10 anime based on Chinese culture

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China and Japan are separate countries, but China’s influence over Japan can come in unexpected and understated ways. Throughout history, the Japanese language has taken influence from Chinese vocabulary, phonology, and the writing system. The Japanese kimono probably has its origins in Chinese hanfu. So naturally, China and its culture often appear in Japanese anime in different ways.

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Sometimes a story takes place in a fantasy land loosely inspired by Chinese culture. Other times, the plot is based on Chinese literature or mythology, where the characters are figures from said mythology. Other times the characters are literally from the country of China. That said, just as the anime takes liberties with Japanese culture, so does its take on China and its analogues.


ten Dragon Ball: The Story Started As A Tale Of A Journey To The West


Son Goku goes on an adventure in Dragon Ball

Dragon ball originally began as a story of Journey to the West, considered one of the most famous works in Chinese literature. In fact, while Western anime fans often associate him with this franchise, the name of the main character Son Goku is actually the Japanese form of Sun Wukong, the King of the Apes.

Some fans like to believe the setting is a fantastic cross between Japan and China because of it. Aspects of Chinese culture also appear from time to time, from Chi-Chi normally wearing a qipao to Chiaotzu wearing Qin Dynasty clothing, as well as the implication that he is a Jiang Shi, a vampire-like creature. from Chinese mythology.

9 Fruit basket: the curse of the Sohma family corresponds to the Chinese zodiac


In Basket of fruits, Tohru is taken in by the Sohma family and learns of their curse, the members transforming into Chinese zodiac animals when kissed by members of the opposite sex. In reference to a Chinese fairy tale, this also includes the cat, an animal deceived from a place in the zodiac.

Certainly, it should be noted that there are Japanese variations of the story, although it probably originated in China. Notably, the family includes a sheep and a boar, as in the Japanese zodiac, instead of their Chinese counterparts: a goat and a pig, respectively. Likewise, the dragon’s family member, a fantastic creature, is resolved by him transforming into a seahorse, an untranslatable pun on one of the animal’s Japanese names meaning “dragon baby”.

8 Fushigi Yuugi: The frame is divided into four places which correspond to different places in China


Miaka and the Heavenly Warriors in Fushigi Yuugi

In Fushigi Yuugi, Miaka Yuki finds a strange book in a library called The universe of the four gods who magically sends her to a world resembling medieval China and learns that she is supposed to serve as the high priestess in history.

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Different places in history seem to be based on different facets of Chinese culture and history: Kounan for Imperial Southern China, Kutou for Imperial Eastern China, Sairou for Western China and the Silk Road, and Hokkan, which seems to combine elements of Inner and Outer Mongolia. .

7 The twelve kingdoms: some characters even think they are in China


Anime The Twelve Kingdoms

Taking some clues from Fushigi Yuugi, the story of The Twelve Kingdoms also involves characters magically transporting from Japan to a fantasy world somewhat inspired by Chinese culture, especially that of Imperial China. It gets to the point that even the characters in the story have even confused the setting with China.

Notably, the series’ unicorn-like kirin, which serves the rulers, has its origins in the Chinese mythological creature, the “qilin,” a benevolent, hoofed chimera that is often compared to the Western unicorn, as well as the real animal. of the giraffe.

6 Cardcaptor Sakura: Syaoran and Meiling are from Hong Kong


Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China and formerly a British colony, also appears occasionally in anime, such as in Sakura card sensor. One of the characters, Syaoran Li, is originally from Hong Kong and comes to Japan to serve as a rival to Sakura to capture the Clow Cards, before eventually becoming her sweetheart. His origins sometimes appear, as in his fencing, because he uses a Chinese jian. The anime also introduces Meiling Li, Syaoran’s cousin and fiancee, who functions as Sakura’s romantic rival and a sort of foil to Sakura’s more sympathetic cousin, Tomoyo. Also from Hong Kong, she emphasizes her origins with an “ox horn” hairstyle and the yin-yang symbol on her combat costume.

Both characters can trace their origins to the sorcerer Clow Reed, who was of British and Chinese ancestry and who at one point resided in Hong Kong. Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie Also introduces Sakura and her friends traveling to Hong Kong, where they meet other members of Syaoran’s family.

5 Ranma 1/2: The cursed sources can be attributed to China


Ranma's casting

Various characters in Ranma 1/2 were cursed by the waters of Jusenkyo’s fictional springs, believed to be somewhere in Qinghai Province, China. People who enter waters where someone or something has drowned are doomed to turn into the dead when splashed with cold water.

As a reminder of this event, Ranma normally dons Chinese-style outfits and her father is cursed for turning into a panda, an animal native to China. Various characters, such as Shampoo, Cologne, Mousse and Pantyhose Tarō, are also from China.

4 Tokyo Mew Mew: Bu-Ling Huang is of Chinese descent and his father trains in China


Tokyo Mew Mew_ Bu-ling Huang

In Tokyo Mew Mew, Bu-ling Huang, also known as Mew Pudding, the Mew Mew merged with the Golden Ring Tamarind, appears to be of Chinese descent. Her father is a Chinese martial artist who often trains in the Chinese mountains, leaving her to raise her younger siblings. The nationality or ancestry of his late mother, however, is unknown.

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Its connection with China manifests itself in other ways. In particular, she sometimes tends to speak Chinese. She also often wears Chinese themed clothing in her civilian form.

3 Fullmetal Alchemist: Xing appears to be China’s equivalent


Fullmetal Alchemist Xing Emperor

In Fullmetal Alchemist, Xing’s fictional country seems to have been modeled on China. Located on the other side of the Eastern Desert, it is ruled by an emperor.

The name “Xing” is even taken from the Mandarin word for “star”. Throughout the series, many parallels are given between Xing and China, with characters having Chinese names and using a Chinese writing system.

2 Sailor Moon: Sailor Scouts represent the Chinese elements


Sailor Moon Sailor Scouts

Sailor Moon borrows a lot from global folklore, from Greco-Roman mythology to Western fairy tales, so it makes sense that Chinese myths have a role in the series. The first four Sailor Scouts have powers that match the traditional Chinese elements: water, fire, wood, and metal, reflecting the Japanese names of the planets. In contrast, traditional Japanese elements have replaced the last two with wind and ether.

The name Usagi Tsukino, which loosely means “Moon Rabbit”, originates from a Chinese legend that a rabbit lives on the moon. As mentioned, her iconic hairstyle is also derived from the Chinese style “ox horns”. Series creator Naoko Takeuchi has previously claimed that she wore her hair in this style when she was younger, referring to it as a Chinese style.

1 Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Lynn Minmay is half Chinese and was born in Chinatown


Macross lynn

In Macross Super Dimensional Fortress, Lynn Minmay is Chinese on her father’s side, although her mother is Japanese, and was born in a Japanese Chinatown. After moving in with her aunt and uncle, she started working as a waitress at the Chinese-style restaurant Nyan-Nyan.

While there are hints that the characters actually speak English to each other, Chinese also appears to be popular, as seen with the song “Shao Pai Lon (Xiao Bai Long)”.

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