Strange title no?
What is Chinese bun hair you ask? For those of you who watch anime, you should know EXACTLY what I'm talking about. In anime it is extremely easy to pick out Chinese female characters because the all look like Chun Li from Street Fighter!
|Chun Li (Street Fighter Alpha) - she's got another bun on the other side too.|
So yes ALOT of Chinese female characters in anime sport the "double bun", but I honestly have no idea where this stereotype came from! How many Chinese people have you seen wearing their hair like this? Think back... OH! of course! Kung Fu period dramas! But wait a second... those take place in the PAST! Alright, so though I may be an East Asian studies major, I'm not really an expert on Chinese hairstyles. However, I would venture a guess that its been at least over a hundred years since this hair style was popular in China, and it seems that it was predominantly a children's hairstyle. Alright so, how come a good majority of the fully grown, modern, female Chinese characters in anime rock this hair style? Stereotyping! Yes I've said it! Anime has MAD stereotyping, but I think we tend to let it slide cause its made largely by Japanese people. Now I know Japan is mostly a mono-culture so this sort of ignorance is somewhat understandable. It's not so much that stereotyping in anime is especially evil, I mean, American and European animation feature tonnes of stereotyping as well.
The problem with stereotypes is that they often have their roots in reality to some degree. For example let's take the statement "Indian people like curry". Well its fairly obvious that a lot of Indian people eat curry. When I go to India town in my city, it's the first thing I can smell. So by deductive reasoning, this place smells like curry -> Indian people live here -> Indian people must cook with curry -> Indian people must like curry! Thus we can see how some stereotypes are rooted in reality. However, anime is full of stereotypes that don't make any sense!
|Scene from Code Geass featuring "The Chinese Federation"|
Let's look at this example from one of my favorite animes, Code Geass (this anime deals with the future fictional colonization of Japan by Great Britain, which is REEEAALLY interesting because Japan once tried to colonize Asia after the Japan-Russo war). On the right we have a rag-tag group of Japanese freedom fighters. They look pretty modern eh? On the left he have "The Chinese Federation", these people are supposed to represent China's governing body, in the future... BUH?! ARE THOSE EUNUCHS? ARE THOSE SOLDIERS CARRYING STAFFS? WHA?
Yeah so, as we can see, in the future, China has stopped messing around with all that quazi-communist nonsense and has reverted back to a monarchy. China hasn't been a monarchy for over 80 years. It doesn't make sense! Now you might be saying "Big deal, its ONE anime!" But it's not, there are tonnes of animes that depict China as being this old, backward, monarchical society, run by scheming eunuchs and child emperors, even in modern times... It's DUMB! Remember that whole cultural revolution thing? Yeah, that happened! ...and it sucked! So anime, let's have some realistic representation!
There are tonnes of these bizarre stereotypes in anime. Some appear to be relatively harmless, but some are just ridiculous. If your making a fantasy anime I suppose it doesn't matter so much, but if your anime takes place in a real-world setting, your kind of sending a strange message to the viewer. There are some pretty gullible people out there who will believe that China really this traditional, feudal society, if you tell them. And don't even get me started on the crazy Korean, South East Asian, American, and European stereotypes prevalent in anime. Cause if I did, this post would be 5 times as long! Anyway, its something to think about as you watch your favourite animes!