Pretty cool old anthropology article on the Chinese and Japanese races. It’s wrong in some ways, but it still has a lot that should be of value. Obviously such an article could not appear in any anthropology journal today, which is pitiful. Blame PC for that.
The Races of China and Japan
by Harry Paxton Howard
The China Weekly Review, Vol. 60 (12 March 1932), pp. 48–50
The Chinese and Japanese are two separate and distinct peoples, as separate and distinct as is the southern Italian from the Norwegian taken in the mass. There is no scientific basis for the assertion that they are of the same race, and indeed anyone at all familiar with the two peoples is readily able to distinguish between the general type. There is the lesser height of the Japanese (due mainly to shorter legs), the more rugged features, the sharper, longer, and narrower eyes (usually black as compared with the typical Chinese brown), the more brownish skin-color, the much greater frequency of beard.
On the other hand, there are certain sub-types which both peoples possess and which make it possible for thousands of Japanese in this country to pass as Chinese, while there are many pure Chinese who may be mistaken for Japanese. The reason for this is that each people is a mixture of different elements. Some of the elements are common to both peoples. Some elements one people possesses but not the other.
Chinese Racial Origins
Many anthropologists have devoted themselves to analyzing and distinguishing the racial elements in the two countries. Buxton, Li Chi, Shirokogoroff and some others have given special study to the Chinese people, and all distinguish different types among the population, as do also Haddon, Morant and others.
The most complete study to date is that made by Dr. Stevenson of the P.U.M.C. at Peiping, in his ‘Collected Anthropometric Data on the Chinese,’ showing at least two distinct types, though Stevenson is too cautious a scientist to state any definite conclusions as yet. And as regards racial origins in the North, the data given in Black’s study of skulls from prehistoric sites in Kansu and Honan suggest answers to some long-debated problems when considered in connection with some physical types already distinguished by different anthropologists.
First of all there is a Chinese type which is also found among the Manchus and by students is regarded as the fundamental ‘Manchu’ type. It is of short or medium stature, with broad head, low orbits (apparently associate with a long and narrow eye-slit), narrow nose often aquiline, frequently fair and ruddy skin. This type exists in Manchuria and in North China today, and is found further south as well.
Secondly, there is a type which, if placed side by side with the foregoing, will show marked differences. It is taller, with longer skull, wider forehead, higher orbits (‘rounder’ and more open eye), broader nose. It is frequent in North China, but is found to be predominant and characteristic among the Kham Tibetans of the territory adjoining Kansu.
The Primitive Mixture
The study of prehistoric skulls referred to above indicates the existence of these very types in the China of four thousand years ago. The earliest skulls, from Neolithic cities in Kansu and Honan, present ‘several suggestive similarities to Kham Tibetans’ though differing from more recent North China skulls in being longer, ‘with somewhat wide foreheads and longer skull bases, and slightly broader palates and lower orbits.’
The aspects in which these Neolithic skulls differ from the Kham Tibetans, however, are very significant. In addition to the Tibetan type, they include a type with broader head, narrow nose, and lower orbits. Such features are characteristic of the Manchu type referred to above, which fact leaves little doubt that the Neolithic people were a mixture of these Kham Tibetan and ‘Manchu’ types.
Judging from their later distribution, it is probable that the ‘Manchu’ type was more characteristic of the Honan communities, the Kham Tibetan type of those in Kansu, but the study referred to above, unfortunately, does not distinguish between the two localities, grouping them all together as ‘Yang Shao’ (Neolithic).
The Turkish Element
Others of these prehistoric communities, evidently later in date and showing the use of bronze in addition to stone, show the addition of another type which, combined with the previous ones, makes up a mixture hardly distinguishable from the Northern Chinese of more recent times. As previously stated, the primitive mixture differed from the more recent by its narrower skull, broader foreheads, and lower orbits. The new type evidently possessed a broader skull, with relatively narrower forehead and higher orbits.
These features are characteristic of the Turki, with their broad skull, long oval face, and generally non-Mongolian eyes. From the study mentioned…it would appear that the lower orbits are generally an Oriental characteristic. They are apparently associated with the longer, narrower eye. No other race in this part of the world seems to possess just these characteristics, and we know that the early home of the Turkish peoples was somewhere in the interior of Asia. It is an interesting confirmation of the theory held by many historical students (e.g., Hirth), on different grounds, that the Turkish element is present and is of some significance in China.
[It should be understood that the word Turki here refers not to the tribe, but to the racial stock. This stock is predominant among the Turkish peoples, though now apparently mixed with other elements.]
This element, indeed, would explain the presence of the occasional ‘hairy’ type among the Chinese. Most Chinese, like Mongolian peoples as a whole, have little hair either on face on body. The Turki, however, possess a plentiful beard, and a fair supply of hair on the body as well, in distinct contrast to the Mongolian peoples. We find some Chinese possess beards and growth of hair on the body, and the Turkish element would account for this. Hairiness, indeed, is a distinguishing feature of Chinese Moslems, who quite clearly have a strong non-Mongolian element in them.
This Turkish element seems to have come in together with bronze in the legendary period just preceding more definite history. The early Hsiung-nu (on the plains to the north of the Yellow River in ancient China) appear to have been Turkish, and Hirth believes that the Chou Dynasty was of Turkish origin. It was apparently in the second millennium B.C. that this element became mixed with the Kham Tibetans and Manchu types referred to above, producing a mixture similar to that of North China today.
There is, however, a fourth type, of the presence of which Chinese history leaves no doubt whatsoever – the Mongol. This type, distinguished from the mass of Chinese by the lowness of the Mongol head and breadth of the face and head, as well as the little flat nose and low stature, has apparently existed for long in the Chinese mixture. Its coming into China was during the historic period, with one invasion after another by Mongol peoples (as well as by others) during the past two thousand years.
There may be distinguished, therefore, four racial types of some importance in North China,— the Manchu, the Kham Tibetan, the Turki, and the Mongol. These four elements, with their combinations, seem to account for every type of any frequency in North China and are found further south as well.
It should be noted however, that three of the types, judging from their present-day representatives, possess certain essential characters of the Mongolian group – hair straight, black, and scanty on face and body; eyes usually relatively long and narrow, generally brown in color, and commonly with the characteristic Mongolian eye-fold; skin color varying from yellowish-white to yellow-brown, though there are fair and ruddy complexions also.
The Turki are closer to the Caucasian owing to their abundant hair on face and body, frequently if not typically wavy; eyes generally full and round (though often – apparently through admixture – with Mongolian fold); skin color from pinkish-white to brown.
The above-named elements are characteristic of North China, but they extend into the South as well. Here, however, they come into contact with other types rarely found among natives of the North. First of all there is an element with wavy or even curly hair, open and round non-Mongolian eye, short stature but relatively long legs, long and narrow head, and broad nose. These characters, which set this type distinctly apart from the Mongolian races, belong to many southern aborigines as well as Chinese, distinguishing a race which Buxton and Haddon link up with the Indonesians or Nesiots.
There is still another element present in the South, a quite different race but now generally mixed with other types – the Negrito. This type is characterized by its woolly hair, very short stature, very dark skin and broad nose, and full or thick lips. Li Chi and other anthropologists have pointed out indications of such a type.
It appears indeed, that the occasionally curly-haired Chinese in the south is usually a cross between this woolly-haired type and either the wavy-haired Indonesian or straight-haired Mongolian element. And other Negroid characters such as prognathism, black skin, pigmentation of the eye, the full or even thick lips also occur. Negrito peoples still exist scattered over a considerable area in southeastern Asia and the adjoining islands, and probably at one time occupied a much greater part of southeastern Asia than at present.
Stevenson believes there is still another type present in the South which he terms Polynesian, rather similar to the Indonesian but with finer and more prominent features.
The Chinese Mixture
There are therefore several races or sub-races among the Chinese people. There is indeed little agreement among anthropologists as to what constitutes a race, some defining 19 or 20, others 40-60, among the peoples of the earth.
There is wide agreement among competent anthropologists, however, as to certain broad divisions of the human species, and Boas…recognizes two main divisions, the Caucasian-Mongolian and the Afro-Australian.
In the first division the Mongolians have straight black hair, flat or broad face, Mongolian eye-fold, frequently yellowish (though often fair, ruddy, or brown) skin color. The Caucasian hair is often wavy or curly and of lighter color, and the Mongolian eye-fold and yellowish skin color are ordinarily absent. The most fundamental distinction between the two however is the relative hairiness of the Caucasian and the hairlessness (on face and body) of the Mongolian.
The Blacks of the second division differ from both members of the first division by their woolly or frizzly hair, their black skin (with a degree of pigmentation which even affects the eye), their frequently thick and everted lips, and by actual bodily proportions, the Negro leg being differently formed from that of ‘White’ or ‘Yellow’ man. The most marked point of distinction between Negro and Australian is the relative hairiness of the latter and the fact that this hair is not woolly but curly or frizzly.
Of these four main physical divisions of mankind we find the Mongolian most common in China. The extent of the Caucasian element depends upon how the Indonesian and Turkish types are classified. Some group the Indonesians with Caucasians because of their wavy or curly hair and open, round, non-Mongolian eye. Elliott Smith groups them together with the Mediterranean peoples as the Brown Race. The Turki are also a people regarding whose classification there is a difference of opinion, their straight black hair making it possible to group them with the Mongolians, while its abundance and their lack of other specifically Mongolian characters marks them as Caucasian.
Besides the Mongolian and Caucasian elements in China, there is only the Negrito, which is slight. We find, therefore, six recognized types in China, three being Mongolian – the Mongol, Manchu, and Kham Tibetan (though Morant thinks the last-named type is not Mongolian at all – two being classifiable as ‘Caucasian – the Turki and the Indonesians – and one being Negrito. There are some other rather infrequent physical types not yet clearly defined and classified.
Japanese Racial Origins
The racial analysis of the Japanese is in some ways easier than that of the Chinese owing to their being concentrated in a very much smaller area and owing to their being a more recent mixture of which the various elements are still fairly distinct in many cases. Three thousand years ago the ‘North China’ type seems to have already been formed, with its Manchu, Tibetan, and Turkish elements, but nothing whatever is known of the Japanese at that period. In the next thousand years the Chinese penetrated into the south and mixed with the Indonesian and other non-Mongolian elements there, but still nothing is known of the Japanese.
There are indications however that while this continual push to the southward was taking place on the mainland, there were movements in a northerly direction off and along the coast. Just when this movement of a southern maritime people reached Kyushu, the big southern island of Japan, we do not know, but it was probably not much before the Christian era. The present distribution of physical types in Japan, however, and their outside associations permit us to outline roughly the development which took place there just as we have done for China.
The early natives of the Japanese islands were the short, fair-skinned, hairy, non-Mongolian people known as the Ainu, now found, in fairly pure form in their communities only in Hokkaido, the most northerly of the three big islands but probably occupying practically the whole of the main island (Hondo) two thousand years ago. This people, whose affinities are Caucasian and who indeed show much resemblance to certain Russian types, were steadily driven north by the invasion from the south, continuing for century after century.
Negritos and Malays
In Kyushu there may have been another element – Negrito – prior to the maritime invasion. The wide territory over which the Negritos are scattered and the probability that they formerly occupied a much greater area than at present has already been referred to. At the present time, as regards Japan, this type seems more common in Kyushu than elsewhere, though it is scattered through the islands, and clearly recognizable Negroid or specifically Negrito types can be noted, though generally mixed with other elements.
In speaking of the Japanese types, our task is simplified by the fact that most of the racial types have already been defined for China. When we speak of the Malays therefore we can state the general type by simply noting that anthropologists tend to regard this type as a mixture of the Indonesian peoples with a Mongolian element from the north. The Mongolian element is shown more specifically in the eyes; the Indonesian in the short stature and occasionally wavy hair. The Malays themselves therefore are an ancient mixture – how old we do not know, though perhaps more recent than the early North China mixture.
This brown Malay element is probably the most important type in Japan, but for fully two thousand years it has been mixed with the Negrito, and also with types from the Asiatic mainland via Korea. These mainland types are of interest here.
Manchus and Ainus
The earliest known center of civilization in Japan was at a point opposite Korea where certain types evidently came across from the mainland. Among these types there was the ‘Manchu’ type which has already been defined, and probably the ‘North China’ type which had already been formed from the mixture of different elements previously referred to. There are Malay and other elements in Korea also.
Of these elements, the Manchu-Korean appears to have left the widest traces in Japan. Though there was some Chinese migration both in prehistoric and historic times, this was not sufficient in quantity or contained too little of the tall Kham Tibetan type, to affect the short Malay physique to any extent. The ‘Chinese type’ however is distinctly present in Japan, though its proportion to the whole is apparently not great.
Far more important than the Chinese element was that of the White aborigines, the savage Ainu.
As the Japanese people (mainly Malay but mixed with Negrito, some Manchu-Korean, and a slighter Chinese element) advanced northward in their steady conquest of the islands, they exterminated, enslaved, or absorbed those of the natives who did not give war before them. They certainly absorbed a very large number of them, as is shown today by the frequency of individuals with Ainu characteristics among the Japanese.
Most recognizable is the Ainu hairiness. Some have estimated that the Japanese people of today are more than one-third Ainu, though this figure is probably too high.
The Japanese Mixture
When we consider the four main physical divisions of mankind already referred to we find the Japanese are a quite different mixture from the Chinese.
While the Malay element is apparently of most importance, this must itself be divided into Mongolian and Indonesian. Another Mongolian element is seen in the Manchu-Korean type and in the occasional ‘Chinese’ type (which includes however other elements). The Mongolian element is therefore the most important quantitatively speaking, though this includes much more of the Manchu type than is the case with the Chinese, as shown by the long, narrow eyes characteristic of the Japanese.
The extent of the Caucasian element depends partly on how the Indonesians are classified, but there is little doubt of the essentially Caucasian characters of the hairy Ainu. The importance of the Negrito element is considerable, much greater than in China.
We find, therefore, six recognizable types in Japan, three being Mongolian – the Manchu type, and the Mongolian elements in the Malays and Chinese – two being classifiable as ‘Caucasians’ – the Ainu and the Indonesians – and one being Negrito.
Through the different methods of combination in the Japanese and Chinese peoples, therefore, we can see some of the reasons for the physical differences between the two. There is little sign among the Japanese of the Kham Tibetan and Turkish types which add height to the Chinese (particularly the northern Chinese) as well as making for a rounder and more open eye. There is no sign among the Chinese of the Ainu type which gives the more frequent hairiness and more rugged features to the Japanese. And so we have two separate people, generally easily distinguishable but containing many individuals of similar types.
Probably more important than race, however, are other differences. For four thousand years and more, the Chinese people have been agricultural villagers, tillers of the soil, conquered by pastoral nomads from time to time but absorbing their conquerors.
But for most of this period, the Japanese were a maritime people, raiding their way north and in the islands of Japan conquering and absorbing a White native population even more savage than themselves. China’s age of military feudalism came to an end two thousand years ago, and though there have been relapses, the essential principles of private ownership and a peasantry free from feudal shackles have remained.
But at that time Japan had not yet emerged from the darkness of savagery, and when many centuries later the light of Chinese civilization shed its rays over the islands, it illuminated a primitive military feudalism which continued to exist down to two short generations ago. The inhabitants of the islands cultivate the soil, but the peasantry remained serfs under feudal masters until a little over half a century ago, and military feudalism remained the law of the land.
It is differences in psychology resulting from these things which are probably more vital and fundamental than the physical differences between the two peoples…