Why did the WWII Japanese caricature always have bucked teeth?

This is an odd one, because although Japanese teeth are just as bad as British teeth, bucked teeth doesn’t particularly stand out as a problem. I’m sure someone could write/ has written a whole PhD thesis on this, but here are my theories: That classic Eastern racist anti-hero Fu Man Chu was always portrayed with bucked teeth long before Japan became the biggest yellow peril, so it could have been transferred straight from the Chinese as the Japanese became the biggest threat both in California and in the Pacific. Alternatively, it could have started as a caricature of one particular person that then spread. The whole fact that teeth was such a factor could be due to the caricature coming from America, home of the good teeth obsession.

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1 Comment

  1. graham said,

    January 13, 2009 at 11:22 am

    There are many Japanese stereotypes, some are true, others are more contrived to suit non Japanese impressions
    http://japansugoi.com/wordpress/stereotypical-japanese-characters-by-peter-machat/


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