinese in Singapore generally we identify ourselves as “Singaporean” and not Chinese.

    • chocolate says:

      “And lets point out that NEITHER of the 3 groups of Chinese people appreciate being generalised either. ”

      This statement only holds true for people in HK and Taiwan. Most Mainland Chinese consider the 3 groups as the same nationality and do not mind being generalised.

    • kelsey says:

      This is true as far as grouping the Chinese, however I had to use the common terms used overseas (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) to make things clear for people who have no background in the subject. Otherwise, I would need to distinguish between mainland and Okinawan Japanese, North and South Korean, and so on. Those would be some good facts for a more detailed article.

  • davebizz says:

    Agreeing with Uno H. Yi … As far as I know, the root of the Japanese language is still unknown.

    • zhu xuejiao says:

      i think it is clear that a part of Japanese from Chinese. Such as kanji. Japanese had their own language themselves, but they could just speak but didn’t have something to record it until they found the kanji.

      • Davy Crockett says:

        Japanese, like many languages in Asia borrowed Chinese words as a matter of doing business over the centuries. But it should not be confused with origins. Japanese, Korean and Ainu most likely came from a proto-Altaic language (think Mongols and other tribes spreading as far as Turkey) while Chinese is a Sino-Tibetan language. Even within Chinese, it is amazing how different Mandarin and Cantonese (common Hong Kong dialect) are and as I understand it, are for the most part mutually unintelligible.

        • Daniel Eggink says:

          Yes, mostly mutually unintelligible. Mandarin which is the “Chinese” that most mean when they say “Chinese” (which is in itself more a geographical term of reference than a linguistic one) is actually a relatively new “Chinese” language with respect to the other languages currently spoken in China.

  • Kira says:

    Taking Chinese characters in into the native language is common for Asian languages because it makes things faster to write or to say. It doesn’t mean all Asian languages came from Chinese. Han character became well-known after the reformation of the Han Dynasty and the Silk Road. China traded with all Asia and Han character came into the neighbor countries. They were fascinated of how fast it is to write with Han character. That’s why they adapted it into their languages. In Japanese, Kanji replaces a lot of long words and make writing faster by 40%. It’s the same thing for Korean, Vietnamese, etc.. You really need a lot of cultural and history lessons.
    Do you even study Japanese? Japanese words don’t end with “ん”, it’s just a speaking habit to add that at the end of a few words. All adjective end with “い” or “な”, all verbs end with “る”. And “な” or “る” ain’t vowel.
    Chinese doesn’t combine consonant. It’s just your thinking. In Chinese, there are only classifier and the classified words. Romanized pinyin is created after the westerner came to learn Chinese. In fact, the pinyin for a word is “one word”. It isn’t a combination of consonant and vowel like English.

    • Hush says:

      I can agree with you for the most part except about the Japanese words don’t end with “ん” part.

      There are plenty of words that end in “ん”. Most are nouns like ‘yuubin’ which is post/mail, ‘seigen’ which is limit used with ‘sokudo’ to make the word speed limit, and ‘ichiban’ which means best/first/number one and is used a lot and is not in your typical adjective/verb conjugated ending.

      Other words: 剣/ken (sword), うどん/udon (type of noodle) ミカン/mikan (an orange), 画面/gamen (screen), and 来年/rainen (next year).

      There are plenty there if you look for them 🙂

      • Kira says:

        Let me rephrase that. Not all Japanese words end with “ん” or vowel like the article said it to be. Some “ん” added at the end of a word like suru n, hoshii n, nakatta n, etc are just result of the speaking habit.

        • Hush says:

          And I don’t disagree with this statement. 🙂
          Of course there their are going to either end with ‘n’ or a vowel because that is the way their language system is set up.
          Was just merely pointing out that your original statement wasn’t entirely correct either lol

  • burythesystem says:

    I would like to share some of my experiences. I have lived in Japan over 10 years, and Korea for 4. In that time, I found Korean culture to be extremely obnoxious. Every Korean male believes he is the most important person on the planet, and acts accordingly. It was a horrible experience to have lived in Japan for 8 years and then to have moved to Korea. Thankfully, I am now back in Japan. Suffice it to say, Japan and Korea, while close geographically, are a universe apart where it comes to customs and culture.

    • Shady Shita says:

      Too bad for you , Korea is amazing country

    • Albert Graves says:

      What, did you feel emasculated in Korea? That’d be your own problem.

    • skittlesgloves says:

      Well then wait till you go to China and try living there.

      Ok- I know I really shouldn’t be slamming down a country by generalizing it, but c’mon, you are literally doing the same. An ‘extremely obnoxious’ culture/country to you may be a beautiful amazing culture to others.

      I can see how you’d think Korea is not as ‘sophisticated’ as Japan, but it all correlates with its economic and social development. As much as Koreans may not seem all that sophisticated to you, they also share the love and care for others, aka 정(情).

    • kim says:

      Hehehe. Its different from case by case, but i know what you are talking about, especially if you lived in Japan for ta while and expected somethings similar about japan. One of the big cultures is that Koreans (no matter if u r North korean, south korean or koreans in china who has not been to korea for couple hundred years) they love their alchohol, and some become “dogs” when they are drunk. And yes. I am.the most important person on this planet lol, im just kidding.

    • baki says:

      To bad for you, I’ve had a good experience in Korea.

      • burythesystem says:

        I also had a “good” experience on the occasions that I visited Korea for a few days at a time prior to moving there. It is a completely different thing to live in Korea for 4 years. I witnessed and/or experienced some of the most rude behavior imaginable.

  • grasya says:

    very interesting.. I would like to observe what you have observed once I go visit that part of the world.

  • アンナ says:

    Unfortunately with that sentence so early on, it threw me off… so it was quite hard for me to remain unbiased when I continued to read.
    And no, the Japanese language doesn’t originate from Chinese, however Kanji characters were borrowed in from Hanzi.

    • robdog says:

      I wouldn’t be so sure about that.. I was taught by my professor in Japanese (also a native speaker) that most of the language does actually originate from the Chinese language. I say most because hiragana were modified ‘quicker’ ways of writing commonly used Chinese characters and you can see a close (or sometimes identical) resemblance in certain Chinese characters and every character in the hiragana. Kanji goes without saying.

      I don’t recall whether katakana was derived from Chinese characters, but I do recall that it was ‘invented’ for foreign borrowings, which leads me to assume that katakana was not a derivation from Chinese, but rather something ‘made up’ by the locals during their period of contact with the West.

      • Davy Crockett says:

        Part of the confusion is that there are many theories on the origins of Japanese, Korean and Ainu. The consensus points to an origin as part of the Altaic languages whereas Chinese falls into the Sino-Tibetan group. While there are many borrowed words probably as a consequence of centuries of trade, there are many aspects of grammar that make Korean and Japanese very different from Chinese.

      • Tams80 says:

        Katakana was derived from hiragana. Most katakana are similar to hiragana, but are more angular and use more straight lines.

  • Schroeck says:

    i understand why you didnt mention the difference about the attitudes of Chinese, Koreans and Japanese. well let me enumerate. Im not racists or whatever they call it but on my experience, i find Chinese people the most rude and have no good manners in public. They dont even know how to say excuse me or im sorry and they are the most dishonest among the three. They are the most loud people i know. Koreans or the other hand, are racists people. they are i think the most dissatisfied people in terms of their looks (in korea plastic surgery is normal thats why you say a lot of cute girls, beautiful and sexy, but most are fake) and they smell the most bad among the three races. Japanese on the other hand are the kind people. even if they dont like you there still respect that you receive from them. They smell good and very industrious. However, among the three races, there are lo of Japanese that so called, OKASHII ATAMA, means, it could be lazy or crazy people that i found a lot even inside the train.

    well, these are just my observation, my experience meeting some chinese, koreans and Japanese, but it does not refer to them as a whole.

    • kim says:

      Heheh you must have lived in japan first lol.
      It is quite true that japan is the most polite out of the three, generally speaking. And that i think koreans are one of the most racist people(it could b that they will like u on the basis of ur race) on this earth which i believe has some historical backgrounds i wont go into (search for how many wars were fought with/ by other countries in korea from 1800 ~ 1960s.) and it is somethin we have to work on. And china is developing right now. They are going through what the other two countries already have been through.
      In the other you can see mannerism in the other way, closedness. Japanese are quite shut. U can even see it by the language they use. They can put a lot of distance between people by using the polite terms, same with korean, but bit less. Then there is chinese. My chinese student once told me that if they keep using the polite terms after getting to know people, they are considered to be “fake.”
      Plus Although u had those diclaimers, i would perceive u as a racist. There was poison and bitterness in your words and i believ these thoughts of urs will not not affect u , when u r meeting a new east asian.
      Chinese and koreans hate japan, and japan probably hates china and not in favor of KOREA but we arent to hate individuals. Some do, but most just accept the others as long as they do not cause conflicts.

    • Jojo says:

      I like how you said you weren’t racist, but then proceeded to say racist things. You are comparing these cultures against your own. What may be rude to you, may not be rude to others. Similarly, what may be normal to you, may be rude to others. I’m sure there are many many things you do that are considered rude to other cultures.

      • Schroeck says:

        have you read my disclaimer on the last part? those arent racist comments from me. my observation is based on the general standard on what is proper and what is not. we can only speak truthfully based on our experience im not comparing them to my culture either.

        • Jojo says:

          The “general standard of what is proper” and what is not is determined by each individual culture. Being loud may be rude in yours, but polite in theirs. Just like eating with your hands may be rude to them but normal to you. It seems you are biased without even knowing it.

        • Davy Crockett says:

          What defines the general standard of what is polite and what is not? I tend to go with culture as determining the standard. Through Western eyes, it may be impolite to ask how much something costs, whereas in China, it’s not rude. I can give a clock as a gift in the US, but it’s a little offensive in China. To a Westerner, I may ask how your wife and children are doing, but to an Arab, it would be very rude (you may generally ask about family, but not specifically about the women of the family). The tighter the confines, the less likely you’ll find someone who is polite by the Western norm–take the trains and train stations in China, Korea or Japan: If someone bumps into you, don’t expect an “excuse me”, but it’s not uncommon for someone to not only tell you how to get to the correct platform, they may actually walk you to it. You may also find people in Asia wearing surgical masks in public, not to protect themselves, but to keep from spreading their cold to everyone else. Korean men may seem like assholes to some, but I was surprised to find how normal it was to see drunk Japanese businessmen urinating in public while I lived in Japan. Don’t even get me started on Japanese tourists in Guam, Saipan, Hawaii and Thailand–they really let their hair out and behave much differently than they would at home, although I liken it to the ugly European tourist phenomenon frequently seen throughout Southeast Asia. Also, to say that the Japanese are not as racist per se is a complete lack of understanding of the dynamics of the culture. Even when I lived in Yokosuka, the Mikasa Mall side of blue street was okay for non-Japanese to patronize, but cross the street and enter many of the bars or restaurants (pachinko parlors were okay) and it became clear that gaijin were not welcome. It was even more prevalent in some districts of Tokyo. Add in the immigration (or lack of) policies of Japan as a whole and even the ethnic Koreans who grew up Japanese that still aren’t fully integrated into the society and one definitely sees a darker side to all that politeness.

          • Schroeck says:

            man you are definitely talking about cultural terms. let me say for example, throwing garbage whenever you wanted to, spitting on someones face or taking a shit in front of strangers. If your talking about cultures then you are right, each countries has its own standard culturally but i bet the things i mentioned as an examples are definitely a no no to anywhere in the world if you know what i mean. Let us not complicate of what is wrong and right in terms of the cultural structure coz it varies from country to country. Just look at this example, each country has its own laws, and there is this United Nations, which has standard laws in the international community that has to be followed by each member country.

  • Santtu Kähkönen says:

    I liked the fact that you mentioned that these were just your own opinions and not facts. I would however like to point out that there are quite a many things here that isn’t quite true or accurate outside a very subjective view. The most blatant thought is the claim that Japanese and Korean languages originate from Chinese languages, which just isn’t true.

    Also I’d like to suggest talking about these 3 different Nationalities instead of 3 races… for obvious reasons

    • Limyaael says:

      While the three languages aren’t related, their writing systems are. Before the importation of hanzi, Japanese had no written language and developed the kana from man’yogana only after kanji became a staple of Japanese.

      I’m not as familiar with Korean, but they used hanzi for a while until Sejong invented the modern Korean syllabary, but (I think) they still use hanja (Korean for hanzi) sparingly in modern Korean.

    • Kira says:

      Actually, Chinese Han Dynasty developed the Han character. And with the Silk Road, China open trade with the neighbor country and Han character became well-known. Most Asian countries replaces their words with Han like Japanese replace Hiragana with Kanji to make writing faster. Saying Asian language came from Chinese is totally wrong.

  • Uno H. Yi says:

    i dont think its correct when you say, “china’s languages are the origin for japanese and korean.” chinese language is like deutsch language or french for english. but i doubt you would say english itself is rooted in deutsch. if you thought about the syntax system about the three languages, it will be even more clear. korean and japanese syntax is pretty same but the two languages system is totally different from chinese. chinese is more similar to english actually as far as the grammar goes. you might wanna make sure about it.

    • Standardmjolk says:

      I would say that culturally and scientifically, in Asia, Chinese is to a great extent what Latin has been in Europe. There are so many loan words, that have been internalized in the other languages. Even the number system (side by side with native systems).

    • burythesystem says:

      Actually, Uno H. Yi, English is a Germanic language and IS in fact rooted in German.

    • Cécile Synitch says:

      I think he was talking about the alphabet. Actually Kanjis for Japan and Hangul for Korea takes source in the origin of Chinese characters. And When you study Kanji in Japan, you’ve got 2 pronunciations, the japanese of, and still, the Chinese.

  • Tora Chan says:


  • Lukas Meza says:

    with time i have learned to distinguish a Japanese person every time i see one, they are very different from the Chinese, the japanese language is really particular too and easy to identified once you have seen a lot of anime hahaha

  • Susukino says:

    Nice article, and its quite easy to see. Especially if observing tourists. Chinese are as you say the loudest, and also by far the rudest ( but I know you can’t mention that in ur blog), pushing and expecting others to make way because they actually PAID to get there, which is the extreme opposite of the Japanese, who are most likely the least rude tourists.

    And you are right about fashion too, and although you don’t say it directly, its easy to see that what you really mean is that the Chinese in general dress more ugly=) Which is correct, and sometimes u can tell even by their clothes that they most likely are Chinese.

  • Roland618 says:

    Thanks for sharing this good info



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