But Not Too Foreign

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Foreign characters may pop up in fiction, but often regular characters who are not native (to the country the work is set in) tend to have native ethnicity somewhere in their family. Or possibly were born in the native country, but raised in another country, and have recently come back. This trope, while featured in media across the world, is particularly prominent in Anime and Manga in Japan.

Part of this probably stems from the actual ethnic homogeneity of a country, especially in Japan where foreigners really do make up only about 1 percent of the country. Their name will also have an obvious foreign sound to it even if it doesn't sound real. Assuming this character was raised overseas, it's notable the character who is Not Too Foreign will rarely speak another language on-screen even if they are supposed to be fluent. This is often an artifact of a manga-to-anime transition: a text translation can be passable, while voice actors end up totally mangling it. How much an actor is allowed to speak tends to reflect more on their personal fluency.

In anime/manga, the non-Japanese ethnicity is usually German. "American" as an ethnicity is also popular, though the actual ethnicity of the American is usually caucasian. If, and that's a very rare if, they're black, they will probably come from America. British and French are also popular too, relying on people to think "He's British? Must be sophisticated and smart." or "He's French? How romantic!" The occasional Russian, either ex-military, mafia, or often both, will also pop up.

But Not Too Foreign often pops up as the result of creative types trying to appeal to the people of their homeland with the sense that he or she possesses a connection to their culture despite being partly foreign, and thus perfectly okay to empathize with. See also Non-Specifically Foreign.

Some examples can be non-native, due to the thousands of races in the world, and we don't just marry people of the same race anymore. Compare But Not Too Black and Halfbreed. May also overlap into Twofer Token Minority. Overlaps with Plays Great Ethnics in Real Life.

Examples of But Not Too Foreign include:

Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Eleanor "Erina" Mercer from Kensoh Ogawa's H-manga Honey Blonde was born to English parents, and fits the "Gaijin Girl" stereotype (large chest, tall, blonde as per the series title) as far as appearance is concerned. However, early in the first chapter, it's established that she is "completely Japanese on the inside," albeit with particularly bad performance in English class. Mostly, this is due to her having sex instead of studying, though her usual partner doesn't have any trouble at all.
  • One of the three titular characters in Adolf is half Japanese half German, another is the Japanese-born son of Jewish German parents who considers himself Japanese. The third is, well you know...
  • Rally Vincent of Gunsmith Cats is an unusual case in that she's half English and half East Indian, though whether her father was from Pakistan or India itself was never made clear. This actually makes her a Token Twofer in Japan But Not Too Foreign in Chicago where the series is actually set. AND they significantly lightened her skin tone for the anime, making her Not Too Black as well.
  • All the JoJos introduced from Part 3 to Part 6 in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure are at least part-Japanese and part-British. To wit:
    • Jotaro (Part 3) is one quarter "American", one quarter British (from his grandfather Joseph, the JoJo from part 2) and half-Japanese.
    • Josuke (Part 4) is half-British (from Joseph, not that it's impossible...) and half-Japanese
    • Giorno (Part 5) is half-British (From Jonathan's body with Dio's head on top), half-Japanese and culturally Italian.
    • Jolyne (Part 6) is Jotaro's and an Italian-American woman's daughter.
  • Asuka Langley Soryu from Neon Genesis Evangelion is German and Japanese, and occasionally drawn in promotional materials as a blonde instead of a redhead. The North American and Mexican dubs pad this out with dialogue that occasionally includes German expletives and exclamations. A handy conceit of the show is that Asuka is "part-Japanese", explaining her Japanese name, but she's really only a quarter Japanese because her mother was half Japanese. She's from Germany, speaks German as her native language, considers herself German, and everyone else does too.
    • In the original, she speaks German once, while on the phone with her adoptive mother. Even to people who speak neither language, the German carries an obvious Japanese accent.
      • Maybe only once at length, but she peppers her dialogue with the occasional German word or phrase—such as her "Guten morgan!" exchange with Shinji when she first arrives at his school and later her battle command, "Gehen!" (which doesn't seem to confuse either Shinji or Rei but which the English dub translates to "Let's go!" or something).
        • Humorous, since an actual German would either say "Los!" or "Geh schnell!" or something. "Gehen" isn't conjugated and would usually not be used in command form like that.
        • She actually only speaks German words specifically those times in the original dub; compared to the massive amount of German lines Asuka gives in the English dub.
      • Actually, she speaks in German "at length" twice. When Shinji and Asuka are in Eva 02 together for the first time, the Eva's thought interface language is set to German, and Asuka goes through the usual startup sequence and checklist in German. It's quite painful to listen to, even to someone who doesn't know the language. The Eva fails to start supposedly because Shinji isn't thinking in German, but more likely it just didn't know what the hell she was saying.
    • An additional trait mentioned is being 'American', though this may have less to do with living there simply cuing the audience to expect a loud and bombastic girl.
    • Asuka is actually 25% Japanese, 25% German, 50% "American". Her mother's name (half Japanese half German) is Soryu Kyoko Zeppelin. Langley is her father's name.
      • Anybody who knows the origins of Asuka's full name will also spot some fun Just for Pun. In Evangelion, there's Theme Naming with famous precursor aircraft carriers of World War 2, all of which met ill-fated ends. Soryu was Japan's first purpose built (fleet) aircraft carrier, famous for being sunk at the Battle of Midway, Zeppelin was the name of Germany's first aircraft carrier which production was stopped at 95% completion and scuttled, and Langley was America's first aircraft carrier which was sunk in 1942 (though it was a seaplane tender by then).
      • Of course, this is all rendered moot by Rebuild of Evangelion, in which Asuka's last name is changed to Shikinami (which was still a ship, just not a carrier)...
      • Rebuild also introduces Mari Illustrious Makinami, part-British and part-Japanese.
  • Ana Coppola from Ichigo Mashimaro is British—specifically, from Cornwall—but hides the fact she is culturally Japanese. That her name sounds Italian is probably lost on the author, since it's just an excuse for a Running Gag pun.
  • Many of the most popular characters in the Sakura Taisen series are at least half-Japanese, although they're otherwise from all over the place. Maria is Japanese/Russian, Orihime is Japanese/Italian, Hanabi is Japanese/French (though she looks more Japanese than at least half the full Japanese characters in the series), Gemini is Japanese/American...
    • In Hanabi's case, the reason is a little different than usual for this trope: Sakura Taisen 3 takes place in France, so her mixed heritage is used to explain why a teenage Japanese girl would be living in France. Likewise, Gemini is half-Japanese to (sort of) explain the presence of a Texan samurai in New York.
  • Momiji Sohma from Fruits Basket is half-German and fluent, though this is left out of the anime.
  • In Sister Princess, Haruka is half German, Yotsuba is half British, and Aria probably is French.
  • Freesia Yagyu from Jubei-chan 2 is half-Russian and fluent, though her voice actor does a passable job.
  • Cyndi Manabe in Best Student Council is a redhead, glib Huge Schoolgirl who spoke mainly in fragmented English, when she spoke at all. She was apparently discouraged by her American mother who does speak Japanese but, to continue the gag, has extremely bizarre sentence construction.
  • Ritsuko Kettenkrad (Student Council President) from Kujibiki Unbalance is half-German and wears a World War II German-style helmet wherever she goes, although originally this depicted as an heirloom amongst successive class presidents.
  • Lieutenant Kanuka Clancy from Patlabor is a biracial Japanese American who, ironically, is drawn with a more traditionally "Asian" appearance than anyone else in the cast.
  • Tamaki Suoh of Ouran High School Host Club is half-French, using the romantic nature of the French to charm clients at his host club.
  • Rebecca Miyamoto in Pani Poni Dash! has a Japanese mother and an American father.
    • In the manga, it was the other way around, which makes a great deal more sense, given her name.
  • Full Metal Panic!!'s original light novels mention several examples of this: Kurz and Tessa are both foreigners raised in Japan, and Sousuke is ethnic Japanese raised in Russia and later Afghanistan.
  • Lupin III, in the series of the same name; his father, Arsene Lupin, Jr., was the son of the original Arsène Lupin, main character of a famous French pulp adventure series of the late 19th and early 20th century. He would encounter the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of other famous fictional (and in some cases historical) figures, and in most cases, they would have a Japanese mother or grandmother.
  • Mamori from Eyeshield 21 is quarter-American (on her mother's side). Although she is the quickest to pick up the rules and nuances of Football (faster than the rookie players), according to the manga writer, her ancestry wasn't planned to explain this. Instead, he came up with it as way to explain why such an upright/uptight character (and member of the school's disciplinary committee) had brown hair in the color art. (The blond and brown-haired boys in the cast are assumed to have dye-jobs.)
  • Death Note
    • L is part-Japanese, although he grew up in Britain. Word of God states that he is one quarter Japanese, one quarter English, one quarter Russian, and one quarter of either French or Italian.
    • Raye Penber is also a case of this trope: mixed Japanese and American. Justified in that the CIA wanted to send someone to Japan who wouldn't stick out like a sore thumb. The artist admits to playing up the character's "foreignness" when drawing him.
  • In each of the Digimon anime, there is a token case of But Not Too Foreign.
    • Yamato and Takeru (Matt and T.K. in the dub) from Adventure and 02 are at least quarter-French. This is known because one episode in the World Tour arc features their French grandfather. Since the Digimon movie shows Yamato and Takeru visiting their grandmother in Shimane, fans have 'decided' that it is their paternal grandmother who lives in Shimane, and their maternal grandfather in France. Only problem is that their father's last name is Ishida, and their mother, Natsuko, went back to using her maiden name after the divorce—Takaishi. Grandpa's name is Michel.
      • Well, you could always say that Michel's wife and Natsuko's mother was Japanese...
    • Tamers' Lee Jianliang and Xiaochang (Henry and Suzie Wong) and their two older siblings are half-Chinese. Jianliang's Digimon partner, Terriermon, even speaks Cantonese.
    • Orimoto Izumi (Zoe), The Chick, was born in Japan, but spent most of her formative years in Italy and often uses Italian expressions in her speech. This actually plays into her character development, however, as it has resulted in her being much more individualistic and independent than her peers.
    • Tohma (Thomas) H. Norstein from Savers/Data Squad is the son of a Japanese woman and an Austrian aristocrat. Implied to have been born out of wedlock, he was outright rejected by his paternal grandmother after his mother's death, and his father couldn't bring himself to oppose her. This lead to a serious rift between them.
      • Xros Wars is the first not to have a foreigner. So far.
  • Eri Sawachika of School Rumble is referred to as a "halfie" (her father is British), which she demonstrates with her long blond hair and occasional mangled English ("Never dream of it").
  • Yomiko Readman of Read or Die is half-British, half-Japanese.
  • In GetBackers, Midou Ban is one-quarter German; of course the German grandparent is the only one we ever meet.
  • Of the 14 people who are to decide the fate of the planet in X 1999, 12 are Japanese, one is an artificial construct with the brain of a Japanese girl, and one is half-Japanese, half-generic-Caucasian. It's nice to see the rest of the Earth get a little representation.
  • The characters of Saint Seiya come all over the globe, but the Five-Man Band of main characters are all Japanese... except for Hyouga, who is half-Russian. He's blonde and blue-eyed (like his Missing Mom), has cold-based attacks some of which have Russian names, and he gets most of the (W)angst.
    • Justified in the manga, though, where the man that put them through the Training from Hell, Mitsumasa Kido, was actually their absurdly promiscuous father, and since he was Japanese...
  • Nishikiori Michiru from Kamichama Karin is half-English, half-Japanese.
  • Michael Okita from Slam Dunk is mentioned to be half-Japanese (per father's side) and half-American. He also has blue eyes and blond hair, is bilingual and was supposed to be under the watch of the NBA. Not to mention he's quite the Genki Guy when off-duty.
  • In Cyborg 009, Joe Shimamura aka 009 is also half-Japanese (mother), half-American (father), and in the manga he was bullied because of that. So are three friends of his (Mary, Shinichi and Masaru) who are turned into killing machines against their wills by Black Ghost, so he has to fight them and kill them.).
  • Kaede Kimura from Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is a Japanese native who has recently returned from studying abroad, and has developed a split personality based on her two nations' stereotypes. Her Japanese side is extremely polite and gentle (and in love with Itoshiki-sensei), while her foreign half is loud, obnoxious, and ready to sue her classmates at the drop of a hat.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima,
    • Rich, Caucasian looking, girl Ayaka Yukihiro is also said by Fuuka Narutaki to be 'half breed', although Ayaka herself protested at being called that.
    • Negi himself might also count. His full name is Negi Springfield and he comes from Wales. His cousin Nekane has the same family name and is blonde and also his father and mother both have Japanese first names. It could be speculated that Nagi's parents were English and Japanese, which resulted in each member of the family having a Japanese first name but an English last name. But as said earlier, might is the key word here as the series has yet to end and we know nothing about the Springfield family tree.
  • Amuro Rei from Mobile Suit Gundam is arguably one of the most famous examples of this trope in all of anime, although his background rarely comes up in conversation. In most versions his mother Kamaria is Canadian, although in the recent Gundam: The Origin manga she was changed to Mexican due to the action in the North America arc being shifted a few thousand kilometers south, as world events have made the image of a bombed-out, foreign occupied NYC less than conducive to a US release.
  • Lemmy from To Heart is another prime example. She's half Japanese and half American. this is expressed by her having blond hair, blue eyes, being a Huge Schoolgirl, having a fairly good sized bust, her use of English (Which is not so bad she usually sticks to one word phrases or simple phrases "Good Morning" or "Fantastic".
  • Ai Haibara a.k.a. Sherry of Detective Conan is half English. However, she was visibly Caucasian, and did mentioned that people with visual foreign traits like her are subjected with prejudice.
  • Jun Honoo in Great Mazinger is one of the first examples (half-black, but the exact nationality of her father is not given), and also notable in being the hero's love interest in the series, something very unusual for these years.
  • Karen Kouzuki/Kallen Stadtfeld from Code Geass is half Japanese (mother), half Britannian (father, stepfamily). So is Rai, the main character from Lost Colors: his father was a Britannian noble and his mother was from the Sumeragi clan.
  • Urd from Ah! My Goddess has no Japanese blood, but shares the insecurities/issues of many other cases of this trope because of her own mixed heritage... her mother is a demon ( the Queen of Hell to be exact).
  • The rival band from Nana, TRAPNEST, often features fluently English lyrics; likely a product of half-American vocalist Layla 'Reira' Serizawa. In being signed to a label, their record company ultimately decides to hide her heritage by making her image and name more unambiguously Asian—reason being that the Japanese (and implied xenophobic) public would be more impressed with her English if she were a native.
  • Syaoran Li, if that is his real name, from Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle has a Chinese dad and a Japanese mom.
    • Eriol Hiiragizawa is half British, half Japanese.
    • Watanuki is probably also half Chinese, considering that he's kinda sorta bizarrely the twin brother/clone/son/something of Syaoran...look, it's complicated, okay?
  • Sakura Yamazaki from Blue Seed may be a full-blooded Japanese miko but she was raised in America (by the CIA no less) so she's stereotypically brash and prone to spouting off exclamations in Gratuitous English.
  • Urara Kasugano of Yes! Pretty Cure 5 is half French, half Japanese. This would appear to be a Hand Wave to explain her blond hair, except that You Gotta Have Blue Hair is in effect. Amusingly, this makes her the character who matches the setting the best.
  • In the manga FAKE (set in NYC), we have Randy "Ryo" McLean, who is half-Japanese.
  • Firo Prochainezo from Baccano! (set in early 20th century America) is half-Italian (the other half being British-descended American), and identifies himself as a second-generation Italian immigrant. With the exception of Japanese-American Yalgumo, most other characters don't have their ethnicity particularly focused upon—although many of the supporting characters are decidedly not American-born simply on the basis that they're a good sixty years older than the country itself.
  • Tina Foster from Ai Yori Aoshi is an excellent example. She's an American raised in Hakata until middle school. She was unable to make friends in elementary and middle school in Japan due to her being "too American" and also in high school in America due to being "too Japanese." She covers up her feelings of being culturally lost by constantly trying to show how "Japanese" she is at heart (one of the other characters comments "You're almost more Japanese than we are!"). She desperately wants to be Japanese (and probably practically is after being raised in Japan during her formative years) and is a very tragic and lonely figure despite being a Bottle Fairy (to the point of overt alcoholism) and overall Genki Girl and semi-lunatic. One of the most sympathetically played "Not Too Foreign" characters in anime and manga.
  • Jun, from Science Ninja Team Gatchaman is half American, half Japanese.
  • Unbalance x Unbalance, a Manhwa features a British-Korean character who is a younger half sister to one of the main characters.
  • Fumio Kirisaki of the Saitama Chainsaw Shoujo is three-quarters Japanese, since her grandfather immigrated from the US. She laments the fact that she didn't seem to pick up the standard physical traits from her western heritage.
  • Gokudera Hayato from Katekyo Hitman Reborn has a Japanese mother and an Italian father.
  • Thobari Kumohira Durandal of Nabari no Ou is, apparently, partially of Japanese heritage, but was born and raised in Ireland.
  • Remy Shimada from GoShogun is part-French, part-Japanese.
  • Yakitate!! Japan
    • (Meister) Sylvan Kirisaki and his sister Sophie are half-French. While Meister is now the manager of the Pantasia Main Branch and a bread judge in Japan, Sophie remained in France as a baker.
    • Spencer Henry Hokou aka "Sachihoko" is an odd case. He is 100% Italian-American, but has a mentality of a dude from Nagoya. He starts to lose his Nagoya-ness once he returned to America though.
  • Suoh and Shion of Darker Than Black 2 are half-Japanese half-Russian.
  • In Soul Eater, Black Star mentions that Maka, like him, is Japanese. This would be half-Japanese in her case, as her father is Spirit Albarn. There are other Japanese characters - Tsubaki and Yumi for e.g - but much of the cast are at least suggested (mostly through names, or area they work in) to be from all over the place.
  • Momoko Asuka from Ojamajo Doremi was born in Japan, but grew up in America, causing her to speak (perfect) English when she's nervous, which renders her unintelligible to the other girls. It's also reflected in her character design, which makes her look somewhat more edgy than the other girls and her Leitmotif sounding completely different from every other song used in the series.
  • Ai Kora: Sakurako's mother is English in order to justify her having the blue eyes which Maeda so covets.
  • Though never brought up in the Durarara!! anime, Walker Yumasaki is regularly noted in the Light Novels to be biracial (half-what has yet to be elaborated upon, but it's implied to be white)
    • Idol Singer Ruri Hijiribe is also implied to have some European ancestry, probably because vampires aren't native to Japan in this 'verse.
  • Sei from Mariasama ga Miteru apparently has some non-Japanese ancestry, but we're informed she still has "attractive Japanese features" regardless.
  • Touma from Ame Nochi Hare is a half-Japanese who speaks perfect Japanese and even claims that his proficiency in English is barely passable.
  • In Virgin Love, Daigo is mixed race, with his mother being Japanese and his father American (ethnicity unspecified). In a kind of subversion the reason Kaoru takes an interest in him at all is precisely because he looks foreign (Kaoru doesn't like Japanese men at all).
  • Bleed Kaga from Future GPX Cyber Formula is half-Japanese and half-Spanish.
    • Aya Stanford from SIN is also one, as her father is American and her mother is Japanese. Double points for being a Military Brat, being her father is an Army serviceman.
  • Helen ESPs title character, Helen Takahara La Guido, is half-Japanese half-French.
  • Mad Bull 34 is set in 1980s New York City; viewpoint character Eddie "Van" Daizaburo is Japanese-American, and the only thing about the series that has anything to do with Japan. That said, he's also a cowardly, ineffectual virgin.
  • Terry the Kid from Kinnikuman Nisei is half-American, half-Japanese, but this rarely comes up because this wasn't so that the audience could relate to him—it's just a natural extension of the fact that the American Terryman married the Japanese Natsuko after the original Kinnikuman series. Kinnikuman is actually one of the series that most proudly averts this, with main characters who are 100% British (Robin Mask), German (Brocken, Jr.), American (Terryman), Native American (Geronimo), Chinese (Ramenman), Russian (Warsman), and Spanish (Buffaloman).
  • Monster's protagonist Dr. Tenma is a German citizen, but is originally from Japan.
  • Kodaka in Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai can be said as a Deconstruction—the prevalent racial prejudice in Japan means his half-British background, with blonde hair and Asian facial features, means he's taken to be a Delinquent.
  • Takane in THE iDOLM@STER is implied to be this.
  • Tsuritama's Yuki, who is one-quarter French. This makes him Japanese enough to mostly fit in with the crowd in story but still gives him a unique appearance to signify his status as a main character.
    • Akira Agarkar Yamada is also presumably part Japanese considering his name and fluency in the language.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Suki Leiber of the American manga Goofyfoot Gurl is half Japanese and half Jewish.
  • The Mandarin, one of Iron Man's most implacable foes, is half-Chinese, half-white. So, is Shang Chi, Marvel's expy of Bruce Lee, whose parents are actually Fu Manchu and an American fangirl of his.
  • Daken of the Dark Avengers is half-White (Canadian), thanks to his dad being Wolverine), half-Japanese. Also Coleen Wing, the on-again-off-again partner of Misty Knight, who's father is American.
  • Thugboy in Empowered is half-Japanese.
  • Mi-Tse Meyer, recurring half-Chinese female villain from German comic Nick Knatterton.
  • Cassandra Cain, a former Batgirl, is ambiguously half-Asian: her mother, Lady Shiva, is from an unnamed Asian country, and her father, David Cain, is white.
  • Grace Choi, a DC superheroine, is of ambiguously Asian descent on her father's name, her mother being an Amazon (and thus, presumably vaguely Grecian). Her surname suggests that her father is either of Korean or Cantonese extraction.
  • Storm, of the X-Men. The "all-new, all-different" relaunched X-Men were international, patching whatever foreign character had already appeared with some newly introduced characters, and Storm was the token African (Kenyan). After some issues this was retconned in making her father an Afro-American whom she forgot after a plane crashed in the Cairo house where she was staying with her family.
  • Here's something most readers of Archie Comics and likely many of the people who produce them nowadays are unaware of: Jughead Jones is Native American. Or, at least he was. In his initial appearances, he was depicted in the stereotypical stoic, chiseled look typical of the 1940s. This quickly gave way to his familiar look by the early 1950s, but scattered references to his original ethnicity persisted, amazingly, until at least the 1980s. Some of it could just be chalked up to Jughead's Cloudcuckoolander nature (in one story he whips up a rain dance, causing a thunderstorm just to get out of work), but other references were harder to ignore; Reggie in particular was fond of giving Jughead nicknames such as "Big Chief Gross Beak" and "my Aboriginal amigo", which made no sense to people unfamiliar with the character's background. While no comment has been made on this issue for a while (and Jughead's family, once they were established, were pretty definitely white), it stands as a bizarre series of Depending on the Writer Early Installment Weirdness CallBacks.

Fan Fic[edit | hide]

  • Tish Williams from Deborah Goldsmith's Ranma ½ fanfic Notes from Juilliard is a tall African-American girl who spent her formative years in Japan and as a result doesn't fit in anywhere. She calls herself a "Tuna Roll"—i.e. Black on the outside, Japanese on the inside. It doesn't help that both forms of her name ("Tish" is short for "Leticia") are barely pronounceable tongue twisters for her Japanese friends.
  • There are three examples in Bill K's Sailor Moon saga to explain their hair color. First being that Usagi's grandfather on her mother's side was a American soldier. Haruka is Swedish on her father's side and Michiru's mother is American.
    • Similarly, more than a few authors have hypothesized or declared outright that Makoto (Sailor Jupiter) is half-American, to account for her height and buxom figure.

Film[edit | hide]

  • Played for laughs in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension; the eponymous hero is the inexplicably blue-eyed son of Japanese physicist, Masado Banzai, and Texan-of-Scottish ancestry, Sandra Willoughby.
  • In Kill Bill Volume 1 O-Ren Ishii is half Japanese and half Chinese-American (primarily due to her actress, Lucy Liu, being Taiwanese-American). When she becomes head of the Yakuza, she tells off her new Japanese underlings in English "Just to be absolutely clear." (i.e. clear to the audience) while her half-Japanese, half-French assistant translates for her.
    • Note that the telling off was after beheading one of the Yakuza bosses for insulting her heritage and daring to express his disgust that someone like her was head of the Yakuza.
  • Elvis Presley played a half-breed Indian in 1960's Flaming Star..
  • Welshman Anthony Hopkins played a mixed-raced man in The Human Stain. By contrast, Wentworth Miller, who played the younger version of the same character, actually is of mixed race descent (see below).
  • Nulla in Australia is a half-Aboriginal boy, who has to deal with the Real Life issues that half-Aboriginal children had to deal with... that is, becoming part of the Stolen Generation.
  • Frank Hopkins in Hidalgo is half-white and half Native American. It's uncertain if the real Frank Hopkins really was, since he was known to be a pathological liar.
  • Martin Pawley from The Searchers is 1/8th Cherokee (though this doesn't restrain him from fighting other Indian groups). His racist uncle Ethan gives him a hard time for this, but ultimately comes to respect him, in a way.
    • It's worth pointing out that Martin was fully white in the novella on which The Searchers was based, and that his ancestry was tweaked in The Movie to give Ethan some Character Development.
  • Balraj in Bride and Prejudice is Indian but raised in England.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Hiro Protagonist from Snow Crash gives his racial heritage as Japanese by way of Korea and African by way of Texas. His ethnicity, however, is stated to be "Army."
    • Played for dark humor when he is cornered by members of "New South Africa" who debate whether to attack him because he is Asian or because he is black.
  • H. Beam Piper did this a lot in his Future History. Uller Uprising has a character named Hideyoshi O'Leary. In Four-Day Planet, the narrator remarks that:

The amount of intermarriage that's gone on since the First Century [Atomic Era], any resemblance between people's names and their appearances is purely coincidental. Oscar Fujisawa, who looks as though his name ought to be Lief Ericsson, for example.

  • Takeshi Kovacs, a Cyberpunk anti-hero is one of these, and indeed, as is suggested by Hiro above, this trope is quite common in cyberpunk, especially with partially Japanese ancestry.
  • The Stars My Destination has the Secret Police agent and Master of Disguise Peter Yang-Yeovil, who can trace his ancestry back to an ancient dynasty, but looks Caucasian enough to disguise himself as an Italian at one point.
  • Honor Harrington is Caucasian-Chinese, but she's unusual in that most people are more ethnically blended than she is. She takes more flack from having genetic engineering in her ancestry.
  • Not only is Maya Witherspoon, the Snow White analog in The Serpent's Shadow, a (female) doctor and open suffragette in Edwardian London, but her mother was a "Native" her wellborn army physician father openly married when stationed in India. Of course her late mother's Evil Twin (and to a less homicidal degree Indian society in general) was rather ticked over a pure-blooded Brahmin giving birth to a polluted half-English child.
    • Miscegenation was somewhat less inflammatory in India that it was in Britain itself, especially because "half-caste" children tended to see themselves as white anyway.
  • Kostanshoglo from Dead Souls is described being not a pure Russian, although he thinks of himself as Russian and doesn't speak foreign languages. Speculation: He may have a Turkish ancestor, since many Turkish names end in -oglu.
  • Every main character who isn't pure Chinese in Breaking The Walls can be considered this. For example Pearl Bright, leader of the current generation, is half-Chinese half-Hungarian Jew.
  • A book based on the TV show I Spy and set in Japan included the wealthy "personage of quality" (so described by a hotel waiter) Vladimir Takahashi, a mix of Japanese, Chinese, Russian, and Greek. He looked mostly Japanese, but with blue eyes, and a further shocker when he spoke was his Oxford accent.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • The plot of the Kung Fu television series centered on a Shaolin Monk wandering the old west. Logically, this would require the lead to be Chinese (and there were many Chinese immigrants in America at the time the show is set). Instead, the writers specified that Caine was only Half-Chinese, and cast a white actor to play him.
  • Super Sentai has numerous instances of Rangers who were raised elsewhere, but the writers find a way of sneaking in that they were truly born in Japan. Sometimes, homogeny is apparently the culprit, but sometimes it seems that Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe and it won't do for a member of the Five-Man Band to be from elsewhere. Egregious examples include:
    • This goes back to the very first Super Sentai series, Himitsu Sentai Goranger with the half-Swiss/half-Japanese Peggy Matsuyama, played by half-Japanese actress Lisa Komaki. Interestingly, the female members of all 1970s Super Sentai series were all half-Japanese (JAKQ Dengekitai's Karen Mizuki and the below example); they didn't start casting full-Japanese actresses until 1980.
    • Battle Fever J was as close as sentai gets to an international team: each Ranger had learned his or her particular fighting style in the country his or her Ranger identity was named for, but with the exception of Miss America, all were born in Japan, and even Miss America was half-Japanese (both Miss Americas, actually).
    • Choushinsei Flashman starred a team visiting from the Flash solar system, and the environment was only compatible enough for them to stay for about the length of your average sentai series... except it turns out they were kidnapped from Earth long ago.
    • The best is probably Ninja Sentai Kakuranger's Jiraiya who despite having a Japanese name was raised in the US and had only come to Japan recently as the series began. He was played by an actual Japanese American actor, spoke perfect English (to the point where his voice notably stood out in the Roll Calls and posing)and had an American accent to his Japanese and had notably different mannerisms and personality than the Japanese characters.
    • Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger's Tetsu is a Human Alien with No Social Skills... no, wait, he's just lived offworld since a villain accidentally killed his parents. Deka also has Ban, whose only sign of an Earthen origin is a flashback to his samurai ancestor (though this time, Tokyo isn't the center of the universe: This episode, present and flashbacks, took place in Kyoto.)
  • Power Rangers has Tommy, who is "a bit Native American".
    • Operation Overdrive's pink ranger Rose was shown to be living in London (working as a university lecturer) before she was recruited to the team. Her actress is British (albeit of Filipino descent), so it's probably safe to assume that the character actually is British.
  • The titular protagonist of Kamen Rider Amazon was born in the Amazon jungle. However, it turns out that he's a Japanese who was simply abandoned in the Amazon, Tarzan-style. His Suspiciously Similar Substitute in Kamen Rider Decade is played by an actual South American, though he's still half-Japanese (specifically, Japanese-Peruvian, and he has the mixed name of Enrique Sakamoto).
  • In the Jdrama version of Hana Kimi, Julia is meant to be an all-American blonde. Instead, she is played by the half-Japanese half-French Minami who speaks accented English.
  • In Irish television show Raw Tanya, the restaurant manageress is English. As she is married to the Irish head chef there is already a perfectly understandable reason for her to be in Ireland but the show decided to reveal she was part Irish anyway. The actress, Shelley Conn, is of Sri Lankan and British ancestry.
  • Star Trek loves this trope with its aliens, applying the principle cross species instead of races. Many interesting comparisons arise if you go through the canon and read all half-humans as half-white.
    • However, it also opens up storytelling possibilities based on whether the character in question is raised among humans and rejects their alien side (B'Elanna Torres) or the other way around (Spock) etc...
  • In the season four China Beach episode "The Quest", Colleen McMurphy goes to visit her old Vietnam buddy Dodger and his half-Vietnamese son. Said son is played by a young, obviously all-Caucasian Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
    • Of course, in the son's next appearance (in the series finale episodes) he's older and being played by an actual Asian actor!
    • That could be partially Justified in that children with mixed Asian/European ancestry can often look like one ethnicity as a child but another as an adult.
  • In 24, the suicide bomber in Day 8 is half-Middle Eastern (in this case, his father is from Kamistan who married an American woman).
  • Religion example, instead of nationality example: Abed and Annie in Community, who originally identified themselves as, respectively, Muslim and Jewish, were each revealed to have one Christian parent, making them both just Christian enough to participate in the annual Christmas episode without creating any inconvenient complications.

Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • Pro wrestling tends to subvert this as most wrestlers are announced as being from their actual current home towns unless it is part of their gimmick in which case they are usually North Americans using a Fake Nationality (for example Roddy Piper was announced as being from Glasgow, Scotland despite the fact he moved to Saskatchewan when he was a baby). Granted this can cause confutation and accusations of this if one of them decides to use their actual home town instead of a fake one.
  • The Legendary 80’s French Canadian tag team The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers played this trope for Heel Heat, while they were announced as being from their current home town of Memphis TN, start USA chants, and carried American flags. However they would often speak Québecois French and would say backhanded compliments about their new home country. Their theme song, All American Boys, proclaimed they loved being white bread preppy Barry Manilow fans. However there was also a French portion of their song ware they admitted that they were not being sincere and only acted that way because they knew it made the fans angry
  • Completely subverted with Santino Marella. In real life, his name is Anthony Carelli, and he's a Canadian with Sicilian heritage. However, he made his debut during a European tour in Milan, implying he was a native Italian and winning the Intercontinental Championship as a plant in the crowd, and was called "The Milan Miracle" for a while after that. This is one interesting case where WWE went out of their way to make him more foreign than he already was.
  • The WWE caught some flack a couple of years changing some of the "Face" Canadian wrestlers hometowns. When they are announced to the ring, they're usually stated hailing to where they reside now in the U.S. as opposed to Canada.
  • Released wrestler James Yun (A.K.A. Jimmy Wang Yang) is half-Korean and half white American. His first gimmick in the WWE was a Japanese bodyguard with mafia ties and he was a heel. His Heel Face Turn came when he downplayed his Korean side and embraced his "redneck" ties (albeit Chinese-American redneck ties!). His attire changed from simple black pants to a wifebeater, cowboy hat, blue jeans and Confederate Flag emblems. (Interestingly, the Real Life persona of Yun is very close to that of Wang Yang, as it combines a fondness for "traditional" American culture with The Theme Park Version of the Far East.)
  • Inverted with Gail Kim during her run in WWE around 2004-ish where she was billed as being from Korea when she was born and raised in Toronto (but with Korean ancestry).

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Vampire: The Requiem uses this trope as a plot point. The character Emily Eupraxus Washington was inducted into the ancient Roman Eupraxus bloodline, who are treated as the figureheads of the Invictus Covenant. Emily's half-Japanese, and is portrayed as an ineffectual ruler and moe blob. The plot is that the elder Invictus are largely racist feudal Europeans, but they dare not act against their crown jewel. The younger Invictus, on the other hand, love Emily because her combined lineage and bloodline show that the Invictus is capable of adapting to the modern world. Allegedly, the Japanese ancestry also pleases a large part of the fan base.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Aya Brea of Parasite Eve fame is half-Japanese.
  • Ken Masters, the second half of the Street Fighter series' leading duo, is a martial arts master who is 3/4 Japanese and 1/4 American (he was purely Japanese in SF I, but was retconned in SF II).
    • Ken's student, Sean from Street Fighter III, is half-Japanese, half-Brazilian.
    • Ken's name is also a case, being a legitimate name in both English and Japanese.
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time has protagonist Fayt Leingod and his childhood friend Sophia Esteed as half Japanese. Their mothers Ryoko and Kyoko (respectively) were also close friends before they were born.
  • Yuri Volte Hyuga, the hero of the first two Shadow Hearts games, is the son of a Japanese army officer and a Russian émigré (Okay, actually German, but that's a long story). In the English translation, he he has a Russian name (in the original, he's "Urmnaf Bort Hyuga," which is just Foreign Sounding Gibberish). Note that "Yuri" is not a multiracial name for a man, as it's only used as a female name in Japan.
  • Shu Shirakawa in Super Robot Wars is half Japanese, half La Gias... okay, the latter may not be so much a nation but another world, but most of them are so identical with humans it's like 'just another nation'.
    • Several other characters are like this. The Braunstein brothers are both 1/4 Japanese. We never hear much about Yuuki Jagger's background, but just from his name you can tell it's probably the case. Sanger Somvold is not ethnically Japanese at all, but seems to be intended to embody the concept of Yamato Damacy anyway (unlike aspiring Kid Samurai Bullet).
  • Masami von Weisegger, main protagonist of Ring Of Red was a... you guessed it, half-Japanese, half-German ace AFW pilot.
  • Hitomi of the Dead or Alive fighting game series fits this trope well, complete with Japanese and German parentage.
    • As does Kokoro, one of Fame Douglas's illegitimate daughters, with Japanese and French ancestry for your brawling pleasure.
  • Lars Alexanderson from Tekken.
  • Trauma Center is a twisty little thing, but here we go: in the Japanese version, the main (Derek) storyline is set in Japan. Blue-eyed blonde Angie, from that cast, is part German, though this was just for colour/this trope until Trauma Center 2 made a retcon, specifically that the "sinners" (people who are attuned enough to GUILT to help breed it, which includes Angie) were descendants of Adam, the main villain, and the main branch of Adam's family lives in Germany. Never mind the fact that another sinner in that very game is from Central or South America.
    • That (them being from South America) actually makes sense, mind you.
  • Sylvia Christel from No More Heroes is a blonde-haired, blue-eyed half-Japanese, half-Ukrainian bombshell raised in France but United States resident. This is evidenced solely by her French accent and a single random card that can only found in a New Game+ . It's pretty mundane compared to the rest of the game.
    • To add a bit of Frenchness, her name, quite fittingly for such a sexy and seductive character, is also a shout out to the French classic "Emmanuelle" whose part was played by actress...Sylvia Kristel.
  • Originally, Solid Snake from Metal Gear was an American of mixed Japanese-British heritage and later revised to just plain Japanese-American in Metal Gear Solid (despite his revised origin as a Big Boss clone in the game). In Metal Gear Solid 4, it is explained that although EVA/Big Mama was Solid Snake's surrogate/birth mother, the egg came from a Japanese woman.
    • Metal Gear Solid as a series does this constantly. Characters from different countries are almost always half-Japanese or half-American. Revolver Ocelot is half-American/half-Russian, EVA is half-American/half-Chinese, Kazuhira Miller is half-Japanese/half-American, and Naomi Hunter claims to have a Japanese grandfather (though this is revealed to be a lie). Because of his last name, it can be assumed that Johnny Sasaki is also half-Japanese/half-American. With the half-American characters, this is clearly a case of But Not Too Foreign so that the characters can be drawn with Caucasian features.
    • In a more subtle example, Hal "Otacon" Emmerich is an American with a German-Jewish surname, but he's obsessed with Japanese culture, and he and his stepsister Emma both have noticeably Asian features. The latter even wears lacquered chopsticks in her hair.
  • Final Fantasy X gives us Yuna, a Fantasy example of this trope. Her father's a Spiran, but her mother's an Al Bhed.
  • Sci Fi example. Colonel Hakha from Killzone is half-Vektan, half-Helghast.
  • Ashley Mizuki Robbins of Trace Memory.
  • Sakura Taisen's example from the anime section also applies here.
  • Alyx Vance; half black, half indeterminate Asian. In this case, it was probably just a reference to her voice actress, whose father was a black and mother was Japanese/Korean.
  • Another fantasy example: in Dragon Age: Origins, there are only two sympathetic and badass Orlesian characters - Leliana and Riordan. Both are actually from Ferelden, but were raised in Orlais. Everyone actually from Orlais is morally dubious, cowardly, or otherwise causes problems for the player.
    • Similarly, there's Fiona and Duncan, who we find is a Fereldan in Orlais in the books. The former was a slave sold to an Orlesian noble.
  • Assassin's Creed III is a rare western example. The main character, Connor Kenway (birth name is Ratohnhaké:ton) is half Native American, half British.

Visual Novels[edit | hide]

  • Lilly Satou and her big sister Akira from Katawa Shoujo are half-Scottish, half-Japanese. Word of God says that Lilly looks completely Caucasian.
  • Eris from Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke wo had a Japanese father and a Western mother. Her half-Japanese ancestry gives her a reason to transfer to a Japanese school from overseas and learn more about the culture.
  • Fate Stay Night has Illya, who has a Japanese dad and a German mom. Well, her mom is a homunculus but is genetically German.
  • Ciel/Elesia from Tsukihime has a French father and an Oriental mother (exact ethnicity is unknown).
  • Stella in Kara no Shoujo is a justified example because for the period that the VN is set in (mid 50s Japan) it wouldn't make much sense for a fully foreign girl to be there. It also features heavily into her character when the story reveals more about her.
  • Kudryavka from Little Busters! is three-quarters Russian, one-quarter Japanese.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • In El Goonish Shive, Tedd is part Japanese and ostensibly part Caucasian.
    • And, since Nanase is Tedd's cousin on his mother's side (her mom is Tedd's mom's sister), she falls into this category too. As does Nanase's sister, Akiko.
      • Possibly not, since we've only seen Nanase's father in one panel and it's not clear what his background is. Given how traditional Nanase's mother is, it's likely that Kitsune (a Japanese name) is her father's name.
  • Soo from Long Term Roomies is 1/4 American and 3/4 Arab (though exactly where is never clarified). Her name works in both cultures because Americans assume it's spelled 'Sue' and her family know its short for Sooraya.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Jake Long has a white dad and Chinese mom. Bonus points for the ambiguity and Bilingual Bonus of his last name since Long can be both a perfectly workable surname for both Anglo-Saxons and Chinese, and means "dragon" in the latter.
  • Abigail and Cree Lincoln (mum is apparently of French ancestry) comes to mind.
    • It's possible that her mother's nationality was French, or her family is originally from France, though.
  • Isabella Garcia-Shapiro from Phineas and Ferb.
  • Bear in mind that this trope is formerly called Charlie Dog. He is 50% Pointer ("There it is! There it is! There it is!"), 50% Boxer, 50% Setter ("Irish Setter"), 50% Watch Dog, 50% Spitz, 50% Doberman Pincher. But, mostly, he's all Labrador Retriever!
    • And if you doubt his word, get him a Labrador and he'll retrieve it!
  • The Batman version of Mercy Graves is reportedly this. Perhaps it's because of the casting of a Singaporean Chinese.
  • In Hey Arnold! Phoebe has a Japanese dad and a white mom. Her father as well because while he looks ethnically Japanese, his last name, Heyerdahl, certainly isn't.

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Eugene Hutz, lead singer for "gypsy punk" band Gogol Bordello, is a self-professed Ukrainian Gypsy, but he has also Russian and whatever other blood, as mixed marriages were actually encouraged in former Soviet Union. His band also features people with such backgrounds as Scottish-Chinese, Thai-American and Japanese-Romanian, in addition to usual Russians and Jews.
  • Subverted by the band Half Japanese, who are actually 100% Gaijin.
  • Korean singer Insooni, who's half-black and half-Korean.
  • Also half black half Korean singer/rapper Tasha, aka "T" or Yoon Mirae.
  • The Japanese music industry loves part-foreign singers who are exotic But Not Too Foreign. For example:
    • Half-American, half-Japanese singers Angela Aki and Olivia Lufkin, and no doubt others.
    • Japanese-Russian-American singer and actress Anna Tsuchiya.
    • Subverted with Afro-Asian singer Crystal Kay. She's half-Asian, but that half is actually zainichi Korean.
      • And from the other side of the Atlantic, Amerie Rogers.
    • African-American but quarter-Japanese enka singer Jero.
    • Half-Japanese, half-British singer Kaela Kimura.
    • Rie Miyazawa, whose dad was Dutch.
    • Eiji Wentz, whose dad is German-American. Apparently, his English isn't so good.
    • Yuna Ito, born to a Japanese father and a mother of Korean descent. For bonus points, she was born and raised in America.
    • Leah Dizon. An American with a French, Chinese, and Filipino background and not one drop of Japanese blood.
    • Rachel Rhodes, half-American half-Japanese
    • Golden Half was an early 1970s girl-band built around this trope.
    • Sugizo is quarter-Chinese from his father and quarter-German from his mother.
  • Half-Japanese, half-American actress and writer Ayako Fujitani who, improbably enough, is Steven Seagal's daughter.
  • Some Malaysians and Singaporeans have mixed ethnicities, due to the overwhelming number of races in both countries. A common joke is that when you ask someone who is "mat salleh celup" (what race he or she is), the common reply is "Malaysian" or "Singaporean", respectively.
  • Most But Not Too Black examples are half-black, half-white.
    • Sometimes half-Asian too.
  • These celebrities:
  • Dichen Lachman, and Australian actress who is all-too-often referred to simply as "Asian", including in this wiki.
  • There is sometimes confusion on whether to classify Filipinos as either Asians or Hispanics. Even before it became a Spanish colony there were several enthic groups from East, Southeast, and South Asia and some mixing occured. Then came three centuries of Spanish rule, where a lot of mixing occured too.
    • The closest ethnic relatives of the Filipinos are the Chinese and the Malaysians. It's much simpler to just refer to them as Asians.
  • Giovanni van Bronkhorst, captain of the Netherlands national football team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup that reaches the final, is 3/4th Indonesian. His father was Dutch-Indonesian while his mother was purely Indonesian.
  • It is not unusual for an entertainer—especially a Latin one—to Anglicize their name or take a new stage name entirely, as if Anglo viewers can't relate otherwise.
    • Enrique Martin Morales, aka Ricky Martin
    • Ramon and Carlos Estevez, aka Martin and Charlie Sheen (Emilio Estevez is the only one in the family to achieve success with his real name).
  • Utada Hikaru is an interesting example. She was born in Manhattan to Japanese parents, and is fluent in both English and Japanese. So she is basically exotic to both Americans and Japanese. Then again, she doesn't have much of a fanbase in the States, so many Americans assume that she's foreign when she technically isn't.
  • Korean girl group, ChoColat. They claim to be the first mix-race K-Pop band, although band have have mixed race members before (Fin.K.L, INK, etc). Three members are mixed, Tia Cuevas/Tia Hwang, Juliane Alfieri, and Melanie Lee. Tia is Korean, German and Puerto-Rican while, Melanie and Julian are Korean, German and Italian.
  • Soler, the Hong Kong-based rock duo consisting of twin brothers Julio and Dino Acconci. Another interesting background - their father was Italian and their mother is Karen (an ethnic group from Burma), they were born and raised in Macau, spent some time studying in Florence, Italy, and released an album which went unnoticed there, worked briefly in the UK, returned home where they spent some years underground until they made it big in 2005. They speak 7 languages in between themselves (English, Italian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Portuguese, Spanish, and French) and are affectionately referred to as the Italian Rock Band.