Chinese vs Japanese Eyes: Detailed Distinction Here!

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The difference between Chinese and Japanese eyes is a topic of interest for many people. While both cultures have unique facial features, the eyes are often a defining characteristic that sets them apart. In this article, we will take a closer to Chinese vs Japanese eyes, including their physical appearance, cultural significance, and the role they play in art and media.

Round, hooded eyes, almond-shaped, and monolid are only some of the various eye shapes that can be observed among us.

By exploring these aspects in detail, we aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of the distinction between Japanese eyes vs Chinese.

What Are Chinese Eyes?

The Chinese eyes are eyes that have an epicanthic fold. These folds create a distinct look of the eyelid, making their eyes look smaller and thinner at the same time. These eyes can be found in people who are from China or have a Chinese descent.

The people of this region are believed to have descended from the Cantonese, Hoklo, and Hakka lineages and according to some anthropological studies, also from the Mongols. 

Japanese Eyes

The eyes of Japanese people have an epicanthic fold to create the look of an eyelid. They especially need the epicanthic fold because the Japanese eye shape is generally, just a slit from in between making them look very small and expanded.

Used to refer to the eye structure of people belonging to the islands of Japan. The native people of Japan are descendants of the Yayoi and Jomon people and are closely related to other East Asian ethnicities as well, such as that from Korea

What Are Korean Eyes?

The Korean eyes are eye shapes that belong to the Korean peninsula. The very distinct feature of the Korean eyes is the mono-lids, which makes dual-lids a beauty standard in the country.

Just like the Japanese eye shape, Korean eyes are also small in size, but because of the mono-lid features, they do not need any extra enhancement.

Similarities & Differences: Chinese vs. Japanese eyes

chinese vs japanese eyes

Asia is the largest continent with near around 50 countries present in the continent. There is bound to be present, a difference in Asian eyes in a continent of this size! Thus, even though Chinese and Japanese are entirely different and distinct ethnic groups, they still share common ancestors.

Their most recent common ancestor dates back to about 3,000 years ago. That can explain the identical facial features they possess and most importantly the similarities between Chinese eyes and Japanese eyes.

Eye Size

Contrary to popular belief, East Asian and Southeast Asian people don’t actually have smaller eyes compared to people from the West. Instead, the structure surrounding the eyes is such that it makes them look smaller.

Between Chinese vs. Japanese eyes, Chinese eyes generally appear to be smaller than Japanese eyes. This may be due to the relative difference in facial shapes and sizes of the Chinese and Japanese people. 

Chinese faces tend to be rounder and flatter which would cause the eyes to look smaller compared to a Japanese face, which is narrower and makes the eyes appear slightly bigger.

Eye Shape

We already know there are differences in Asian eyes if one cares to look more closely and attentively. Chinese eyes are usually anywhere from almond-shaped to oval, while Japanese eyes are more definitively oval-shaped and tend to be on the rounder side.

The result is that Chinese eyes look more angular compared to Japanese eyes, which in turn also contributes to the perceived size difference between them.

Angle Of Placement

Japanese eyes and Chinese eyes are angled downwards—that is, compared to the inner corner, the outer corner of the eye is turned slightly downwards towards the cheekbone.

On the other hand, Japanese eyes are angled upwards—that is, the outer corner of the eye is turned slightly up towards the brow bone, making it have the opposite angle orientation to Chinese eyes.


difference between japanese and chinese eyes

As mentioned earlier, between Chinese vs. Japanese eyes, the former ones are set closer together on a relatively flatter and wider facial structure. As a result, Chinese eyes look smaller and are not a very prominent feature of the face. 

Japanese people, on the other hand, have a comparatively longer and narrower face with eyes that are set wider apart, making them look bigger and hence a more prominent feature of the face.


Chinese eyes have single-edged eyelids, with a very prominent epicanthic fold (the fold over the inner corner of the eye).

The crease of the eye is a very rare occurrence among Chinese people and even when it is present, it is not very distinctive.

Japanese eyes, on the other hand, are double-edged, meaning they have clearly defined corners and a slightly more distinctive crease than Chinese eyes. The epicanthic fold is also not as prominent.

Differences Based On Sex And Age

Chinese vs. Japanese eyes differences

Among the Chinese, women tend to have smaller eyes than men. For the Japanese, it is vice versa, that is, women have larger eyes than men on average.

Women of both ethnicities also tend to have longer and more curved eyelashes than men.

For both demographics, the appearance of the eyes changes with age, with the eyes turning downwards and losing at least some of the definition of their shape as the person progresses in age.

Korean vs. Chinese vs. Japanese Eyes

You all have already been made aware that the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean eyes are very different from each other even when their basic structure is the same. There is the epicanthic fold and a small eye size illusion in them, the mono-lids, etc., that are common features of East Asian eyes. But even in these features, there are classifications that make their ethnicity identifiable!

Starting with the Chinese, the most distinctive feature of their eyes is the slanting edges. This slanting edge also gives them a foxy look. These eyes are not just found in Chinese descendants but in some Koreans and Japanese as well, but it is a typical feature of the Chinese eyes.

The Japanese eyes are more defined, compared to Korean or Chinese eyes. They too have the slanting feature, but it is very meager and vague. Almost not there. Their lower eyelids are puffier, in contrast to Chinese and Korean eyes’ upper eyelids. Japanese eyes come nearest in similarity with the South-East Asian eyes, even if it is not more than 40% of similarity.

The Korean eyes have a few distinct features that make it stand out quite a lot among other East Asians. These features are the hooded eyelid, the clearly defined mono-lid, the stretched-up lower eyelids, etc… These features are definitely present in Japanese and Chinese eyes as well, the only difference is that they aren’t defined well like the Korean ones.

I think I made it pretty clear regarding what to look out for in someone’s eyes when you’re mentally calculating their ethnicity.

Difficulties In Differentiation

When discussing the differences between the features of Chinese and Japanese people, it is important to keep in mind that these two ethnicities are quite closely related and there are no surefire ways to differentiate between them.

  • The geographical and climate conditions of the two regions are similar, so the evolutionary changes that came in the people along with time are also similar.
  • One can argue, though, that Japan is a group of islands whose population has remained largely secluded amongst itself for millennia. That is enough to cause the conjecture that they might have evolved some distinguishing features of their own.
  • That said, it is to be noted that China is a very vast country and its population is extremely diversified, with several languages, subgroups, and sub-races to be found within mainland China itself. All of that makes it very difficult to generalize the Chinese position into one standard appearance. 
  • Furthermore, there has been much immigration and cross-matches between the two countries as well causing their appearances to be influenced by each other to a degree.

All of these factors combined make it rather hard to tell the difference between features of various East Asian and Southeast Asian ethnicities.

Trying to narrow down or compare the appearance of any specific feature between these two ethnicities, therefore, is like trying to differentiate between ethnicities within the Caucasian races. 

For instance, you can easily tell an Asian and a Caucasian person apart based on their features but it is much harder to differentiate between, say, a French and a German person. Similarly, it is a hard and somewhat futile task to try and differentiate between Chinese and Japanese features.


Chinese and Japanese eyes have arguably very few points of difference based on which meaningful distinctions can be made between the two.

Some of the presumed differences include a difference in eye size, shape, and angle of placement.

One can also differentiate between the two on the basis of their placement on the face.

However, it is crucial to note that none of the points discussed above can be considered unerring a hundred percent of the time and should, therefore, be considered only a rough guideline instead of a concrete metric.

The only surefire way to know when you’re in doubt as to the ethnicity of a person is just to ask!

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Tessa Reynolds
Meet Tessa Reynolds, who lives in Denver, Colorado. She likes to write about sunglasses, and eye makeup so that she can share her knowledge, and help all the people who need something for their eyes. When she is not writing, you can find her skiing in the mountains of Colorado.