Most of the time, it’s extremely difficult to tell whether a man is from Korea or Japan, as people from the two countries tend to look identical.
The main reason? Asian genes!
Thousands of years ago, Asian people migrated, and the population diverged. Based on genomic data, Korean, Japanese, and even Han Chinese separated from each other and formed distinct gene pools with common ancestors. Therefore, Korean and Japanese people are considered close cousins as they’re genetically closely related.
But as much as they look alike, some visible differences between Korean and Japanese men comes in handy for the never-ending nationality guessing game!
Without further ado, let’s dig into the 11 main differences between Korean men vs Japanese men.
Korean Men vs Japanese Men – The 11 Main Differences
If you want to learn how to tell Korean men and Japanese men apart, you’re in the right place! We’ve listed the 11 main differences between Korean men vs Japanese men, so read ahead.
- Face Shape, Structure, and Size
- Skin Tone
- Body Type
- Style and Fashion
1. Face Shape, Structure, and Size
One of the easy ways to identify if a man is Korean or Japanese is by observing his face’s shape, structure, and size.
The faces of Japanese men are long, wide, and oval-shaped. They also have prominent cheekbones and strong-looking jawlines.
On the other hand, Korean men have rounder faces with sharp V-lines and pointy chins. They’re smaller, compared to Japanese face, as having a small face is part of Korea’s strict male beauty standards.
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Fun fact: eyebrows are a pretty big deal for Japanese men! In fact, they shave their eyebrows to give them the perfect shape. They even use an eyebrow shaving tool that acts as a frame to achieve the ideal long, angled eyebrows. It’s not just a trend as it’s one of the crucial parts of their strict grooming routine.
Meanwhile, for Koreans, groomed eyebrows signify masculinity, and it’s very important as it makes the first impression. So, they also maintain straight, bold eyebrows by using beauty/grooming products and going to barbershops regularly.
Smaller, slanted eyes set Asians apart from other races. While each type of Asian eyes seems similar at first glance, their shapes and sizes differ.
Although having a monolid or single eyelid is the most notable face feature in Japanese and Korean men, a study states that Korean men are less likely to have double eyelids than Japanese men.
Regarding the shape, Japanese men have round or oval-shaped eyes that are slightly tilted upwards. On the other hand, Korean men possess almond-shaped eyes that look smaller than other Asians’.
Read More: Why Koreans Have Small Eyes
Another noticeable difference between Korean and Japanese men is their lips. This one is also easy to tell apart as Korean men have small, plumpy lips while Japanese men have thinner, wider, and straight lips.
In South Korea, a cherry-shaped lip is the perfect lip one can have. So, Korean men do their best to achieve it with make-up techniques and lip fillers.
While the pouty lip effect is also slowly becoming a trend for Japanese men, most still prefer to stick with their natural lip shape, as Japanese women prefer thinner lips on men.
Asians have small and flat noses, and Koreans are no exception. But to enhance their noses and make them proportional to other facial features, even Korean men resort to rhinoplasty surgery, also known as ‘nose job.’
Meanwhile, most Japanese men have slightly bigger noses than Koreans. They’re genetically gifted with narrowed noses and higher nose bridges. So, Japanese men have naturally tall noses.
Styled and well-groomed hair is also essential for men. Korean and Japanese men have their own ways of hair styling to achieve their desired looks.
Hairstyles with ‘flyaways’ are popular among Japanese men. They also like to pull off the ‘messy hair’ look that takes a lot of styling and effort. While some love to rock different hair colors, others go for natural brown tones and darker shades to look boyish.
In contrast, Korean men keep their hair trimmed and short, giving them a clean and neat appearance that reflects Korean beauty norms. They also dye their hair similar to K-pop idols and actors for a youthful and trendy look.
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Korean men are the tallest among East Asians, so there is indeed a visible height difference between Korean and Japanese men.
In Korea, you’re considered tall once you reach 180 cm but the average height of a Korean man is about 174 cm. Meanwhile, the average height of a Japanese man is only 172 cm. So, if you’ll visit Japan and you’re over 180 cm tall, you’ll surely stand out. You might even receive compliments for your height!
8. Skin Tone
Distinguishing one’s nationality by skin tone is tricky. But if it’s between Korean and Japanese men, there’s a high chance you’ll guess correctly.
Generally, Koreans and Japanese (both men and women) are born with pale and white skin. It’s just that Japanese people tend to have yellowish skin tones compared to Koreans. They’re also more prone to sun spots and freckles when exposed to the sun’s UV rays.
So, to protect their skin, they stay out of the sun and wear protective clothes like pants and long sleeves whenever they go outdoors. They also use skincare products to keep their skin young, healthy-looking, and as white as possible.
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9. Body Type
Korean men are also conscious of their bodies. Instead of the typical macho man look, they focus on achieving an androgynous body as it’s the ideal body type that the beauty standards insist and Korean women prefer.
But it’s not the same for Japanese men as they want their bodies to look bigger and muscular. However, based on the social video interview above, the majority of respondents (Japanese women) find muscular and skinny men unattractive, which explains why some Japanese men tend to maintain an androgynous body just like Koreans.
10. Style and Fashion
Aside from facial features and physique, we can also differentiate Korean and Japanese men through their style, as South Korea and Japan are notable trendsetters in fashion.
In Korea, there’s K-pop fashion style, classic-elegant style, and urban-edgy style. But most Korean men go for their country’s current fashion trend called K-streetwear. It features mixed rock and hip-hop styles.
On the other hand, Japanese men love to get creative with different types of streetwear, such as elegant streetwear, casual streetwear, and a mix of tradition and streetwear that highlights the Japanese Kimono-inspired coat. Another trending fashion is the Harajuku style which allows Japanese men to go funky with their style.
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Last difference in this article about Korean men vs Japanese men: the personality!
South Korea and Japan have a rich history, but their culture is different. Therefore, people, especially men, in each country also have distinct characteristics and personalities.
Korean men eat lots of spicy foods and garlic, which contain higher levels of capsaicin. Since food is associated with emotion, spicy foods can increase aggression and irritability. So, Korean men tend to be energetic, hot-tempered, and emotional.
Meanwhile, there are only a few spicy foods in Japanese cuisine compared to Korean cuisine, which explains why Japanese men are cooler, calmer, and more measured.
Also, Japanese men tend to be more shy as they like to keep to themselves. It’s probably close to the notion of being polite because Japanese people, in general, really value kindness and politeness.
But this doesn’t mean that Koreans are not well-mannered. In fact, Korean men should always speak in honorific language when talking to elders and other people.
Additionally, Japanese men are less likely to assert themselves than Korean men. It’s believed that it has something to do with parenting, as Korean parents tend to discipline their children strictly. For instance, education in Korea is more competitive than in Japan as they consider it the key to success in life.
No matter how similar Korean and Japanese men look, there are still many facial, physical, and personality differences between them. You might not notice these differences at first glance, but you’ll be surprised how easily you’ll be able to tell them apart!
Now that you know the differences between Korean men and Japanese men, we challenge you to take fun ‘Guess The Asian’ quizzes on the internet! Feel free to share with us your score and thoughts in the comment section below.