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East Meets West: An Infographic Portrait by Yang Liu

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The artist and visual designer Yang Liu was born in China and lives in Germany since she was 14. By growing up in two very different places with very different traditions she was able to experience the differences between the two cultures first-hand.

Drawing from her own experience Yang Liu created minimalistic visualizations using simple symbols and shapes to convey just how different the two cultures are. The blue side represents Germany (or western culture) and the red side China (or eastern culture):

Lifestyle: Independent vs. dependent Lifestyle: Independent vs. dependent

Attitude towards punctuality Attitude towards punctuality

At a party At a party

Ideal of beauty Ideal of beauty

Elderly in day to day life Elderly in day to day life

The boss The boss

Noise level inside a restaurant Noise level inside a restaurant

Problem-solving approach Problem-solving approach

Size of the individual's ego Size of the individual’s ego

Perception: How Germans and the Chinese see one another Perception: How Germans and the Chinese see one another

How to stand in line How to stand in line

Complexity of self-expression Complexity of self-expression

Traveling and recording memories Traveling and recording memories

Connections and contacts Connections and contacts

Three meals a day Three meals a day

Animals Animals

Anger Anger

Moods and weather Moods and weather

Read an interview with Liu about the project here.

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  • Johnny from Taiwan says:

    As a native Taiwanese who spent the first two decades in the States, then returning to Taiwan for the last two decades, I have one thought running through my mind after seeing her work, INGENUITY! Just look at all the comments and debates along with criticisms, she has successfully raised an issue from both cultures. This girl should go into advertising, considering her young age. Though I don’t agree with all her views, I can see why many people share her views. It is just a cartoon drawn by a very talented young Asian girl living in Europe, trying to differentiate two cultures in quite a humorous fashion. Thumbs up to this girl! Keen perception! I don’ t think racism applies here, maybe some stereotyping but it sure is interesting! PS: Only one major frown, having travelled most of Asia, the ” how to stand in line” part is poorly represented for the East. Indeed, in China, we often see people not waiting in line or even cut in front of the line. We can see that in Hong Kong Disneyland, where one person from China would discretely cut in front of you ( sometimes they even send their children to do this,but is that the way to educate your young ones?), and advance further up as the 30 minute wait progresses, then that person would turn and signal for his or her party to join up, heck 10-20 people would squeeze past you ( most Westerners cannot differentiate Asian, from China or Taiwan, or from Japan, but usually us Asians can tell the differences by tone or language). If you visit Taipei, Tokyo or Soeul, you can see people politely waiting in line to get on the bus. Recently, I’ve come to the understanding why this is so much different in China. Imagine growing up and competing with billions of people, so if you WAIT politely in line, you end up going nowhere! But I am seeing some improvements over the last 2-3 years and that is very encouraging. Nowadays, you see young moms telling her children to wait in line like everyone else, education is a must and will take some time for a whole nation to wake up and catch up with the rest of the world, amidst their newly found prosperity! In addition, I like to mention that the traffic and driving habits in the East versus the West are completely different even in my country. Here, pedestrians wait for cars or motorcycle to pass, whereas in Irvine, a car would wait and let you walk across the road (still cannot adjust everytime I return to Taiwan, haha). But, in France or Italy, we might run into more frantic drivers too! Hope my comments does not rage a feud between readers from Taiwan and China!

    • Bo says:

      I am an expat from South Korea living in America (and Europe in the past). I had that one disagreement in terms of lines too, but I totally agree with your point on how this is true in China.
      A friend of mine from Korea who went to China to study had an exact experience. She tried to make a line for the bus, but realized that no one was in line. She missed bus many times doing this. She was really mad at Chinese people at first, but then she realized that she will never get in bus if she doesn’t do the same. So now, she pushes through the masses of people to get into the bus. It’s true, if there are so many people trying to ride bus, if you come late, you will never get on the bus. So it’s a way of making an order too haha. Survival of the strongest and the most persistent.

    • Rob says:

      I’ve seen people cut in line in Taiwan aplenty and they also get onto subway trains(MRT) while others are getting out. As far as traffic laws tend to be flouted from driving with lights off on scooters at night(to save gas lol) to ignoring traffic lights.

  • Lilian says:

    I agree wirh her depiction of Western and Eastern (South East Asia, China and Hong Kong) culture.

  • Ratu says:

    Only the PRC behave and think exactly like that but not other asians.

    • h t c h e w says:

      Asians are disunited, unlike the Europeans with EU. Dishormany (not Harmonious) thus non-unity – since when ? ( BC or AC ) there were and are endless fightings and killings in the Asia (within/among their own kinds) Africa (within/among themselves) and Middle East ( upto this days / hours / minutes / seconds ) Why the endless killings of human beings among these three civilizations? Anyway, what is life? It is just a sojourn on this small planet – a brief journey for all things – living or otherwise. W h a t i s t h e o p p o i s i t e s p e l l i n g of t h e w o r d : LIVE? E V I L ( i am originated from the LITTLE RED DOT.

    • Brian says:

      Ratu, you are right. And it’s the same for the west. All Europeans are not like the Germans. China has hundreds of languages, India has hundreds of languages. Europe has many more languages than countries, and each language represents a different culture or sub-culture.

      This is why we don’t want to rely on stereotypes.

    • c a t says:

      couldn’t agree more.

    • Rob says:

      Brian you are right. I remember a book commenting on how in the US in Polish neighborhoods lines for theaters were more like the red representation and in German neighborhoods were like the blue one

  • Su says:

    Well abit intro I’m Indonesia Chinese, I speak fluently mandarin, Hokkien and Indonesia too obviously. Plus I have been living in Singapore for almost a decade..
    Well my point is.. It doesn’t matter where we are from. What is ur race, how long have you been living on board. This article just shows us how unique people in this world. How colorful of lifestyle we all have. Indeed is pretty true what she mentioned above! Especially the Q LOL…: D

    And very surprise with all comment.. Dude pls don’t think she is races, indeed is interesting to know about the different. If we think our eastern is not good as western then we should learn to change better.

  • John says:

    One perhaps can see a bit of both on opposite sides of the different distinctions drawn here, but having said that, perceptions often do not depict reality.

  • light says:

    this infographic is funny and amusing. lighten up people, it’s an artist point of view.

  • Mich. says:

    Im sorry, But i do agree with alot of the visualizations. I lived in Germany until i was 13, then spent 3 years in the states and 3 years in Korea. so i have seen alot of Asia including China. I have traveled through Europe. So i think this is more of visualization and generalization, yes, but it is also pretty accurate. this coming from a german! i speak Korean and German and loved both cultures. and i have seen how europeans (Germans) perceive Asians and vice versa.

  • Leila says:

    Nice infographic, very well said both have positive and negative sides which only means nobody’s perfect whatever kind of blood run on our nerves. So do not judge each other and just respect each individualities because we are all just humans.

  • Liwah says:

    the title of the book is MISLEADING that it contributes lots to the wrong concept among Europeans – Asia = China or East = China. Yang Liu ONLY lives in Germany and China before, and she makes such generalization?! China is a huge country but it can never represent the whole eastern part of the globe. The country itself is so not civilized and the people are still struggling to catch up in everything. I am an oversea born Chinese, I speak Mandarin (I am not as single lingual as most of the Chinese (from China) though) and I learn Chinese history since primary school, I know how to read, write and speak, I know the culture and everytime when I am in China, people thought I am a mainlander because I can speak as good as them! But look, I dont enjoy at all, because I dont like to be part of them! not the rude race! not the loud race! not the barbarians! To me, Chinese (from China) are pathetic, narrow minded and uncivilized. I’m afraid that Yang Liu is somehow narrow minded as well, especially when she used the word ‘East’ and ‘West’. Come on, open your eyes and see the world! I have been living in Germany for 5 years, and I still met some pathetic Germans or Europeans who never have the chance to step out of their homelands, telling me that Asia = China?!

    all in all, this book is a big shame. Yang Liu, stop imposing Chinese things into the rest of Asia, you have to stop doing this if you want to be different from other Chinese from China.

    • AG says:

      Your article sums up yourself – pathetic and narrow minded. Open up and enjoy life!

    • Jimmy Liu says:

      Sounds like we got ourselves an individual with identity and self-loathing issues.

      I’ll bet you secretly wish that you had a caucasian phenotype as well, doncha?

  • Doc says:

    I am shocked at the naivety of so many comments. I would argue that instead of comparing two cultures, the graphics and this whole dialogue we are in here is ONE world view. It sees all difference as “culture”, personal experience above evidence, and throws political, historical, economic, and other contexts out the window.

    Consider these:
    *The picture of the party and the boss represent Stalinism as much as Chinese culture. Remember that Stalinism, and later whatever you want to call China is now- greatly replaced “Chinese culture” in th ways people’s lives are organized. By the way, if she wasn’t 14 she would have had work experience and adjusted the picture to include a few medium size people as the right hand men, next in line to be chairman types. Also if she was 100 years old, she would know about Chinese culture, rather than post-Stalinist conditions (which is what her parents grew up in).

    If you want to find Chinese culture in our age, you don’t go to China, but to the Chinese diaspora.

    *For almost all of the history of Europe and the USA, and many more places, white skin has been the beauty ideal. Sun Tans were invented in the 1960s.

    *There is no class representation in the drawings, a customer service worker in the west is much more likely to give a fake smile than one in China. But at work all Chinese rich people will smile. Like the ones who have can send their kids to Germany or get EU passports.

    *In fact, a great many of what is represented here as Chinese culture used to be the rule in Europe, and is still the rule in many places that don’t fit into east vs west (most of the world?).

    And by the way I have lived in many countries, including China, and no that is not what qualifies my opinion.
    The girl’s art is useful and vaild of course, but it shouldn’t be taken as “right on”, as it is really very personal, but so simplistic that you see what you want to see in it.

    For example, bodyshape ideals in the media or popular imagination no longer match up between working class urban chinese citizens and say, North Americans or even Brazilians. Though I am sure for some upper class Americans they would. Since white skin (alongside tan) is still considered pretty on girls (not most guys?) in much of euro-american media, I think the bigger difference is body shape.

    • Mcfly says:

      You are such a hero!!!
      lol Sun tans were INVENTED in the 1960’s!!!!!!!!
      Give it up for the Doc everyone! :D

  • Joseph says:

    There should be another picture made about toilet etiquette, with Asian dudes standing on toilet seats, pissing all over everything, and spitting on the floor, and western dudes aiming for the bowel…

  • Alice Zindagi says:

    Doesn’t surprise me in the least. There are a lot of differences between cultures that can’t be argued. It just is, and to try and deny these differences is pure ignorance. The problem that I often see is that many people from Western and Eastern cultures often find each other interesting and would like to pursue relationships with each other, but because there are often unrecognized differences like these, it can be very difficult to relate to each other. In particular, I often find a lot of Asian men who would love to pursue Western women, but culture can make things hard. “But does she like me? How do I know if she likes me?”


    I think the important thing to remember is that two opposing cultures aren’t necessarily unrelatable, and we shouldn’t deny ourselves a romantic opportunity because we think we won’t understand. Go for it anyway, you never know what gems you might find.

  • Karl says:

    What is the tree one even about? It just looks like in China they have carnivorous trees.

  • J says:

    can someone explain the ideal of beauty to me? i noticed that both are the same size/shape so both german & chinese people like skinny tall women? but the girl in the german box is black? does this mean they see black women as the ideal beauty? i’m chinese so i know chinese women & men idealize western beauty.

    • eraniadorex says:

      It’s meant to show that the west prefers women with darker skin, while in Chinese the cultural ideal is for pale skin. It probably stems from the holdover an inversion of class structure. In the west (now), you have to be wealthy to afford the leisure of being outside and getting tan on vacation. If you’re pale you’re always inside. In China, while not so much the case any more, the ideal is that if you are darker skinned, you work outside, probably as a farmer, and are therefore poor. It is is the women who are wealthier that can not exert themselves outdoors, and thus pale skin is a luxury.

    • A says:

      It has to do with Westerners tend to idealize tan skin, where-as Asian cultures much prefer whiter skin.

    • Wetcoaster says:

      Fair skin is considered attractive in many (most?) East Asian countries. Tans are associated with poorer classes of society that must spend a lot of time outside due to work or are forced to walk outside a lot due to inability to afford other means of transport and are thus exposed to lots of sunlight (farmers, manual labourers, rural people).

      I think the West may have had similar associations in the Victorian era, but tans are likely considered attractive because they are associated with outdoor leisure, active hobbies (and youthful vigour), athleticisim, and the ability to afford the time and money to partake in such activities.

    • S says:

      The black is the idea that Germans see tanned as beauty while the white is in the desire that the Chinese have for pale porcelain skin.

    • ujk says:

      I’m not sure about Germans specifically, but I know that in western society in general, being tan is considered attractive, whereas in China, being pale is considered beautiful.

    • Ali says:

      I think the ideal of beauty is talking about how different people idealise a particular skin colour. In Asia many women want to have white skin- you know how all the skin creams and makeup have whitening in it? The idea is that if you are poor, you have to work outdoors in the fields and you get brown skin. So if you have white skin you are rich, and therefore that is what people want.
      In the west it’s the opposite- if you have money, you can afford to go on holidays and lie in the sun, or go to a tanning salon, and therefore brown skin is what people want.

    • Lyra says:

      Hi. I think Black means tanned or dark. Westerns love to sunbathe. Asians on the other hand, are afraid of the sun. Afraid to get dark. White means more beautiful for Asians. Hence the number of whitening products in the market.

    • tanya says:

      Hi J,

      It symbolizes the way Asians prefer lighter/whiter skin while they prefer tanned skinned compared to pale skin. That’s why Asians have tons of skin whitening products and avoid the sun while Europeans are the ones sun-bathing on the beaches and go for tanning. :)

    • H says:

      My logic is – Chinese people thinks the whiter skin the better, often having a lot of whitening products, whereas German people tan their skin?

    • P says:

      The traditional standard of asian beauty is pale skinned. This was because if you were pale then that meant you had money and did not need to do manual labor and therefore were most likely rich. On the other hand, the western idealization of beauty is well tanned. This explains the black girl in the german box and the white girl in the chinese box

    • maynard says:

      In the west, caucasians want to get darker thats why tanning is a big deal. There are tanning salons and sun bathing is popular. In the east people want to have a lighter skin tone thats why whitening soaps and lotions and even supplements are big business.

    • D says:

      I think the black represents a woman having a tan whereas white is a woman who tries to stay as fair as possible and not get tanned. That was my interpretation of that picture anyway, I could be wrong.

    • LL says:

      I saw it as German women love tanning, but Chinese women like staying pale.

    • Mae says:

      well, i guess it is about a girl having a nice sun tan instead of being white ;)

    • Ana says:

      I think it refers to the skin tan, I have a Thai friend and I know they like pale skin and germans like tanned girls better.

    • Reply says:

      The German girl was made to appear darker, because a lot of Caucasian people see tanned, golden, or golden brown skin as the ultimate sign of beauty, health, and sex appeal.

      Many famous singers, models, and actors, especially the female ones, in Americanized or “Westernized” culture, tan their skin, or have procedures done to get that “warm glow”.

      Germany is Western civilized, which means they are within this reality.

      What this really means, is that somebody with pale skin would be viewed as being sickly, ugly, malnourished, strange, in need of Vitamin D etc…

      However, in China, and actually in Asia in general, light and pale colored skin tones are seen as the ideal form of beauty. This is true in Arabic culture as well, even though Arabic culture is not Asian… it’s simply the fact that they are Easternmost nations.

      Eastern nations value lighter colored skin tones. If you think about it, you never really see a very dark toned Chinese, Japanese, Thai etc… person in their media, movies, advertisements etc…

      You always see pale or light skinned people.

  • G13 says:

    I’m Korean-American (both parents are Korean immigrants) and I was born and raised in the U.S. I grew up with both western and eastern cultures and these are very true!
    BTW, THE EGOTISM WITH AMERICANS… UUUUGH. one I just… kind of don’t like about us Americans.

    • Amy says:

      I’m American, but spent some years in Asia. While I’m proud of my country, I was absolutely ashamed by the behavior of my countrymen that I met overseas (this definitely applies to the British and Australians, but to a lesser extent.) The level of self-importance was mind-boggling- from food to bathing requirements, and many others I shouldn’t mention, it made me cringe. I can definitively say that had I not lived there, I wouldn’t have noticed the decadence that Americans come to expect everywhere they go. I was ignorant in my first months, but I was quick to be humble and learn. Since returning, I still try to stay in that mindframe; it’s much healthier, and happier, for me.

  • Eurasian says:

    This is a very clever, artistic & humorous representation of one persons’ observations.
    Being of mixed nationality myself (East & west) I always love celebrating the differences and uniqueness of each culture.

    I think it’s best not to take this piece, yourself or your own culture too seriously and to celebrate what makes us different rather than cry ‘racist’ at every opportunity.

    • Great attitude! I like Beth Moore, teacher and author, saying “We want, not to be ‘color blind’ but color blessed! Enjoy each other and our individual differences!

  • pacificg says:

    Leave this to me. I’m British. I know how to queue. —HGTT Galaxy

  • MD says:

    Actually… sure that is only the Chinese view? Actually for almost all picture the Italian culture is fit perfectly!!!
    Saluti from an Italian in Germany!

    • Mimi says:

      “sure that is only the Chinese view?”

      That is her view. She does not represent 1.3 billion Chinese people.

    • LP says:

      The ego picture and the ideal of beauty picture do not fit at all for italian culture

    • Kika says:

      MD, happen to experience both, Italians and Chinese. Well, I started with Italians and Koreans, to be true. Nevertheless, so far I havent find many differences. Well, pizza and bread in Italy are more likely to please my taste :)
      (Pitty, there´s no picture about traffic.)

    • E says:

      to Mimi: There is a clear difference between “that is only the Chinese view” and “that is the only Chinese view”. You seem to have responded to the wrong one.

  • For those interested in a research-based perspective on the broad question of “Eastern” and “Western” ways of thinking, I highly recommend University of Michigan social psychology professor Richard Nisbett’s The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently . . . and Why. We use his concepts in our high school humanities courses to explore the concept of worldview. At the end of this blog entry, I have a chart in which I summarize Nisbett’s ideas comparing these two general life philosophies: http://martinschmidtinasia.wordpress.com/2011/09/12/rule-of-law-or-relational-harmony-asian-and-western-perspectives-of-right-of-abode-in-a-hong-kong-classroom/

  • jimmy K says:

    I’m a malaysian chinese and I can felt her artworks bears some personal connection with what I think of germans as well…

  • Dirk says:

    I’m German and my wife (of 15 years) is Chinese.

    We both think Yang Lui really nailed it!

    Nothing racist about it, just amusing differences in culture. :)

  • Alex says:

    Come on, gimme a break, a 14 yr old little girl can understand how much Chinese culture?

    • Frankfurt says:

      I think she nailed it as well (being half german, half chinese). and i think you misunderstand her age vs the time she started living in germany (at the age of 14). She was born in 1976 according to the link in this article (37 years old). But if she is 14, I’d be blown away even more!

    • Sarah says:

      I don’t think you read the article. She isn’t 14.

    • Greg says:

      If you read the intro again Alex you’ll see it says she moved to Germany when she was aged 14, not that she has done this work at 14 years old.

      I think a lot of them are really quite true!

  • Cherry says:

    While this is interesting and entertaining to look at, and most of which i agree with, I would just like to say that China does not represent eastern culture, or Chinese culture. There are a lot of countries out there with Chinese people who are not associated with China at all – people from Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan…etc. Yes we are Asians and yellow skinned, but no, we are not all from China.

    • Mimi says:

      No, we are not “yellow skinned”. There are no yellow skinned people in Asia. In fact, there are no yellow skinned people in the world. Look in the mirror, Cherry, and don’t lie to yourself, is your skin color really yellow?

      It’s only a Western terminology to label people they don’t understand but despise.

    • Mimi says:

      @Cherry:”that China does not represent eastern culture”

      Japan does not represent eastern culture.
      Korea does not represent eastern culture.
      Singapore does not represent eastern culture.
      Malaysia does not represent eastern culture.
      Hong Kong does not represent eastern culture.
      Taiwan does not represent eastern culture.

      No countries represent eastern culture.

      So, what is your point?

    • to mimi says:

      Yeah, and black people are really brown and white people are an awkward shade of peach.

    • Jason says:

      I spent quite some time in SE Asia, and Chinese culture is absolutely one of two enormous centres of gravity for Asian culture (the other being Indian culture). So much so that I’d say about 75% of this would apply to Thai culture.

      It’s true that there are other cultures, but there’s definitely an ‘asian-ness’ that’s underpinned by Indian and Chinese culture, philosophy and outlook.

      In the same way, by the way, that western culture is unmistakably a product of Greek and Roman culture.

    • Zetschka says:

      @Jason But Chinese and Indian cultures don’t seem similar.

    • Vivek Ananthan says:

      According to UN there are five colors, Black,Brown,Yellow, White and Red. This does not mean they are real colors, but close. Because of easy transportation we are all getting mixed pretty fast. I was born Brown in a small island, Sri Lanka currently living in the USA. Currently I have blood relatives around five major continents, due to the civil war in Sri Lanka. I have relatives in all major colors around the world due these changes.

    • Mimi says:

      @Vivek Ananthan
      Not only are they not real colors they are not even close.
      It’s not a surprise you internalized the Western propaganda.

      I’ve been to a few Indian reservations and their skin colors are not close to red by any stretch of imagination. I’ve also seen some Asian people whose skin color is lighter than some Europeans, the so called “white people”. There are also some “black” people who have blond hair, blue eyes, and white skin.

      There is no absolute correlation between race and color.

    • E says:

      @ Mimi : What boggles my mind is how capable you are of running away with a perfectly simple comment and turning it into some kind of monstrous comment it is not. Lighten up. And look up the word “undertones”. If it doesn’t educate you on the possible basis for skin colour categorisation, it should at least help you buy a suitable shade of foundation.

      That is all.

    • Rob says:

      Mimi what is a heiren(I’m not talking about the racist toothpaste)? How are heiren treated looked down on and isolated in “eastern” countries in this modern day?

  • The heavy traffic on this site indicates a strong interest in understanding the differences between East and West. My particular favorite resource in this area is University of Michigan social psychology professor Richard Nisbett’s The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently . . . and Why. I use his concepts in some of high school classes as we try to understand the concept of worldview. In this blog entry, I share how I have used Nisbett’s research. At the end I have a chart in which I summarize Nisbett’s ideas comparing Eastern and Western ways of thinking: http://martinschmidtinasia.wordpress.com/2011/09/12/rule-of-law-or-relational-harmony-asian-and-western-perspectives-of-right-of-abode-in-a-hong-kong-classroom/

  • Hugo Slade says:

    I am British and grew up in London, then lived in Vietnam for 4 years, then Shanghai for 1 year and now live in Yangon, Myanmar. I love these infographics and find them to be very accurate and very amusing. Neither side of the graphic is correct, they are just different. The cultural differences in all of these situations outlined in the infographics are very real and are fascinating to experience first hand. Once you have lived in a culture so unbelievably different from your own you begin to adapt and to take small aspects of each. I have definitely found that my behaviour, tolerance for certain things (such as punctuality), expectations and world view have changed significantly over the past 5 years. I do not believe that there is any malice intended in this social commentary but is rather a fascinating insight into a person’s experiences having lived in both respective cultures. Leave racism and xenophobia out of it. There is no room for claims of such nature when looking at pieces like this.

    A very enjoyable and clever article.

    • Olivia says:

      I agree completely. People should not take it as a scientific study and then try to tear it apart. It is an example of general differences and behaviors. I appreciate the depiction of “standing in line” the most. While in Europe waiting to board a small plane to travel from one town to another the cluster of people waiting to go on board amazed me. They were all wadded up and pushing for better places in the “glob” of people. Most of the people waiting to board were Asian. This at first annoyed and amazed me but my daughter said you just have to get in there and push your way through. It seemed very stupid to me, but the other people didn’t seem to think it was strange at all. Different thinking, you see. :)

  • Jeff says:

    Stereotype is the most stupid thing.

    • Bill says:

      Western culture teaches you that stereotypes are wrong. Eastern culture is much more accepting of them. Try to expand your thinking a little.

    • Mike says:

      I don’t see this as stereotyping at all. I see it as cultural differences. I live in the United States and I see cultural differences all across this nation. Rural versus urban. Southeast versus northeast. East versus west. Plains versus mountains. New Orleans versus New York. It’s all about culture, and as people from around the world settle in the United States they bring their traditions and culture with them. The cultural dynamics of a city or town change with immigration. That’s just one of the many things I love about the United States. We are very diverse. Embrace diversity. Enjoy the blend of cultures.

    • Mimi says:

      @Mike “That’s just one of the many things I love about the United States. We are very diverse. Embrace diversity. Enjoy the blend of cultures.”

      As a minority, when I moved in to my new house, my white neighbors quickly sold their house and moved out.

    • Sam says:

      America is obsessed with being politically correct, but it’s really not that big of a deal as long as you’re not being deliberately offensive. Also, is it so wrong to make observations about general characteristics of cultures? Believe it or not, different cultures are different. It’s not rude to notice someone’s culture. How you react to it can be rude, but it doesn’t have to be.

  • scott says:

    The “Animals” one was most effective. When I think about the treatment of our innocent, defenseless animal friends in China I get very sad. Non-human animals should have the right to be respected and left alone by humans everywhere in the world. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    • jju says:

      “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
      –Mahatma Gandhi

    • livinginTaiwan says:

      you must have never lived in poverty before where people need to eat. if there is one thing about asians, they never waste all the parts of the animal, unlike westerners who just throw all the nasty bits away.

    • Bill says:

      The point of this isn’t to show which one is “correct.” It’s to show how different cultures are different. You may think your cultural ideas of how animals should be treated is the “correct” one, but that would be a mistake. Living in different cultures will eventually teach you this.

    • Bill says:

      Furthermore, I don’t think the animals one is show how animals are treated… I think it’s showing how animals are viewed. In the west Animals are often viewed as decoration or beauty. While in the east they are viewed as food to be served on meat skewers. :-)

    • Husang says:

      So what you’re saying is that you’re better than everyone in China/any other country who consume foods different from yours. All because you are more culturally adept right? HAHAHAH. Let’s see you survive in a country with no large source of protein and fat. Oh, you’re vegetarian? Must be nice to replace your protein source with other things like milk. Get over yourself – this isn’t PETA sponsored; it’s about cultural differences and how one views them. No one is better than the other. Ug, your comment disgusts me.

    • Patrick says:

      Yeah, at least in China, all parts of the animal are used. People in the west need to get real and understand where their food is coming from

  • Mimi says:

    I live in Asia ( different countries) and to be honest,it is so interesting.Of course it is quite general but there is a part of true.A chinese is not a Spanish neither a German because of cultural differences.Again,a Japanese is not a Chinese and more specifically a chinese in Noth part of China is quite different from a Chinese from the South part…
    But after all,some specificities define what is a Chinese and What is a German,a French or a Tanzanian: diversity!
    Good job,love it!

  • Swarnima says:

    Whats the expression about animals..i didnt undersatnd that…

  • Jeremy Lin says:

    I am Taiwanese.
    For this stuff, I have only one comment. RACISM
    It is stupid to categorize those features because of nationality or ethnic. Westerners sometimes are also impolite and selfish.

    Respect. Please.

    • John says:

      What the hell Racism has to do with it?
      Where do you find the German to be Superior in this illustrations?
      It’s not right or wrong.

      ” Westerners sometimes are also impolite and selfish.”
      where is the illustration of impolite or selfish?


    • Silver says:

      I don’t think this is about racism,I think it’s just a stereotype of the west and the east.

    • Carlos says:

      This info-graphic was made by a Chinese man who has lived in both China and Germany. It’s based on his experience. Don’t use the racist card unnecessarily, your comment is out off-topic and possibly you are the racist.

    • Garry says:

      Wow! I don’t see the racism in this. I think it’s actually rather nice and quite affectionate in how it shows cultural differences, even if it does generalize.

    • 0487 says:

      這是東方人設計的,你他媽在講甚麼?別亂講“racism”你不懂這個字 ==

    • Ruß says:

      Nonsense! I’m German and I see nothing offensive in pointing out the differences between different ethnic groups. This is NOT racism, which is a hostile unfair generalization which is often untrue.

      Now THAT is a racist statement! It is hostile to Westerners, being prejudicial and misleading. I have lived in many (+10) countries, and I find that the Asian peoples who accuse Westerners of being “racist”, “impolite” and “selfish” are always much more “racist”, “impolite” and “selfish” than the ones they are accusing. The word “arrogant” also comes to mind.

      The fact is, Yang Liu is Asian and perceives the differences between Asian and Western cultures, and being Western, I perceive the same things she does, and I agree with her. This is not racism, it is simply fact.

    • a says:

      It’s not racism when it doesn’t rank one race over the other. This is a celebration of the difference between two wonderful cultures.

    • Ashley says:

      Whoa, I just thought the same thing, but I’m American. Perhaps this visual is a bit offensive to both Easterner and Westerner.

    • Luke says:


    • An American Expat in China says:

      Racist for or against whom? As a westerner living in China, I can vouch for the acuity of the observation. Maybe things are different in Taiwan, but here on the Mainland, these are observable.

    • flocons says:

      I too am Taiwanese, and I disagree. Although a few of these illustrations may over-generalize or even exaggerate, the ideas from which they draw their influence is in most parts spot on.

      Keep in mind that these are generalizations and do not speak about a specific Chinese or German person. Ultimately, how you interpret these drawings is based on your experiences as an individual; how you were brought up, your education, and of course, how sensitive you are.

      Being Taiwanese, I’m surprised that you don’t see at least some of these generalizations (for the Chinese side, of course) to be true. Apply the “how to stand in line” illustration between cities like Beijing and Taipei, and you can almost replace the western side with Taipei.

      It’s not stupid to categorize things based on nationality or ethnicity. It is human nature. It’s how we see make sense of the world. You just did it by saying that you were Taiwanese.

    • David S says:

      I guess it is worse in NBA eh? LOL

    • Craig says:

      Calm down. Did you even look at them? If you did, go through them again and write down, for each of them, the objective information they contain (for example colours and shapes). Then write down how you interpret the objective information that you just looked at. For example did you see a man? Was the man big? Then once you have done the above write down what meaning YOU glean from YOUR interpretation of the objective information that you just looked at. For example, was the man on the left better the man on the right and if so why was it better? Finally own the meaning you glean from the process.

    • T says:

      These images are based off on her experience living in China and Germany. Of course she is not trying to say all Chinese or ALL Germans are like this. She is comparing/contrasting the differences from what she’s seen. I don’t find them racist because some ideas about China are, in my opinion, not positive. For example, the picture with the birds. The Chinese appear barbaric.

    • Dylan says:

      I’m guessing you have never actually been to Mainland China then, which is way different from Taiwan. And yes this does over-exaggerate the stereotypes a lot, but everything on the internet over -exaggerates. There is no reason to call this racist.

    • Bill says:

      This is not racist. This is a basic cultural study. I’ve taken several intercultural courses over the past few years, and almost all of them have used these pictures as an introduction to showing just how differently people from opposite cultures (East and West) think.

      No one is categorizing someone based on their nationality or ethnicity. They are doing it based on CULTURE. You could be a Chinese raised in Germany and your culture would be German.

      Furthermore, no one is saying one culture is better or more correct than the other… just different. ‘Different than’ isn’t ‘worse than.’

      The fact that you immediately assumed this was an attack, shows something about your culture in and of itself.

    • Tammy says:

      I think the idea was to graphically portray generalities. I don’t think the artist meant to offend, these are her ideas based on her experience.

    • Sumita Shrestha says:

      Hi Jeremy. It is infact very easy to call people racist in this era when they talk about different cultures and diversity. But you didn’t evaluate the bigger picture of her expressions. Its not that every people in China are not punctual either. So, keep your head high and appreciate the simplest idea she brought out to express these two completely different cultures.

      I am from Nepal and my share mates were from Taiwan. love your food and the politeness <3.

    • Pete says:

      Jeremy Lin,

      did you read the artist’s background? I’d be surprised, if she is racist against her own culture.
      Of course it’s only stereotypes she’s giving in her art work. However I can find a lot of truth in her drawings in general.
      Where does the artist imply that Chinese are impolite and selfish and Germans not? Her drawings “Size of the individual’s ego” and “Anger” tell me something different.
      About the drawing “Anger” I can say that I’ve seen Chinese people getting very direct and Germans smiling though they feel very angry inside.
      Don’t forget that art not only consists beautiful drawings but provocative and exaggerated ones as well.
      Unfortunately racism is everywhere but I can not see it in these drawings.

      Humour. Please.

    • C m says:

      Um…westerners are racist and selfish…wasnt the author ASIAN?

    • Daniel Putnik says:

      Search “racism” in a dicctionary before to say bullshits

    • JP Liu says:

      I am Taiwanese also. How come I don’t see racism in this?
      After all, the artist was BORN in the east and RAISED in the west.
      She probably consider herself part east and part west.
      Why would see discriminate against herself?

      It’s just things she observed over the years.

  • Grok says:

    So even I totally got this – an American married to a Levantine Arab.

  • Henry says:

    Would someone please explain the self-expression graphic?

    • Michael says:

      Expressing your opinion can be complex/difficult in one place and straightforward in another, I think. The title “Meinung” means “opinion”.

    • Silver says:

      It means western people express themselves directly,they just tell what’s on their minds.And Eastern people(Chinese people) don’t talk directly,they beat around the bush.

    • Germans are curt and direct.

      Chinese people hardly ever say exactly what is on their minds, and will communicate in a very round-about and indirect way to keep their true intentions hidden and also to prevent the offending of anyone.

    • Ruß says:


      Westerners are DIRECT and see the indirect and round-about way Asians express themselves as being evasive and dishonest; a Westerner tells you what he thinks so there’s no mistaking him.

      Asians are INDIRECT and see the direct and too-the-point way Westerners express themselves as being too “in-your-face”, rude and hostile; an Asian avoids coming directly to the point, so Westerners frequently have problems understand Asians, and wonder why Asians don’t just say what they really mean to begin with.

      Naturally, since I’m a Westerner, I’m giving you a direct answer that is to the point. Asians may be offended by my response since it’s not being “politely” indirect.

    • Federico says:

      The german text on the graphic actually says “meinung”, which means opinion. So I guess that it represents how direct people are when speaking their minds in each culture.

    • An American Expat in China says:

      Westerners in general tend to be more direct than the Chinese. It can be difficult to get a straight answer.

    • Vincent says:

      Chinese (traditionally) usually don’t (or should not) express themselves directly. Thoughts are usually delivered subtly so that if you care and you are smart enough, you will notice. Conversing this way (especially in the case of a disagreement) avoids confronting the other, which in often case is your superior. Remember in ancient China, class difference is very big. Your well-being (even your life) can be threatened if you openly disagree with your superior.

      Just my two cents. I’m Chinese speaking from my own knowledge.

    • Justine says:

      I think it just means that westerners are more often straightforward with how they are feeling and express it very directly whereas eastern cultures have a roundabout way of saying things, sometimes indirectly, etc.

    • sandi says:

      The blue side goes straight to the point and may appear tactless or blunt but the communication is clear and without doubt……at the risk of hurting the relationship. The red side goes around the issue and the meaning is sometimes buried in many layers and may need to be deciphered but it’s done in an effort to protect the relationship. Each communication style is valuable and either is
      workable but the parties both need to understand what style communication is being used to understand what’s going on. That’s where the problem sometimes comes in.

    • hellothere says:

      it seems like the designer is expressing that Germans are able to convey their message more clearly or be more direct with people, while Chinese may find it harder to express themselves, or may be more hesitant about sharing their honest opinions with people.

    • Kiki says:

      Basically it’s saying that Germans are able to express themselves better and more straight-forward while Easterners go into a very complex explanation when they really feel just one thing.

    • Mxis Song says:

      Chinese like to go in circles when they need to talk about a potentially sensitive issue. You need to catch their nuances to understand what they really mean. This is because we’ve been taught not to offend anyone.

      There’s a Chinese saying “转弯抹角” to depict this style of communication; and that’s what the person is illustrating here.

      Westerners (or Americans, not so much the British) tend to go straight to the point.

    • monkey says:

      i’m chinese, so my explanation is going to be long and unnecessarily complicated. are you sure you want to hear it?

    • Bill says:

      In general, Easter cultures are much more complex in expressing what they want or feel. While a Westerner will usually just tell you directly, an Easterner will try to do it in a very indirect way.

    • Tammy says:

      Again – these are generalities. Chinese tend to not openly display their emotions. They may feel angry or sad, but they will present a calm, even pleasant face. To do otherwise would be considered childlike (lack of self-control) in their eyes.

    • Sumita Shrestha says:

      Germans express their anger in their face where as Chinese can still be smiling with the anger.

  • Julius says:

    I don’t understand the “anger” graphic.

    • Emma says:

      When Germans are feeling angry, they look angry. When Chinese are feeling angry, they do not show it outwardly. This is what the graphic depicts, whether it is true or not.

    • Katy says:

      I believe that she is trying to communicate that in Western culture people are more forward with their feelings- where as in Eastern/Chinese culture they are more passive- or put or a face rather to mask it. “I am unhappy and I will show that I am unhappy” vs “I am unhappy but I will not show/act like it”.

    • mav says:

      If you look at the thought bubbles, you’ll see on one on the blue side is frowning to match the thinker’s frowning expression. Whereas on the red side, the face in the thought bubble is frowning while the thinker’s expression is smiling.

    • rigbypele says:

      The Chinese never show their anger?

    • Chinese people are good at concealing their emotions and presenting a happy face no matter the situation.

    • Brian says:

      It means that Asians will not openly display their anger, even if inside they are deeply hurting/furious.

    • Tan says:

      It shows that in the West people show it when they are angry. While in the East people will continue to smile and be polite even if they are fuming on the inside.

    • flocons says:

      It insinuates that the Chinese, even when they feel angry will “show face” by acting like they’re happy.

    • Alex says:

      It’s saying Chinese don’t show it on the outside (which i disagree with after having chinese roommate but hey whatever it’s the internet)

    • EMK says:

      I think it refers to the outward expression of the feeling of anger. When German people feel angry they frown and show their displeasure, while in China people who are angry tend to smile? I’m unsure about this one.

    • Kat says:

      I think they were meaning that west feels ‘anger’ and shows it, where as east may feel it but they don’t show it on the outside.

    • zane says:

      Chinese must maintain a strong outward appearance at all times, is what I think it’s saying. Even if you’re angry/sad you still have to smile on the outside.

    • XR says:

      I think it’s just trying to say that Chinese are more hypocritical? Even when they’re angry at a person they will still put on a smiling face, whereas Westerners do not conceal their emotions as much?

    • Kiki says:

      Westerners express anger when they feel angry while Easterners are more “passive-agressive”. They feel angry but don’t show it on the outside. This is true for many Easterners, coming from an Asian background, but I can’t say this is true for everyone.

    • Nara says:

      Germans show their anger (see the mouth) while Chinesse are angry but smiling outsde, anger inside.

    • T says:

      Someone from China/Eastern hemisphere is more likely to feel mad but they will not express it.

    • 7+11 says:

      Germans generally express their feelings as it is while Chinese tend to look polite on the outside while feeling upset.

    • fishlover says:

      I would guess it means that Chinese does not show their feeling directly on their face. It’s chinese culture that you have to act politely by “smiling” at all times.

    • Mark says:

      It’s saying that if a German person is angry, you can tell by body language and demeanor. If a Chinese person is angry, you won’t be able to tell.

    • Sugarrrrr says:

      I’m not sure about the Chinese, but the Japanese tend to have a smile on their face, or act polite and happy or that they’re fine with everything or that they like you when on the inside they are very angry. Westerners tend to show their true feeling expressed on their face much more openly. She’s saying you can always tell when someone in angry in the West because they express it outwardly, but in the East it’s much harder to tell because they will be polite to you until the day you die and yet hate your guts the whole time.

    • Rashed says:

      @Julius: According to the “anger” graphic, a German frowns both inwardly and outwardly when he’s angry. In other words, the people around him can see that he’s angry. On the other hand, the Chinese guy frowns inwardly, but smiles outwardly. The people around him may not be able to perceive that he is angry.

    • monkey says:

      took me a while too. the big face is what the person looks to others. the small face is how the person actually feels.

    • Bill says:

      If a Westerner is upset about something, they will generally show it through their facial expressions. If an Easterner is upset about something, they will generally keep a smile on their face because to show anger is loss of face.

    • James says:

      Hi Julius,

      I understand it to be representing the mindset of the person who should be angry. In Western culture people get angry when they think about the person who made them angry. We succumb to the feeling that the other person wants us to feel.

      In Eastern culture the person who should be angry instead doesn’t let the other person affect their state of mind, which is very difficult to do, but incredibly powerful.

    • Jing says:

      I could be wrong, but in most Asian cultures, even if we are feeling one way, we tend to put on a face in order to respect the circumstances and situation for the sake of others and sometimes, ourselves. This mentality is represented in the image- if the “westerner” is feeling angry, he expresses his anger whereas the “easterner” pretends to be happy, even though he is really unhappy.

  • Rashi Rathi says:

    Hey, i loved the graphics and obviously the message that is being conveyed very smoothly and wittily.But, I didn’t get ‘three meals a day’
    If anyone here can explain me.

    • Jon says:

      Western countries often only have one full hot meal in the day. For example, breakfast may be something like cereal, while lunch is cooked (in the UK the evening meal would be the hot one), then the third meal might be something like sandwiches (that’s for the UK, not sure what the Germans actually have).
      In China and other Eastern countries, typically every meal is a hot meal in some form, e.g. a noodle dish for breakfast.

    • Emma says:

      German eat a cold breakfast, a hot lunch, and a cold dinner. Chinese eat hot foods (temperature-wise, not necessarily spicy) for all three meals. At least, that’s what the graphic suggests.

    • Debbra says:

      The mid-day meal in Germany is the main one and would be more likely to be hot. The morning and evening meals are more typically cold: rolls and jam, bread and cheese or cold cuts.

    • Haley says:

      on the german side: breakfast-cold meal, lunch-hot meal, dinner- cold meal

      on the chinese side: all three are hot meals

    • Ali says:

      I think it’s the type of food that’s eaten at these three intervals? I can’t say I know much about German cuisine and their daily eating habits but I do know that the Chinese highly enjoy eating piping hot food for each meal so I’m assuming this is the sort of parallel she’s observing…I could be wrong though.

    • Kelsi Evans says:

      I lived in Germany so I think it means, two cold meals a day, only one hot meal a day for Germans. As I read it I exclaimed out loud “that’s so true!!!” My host father was very adamant about it being normal to only eat one hot (and more large) meal a day. :)

    • Special K says:

      Germans have cold breakfast, large hot meal for lunch, and supper is something like cold cuts and salad. Cold, hot, cold.

    • Karen says:

      I think it refers to cold or hot meals. In the west we have two cold meals (cereal, sandwich) and just one hot meal (dinner). In the east they eat hot meals three times a day.

    • EMK says:

      I think it’s cold vs. hot meals. Germans eat cold breakfast and dinner and warm lunch, while Chinese people usually eat 3 hot meals per day.

    • Von Ling says:

      The three meals is a representation of how Chinese needs to have all their meals hot I think.

    • mike says:

      Usually westeneers have cold meal for breakfast and sometimes for dinner.

    • Kiki says:

      Basically Easterners eat their meals hot during every meal while Westerners eat a cold breakfast and dinner and a hot lunch, which I might say, is quite untrue.

    • Nara says:

      in chine the cook the tree meals, in germany it might be croissant or bread with coffee in the morning, and salad for dinner?

    • Philipp says:

      Breakfast and dinner are cold meals, only lunch is hot and cooked. Blessings

    • 7+11 says:

      cold, warm, cold for the Germans while Chinese prefers three warm meals

    • fishlover says:

      It means that German usually has two cold and one warm meals a day but Chinese need to have three warm meals a day.

    • yorgus says:

      Germans have a cold meal for breakfast (usually just bread w/ butter and jam), a hot lunch, and then a cold dinner (bread w/ butter, sausage, or cheese)

      so, cold – hot – cold
      the chinese have a hot meal every time, hot – hot – hot

    • Tammy says:

      All of these images represent general perceptions. The Chinese eat three hot meals a day. Many westerners will eat cold meals (i.e. cereal or pastry for breakfast or salad or sandwich at dinner). For the states I’d put the cold meals at breakfast and lunch.

    • Bill says:

      Westerners (Germany in this case) generally eat a light, cold breakfast and dinner. Easterners generally eat 3 hot meals (soup).

    • James says:

      I take it to mean the temperature of the food.

  • Ryan says:

    Some if this is pretty outdated and racist

    • Ruß says:

      Nonsense! I’m German and I see nothing offensive in pointing out the differences between different ethnic groups. This is NOT racism, which is a hostile unfair generalization which is often untrue.

      Now THAT is a racist statement! It is hostile to Westerners, being prejudicial and misleading. I have lived in many (+10) countries, and I find that the Asian peoples who accuse Westerners of being “racist”, “impolite” and “selfish” are always much more “racist”, “impolite” and “selfish” than the ones they are accusing. The word “arrogant” also comes to mind.

      The fact is, Yang Liu is Asian and perceives the differences between Asian and Western cultures, and being Western, I perceive the same things she does, and I agree with her. This is not racism, it is simply fact.

    • yorgus says:

      Unless you’ve actually lived in Germany or China you really can’t speak to that. I’m a German living in Central Asia, and I have to say she’s pretty spot on.

    • Bill says:

      Some of it might be outdated (like the meals one), but none of it is racist at all. That’s your Western cultural reaction to pointing out differences in people. The West is so obsessed with equality that if someone points out a difference, it immediately gets branded as racist or makes people uncomfortable. While in the East is very obvious and natural to talk about people’s differences. Skin color, body types, age, etc are all very common topics in the East.

  • Corinne says:

    Exactly! I love it! I wonder what the American boxes would look like?

    • bejay says:

      Can one damn thing just not have to be about America? Just this once? Can you not just try to appreciate it for what it is without trying to make it All About You?

    • Jon says:

      Like the German boxes, but everyone is just a little wider.

    • Bejay says:

      Seriously, just for once, can we not have one thing on the internet that DOESN’T end up being made All About America? Please?

    • Kiran says:

      Hahahah funny @Jon +1 for you!

      Lighten up Bejay, the main idea is East vs. West after all. I grew up in both cultures as well and can say that it is mostly accurate for a majority of Western countries. However I don’t get the three meals a day one…

    • JorgeiGelscheichkte says:

      Absolutely not, Bejay. The US owns the world. They are in charge and they set the rules for the internet and everything else. Move past your ideas of self gratification, you are an insignificant non-American and your opinon is .0001% relevant to the people in charge of your life and everyone else’s.

    • AmericanAndLovingIt says:

      Don’t get what Bejay’s problem with American’s commenting on anything. I bet if I went to his/her country I’d find so much seems to be about that country. Or maybe Bejay’s American? Seems so rude. Anyway, as an American who has lived in China for 10+ years, I could say this fits us all perfectly, except for the German food box it would be they think we eat hamburgers all the time… I surprise them when i tell them we often eat at home and rarely ever have I cooked hamburgers at home…maybe once a year. And yes, I will make this too about Americans, for I am one. Am I suppose to pretend I’m French? :P

    • Bill says:

      Settle down, bejay. It was an innocent comment. No one wants to hear about your frustrations and insecurities.

  • YippeeK says:

    I remember hearing a visiting Chinese intellectual at a dinner party once wax misty-eyed about how the Germans and Chinese are the two most superior cultures in the world, the most intelligent and industrious people, the most maligned and misunderstood and so on and so forth. It made me wonder if such racism is part of the native culture of China or a product of the more or less nationalistic socialism of the Chicomms (and thus foisted on China as it was foisted on Germany, by misguided socialists). My guess is the latter. So I would add a final icon to the collection. Germany: broken chain symbolizing their hard-won freedom from totalitarian socialism. China: intact chain symbolizing ongoing slavery to totalitarian socialism

    • nono says:

      I would actually draw an invisible chain for the Germans.
      Also Germany didn’t really win the so-called freedom, it was imposed on them, and my guess is, most Germans still are nationalistic and racists, they just don’t feel comfortable voicing this opinion in public.

    • Andrea P says:

      Wrong. Try not to comment on an issue like that if you have had little to no exposure to the culture in question. You sound like a fool.

    • Dylan says:

      You are an idiot. China is no where near totalitarian. Also I don’t think I ever met anyone who is racist in China. How dare you make such rude assumptions of people you have never even met. Maybe you should stop reading your outdated history books and actually go see the world.

  • Gaz says:

    I saw a *very* similar thing about 5 years ago, same silhouette graphics and same colours. By a German guy.

  • Debt Blag says:

    How very interesting. Having traveled and interacted with people from each of these places, I can see a lot of truth in both. “Queuing” in particular made me laugh out loud

  • Ingrid says:

    I don’t understand the image of beauty. Could someone please explain that?

    • jon. says:

      in the west, people tan so they’re not so pale, see: tanning salons and sunbathing. whereas in the east (and everywhere else in the world), the be pale is to be beautiful, see: skin bleaching, etc.

  • Hello Everyone!
    Your thinking would be different if the Red or Asia would be on your left hand. Please let me know.

    If yes! Then you would think Yang Liu is prioritizing Asian culture than the western culture.
    if no! She has adopted western culture and she never liked asian culture! True?

    -Yousaf Paiman

  • I highly recommend Richard Nisbett’s book: The Geography of Thought. I’ve used it in my class to contrast the worldview of Asians and Westerners. I have a chart summarizing Nisbett’s research on these two worldviews at the end of this blog entry:

  • Matteo says:

    Saying Germany represents “western culture” is like saying a loaf of bread represents the whole of western food. What an insufferable simplification.

  • Harish says:

    Wow! great work and deep insights into cultures.

  • Kate says:

    The ideas are a little too broad.

    Also, a blatant rip-off of the Paris vs. New York blog/book.


  • Scott says:

    In my view, there is a BIG difference between contrasting the world views of two specific countries and contrasting the East and West. I appreciate and value Yan Liu’s observations from her years of living in Germany. In my opinion, they are brilliant! Because her observations are generally true we call them generalizations. It is okay to generalize. However, it is NOT okay to stereotype. I sees a problem when people promote Yang Liu art as contrasting East-West cultural values (as many commentators and this website do) rather than just German-Chinese. It start to moves towards stereotyping. The West is more than Germany and the East is more than China. In my thinking, contrasting the cultures of two countries with qualified generalizations can be very useful but contrasting the East with the West does a disservice as it is always misleading…not to mention lazy anthropology. Like other binary constructs it easily promotes the half-truths of stereotyping.

    • antoine says:

      I totally agree with that. As a French, It relates more sometimes to some pics from the right side! In opposition to our dear neighbours :-)

    • Joanna says:

      Actually, I think you mean it’s okay to stereotype because that’s what generalization is. It helps our brain process information faster. What’s NOT okay is prejudice and discrimination.

  • Hello says:

    Hmmm I don’t quite get the problem solving approach. So Germans tackle problems head on and Chinese people take a roundabout approach? Could anyone give an example of each?

  • Satyajit says:

    Brilliant. Me being an Indian, I can relate to the Chinese side. Similar behavior.

  • JPN Perspective says:

    It’s interesting to note that the modern Japanese perspective is a little bit of both sides, since the influence of American/Western society is strong there. Some things like idea of beauty, the boss, ego, and complexity of self-expression are the same as Chinese, but other things like punctuality, how to stand in line, noise level, and independent lifestyle are much more Western in belief.

    • ahmed says:

      Sure, Japanese are (very) different from the Chinese in certain respects, but I think it’s rather arrogant to claim that it is due to “influence of American/Western society”. The Japanese were diligent and punctual before any western influence.

    • Neko says:

      As someone Japanese who has lived in China and America, I have a somewhat different experience. There are a number of similarities between American and Chinese culture, such as making friends/meeting people easily, noise level, and having trouble standing in line. Also, it’s worth noting that these experiences vary by region and social class even within these countries; for example, while Tokyo and Kyoto culture is quieter, slower to warm up to strangers, milder tasting food, and so on, Osaka is more extroverted, there’s more fried food, a bit like the US and China.

    • Koss says:

      There are many countries that are considered to belong to the western world, for example countries in western europe that have cultures where people don’t know what ‘stand in line’ means, where a high noise level in public never raise eye brows, where punctuality means to show up within an hour upon agreed time, where it’s normal that family members mutually depend on each other, where it’s common that many generations live in the same house, where people depend on huge life long networks of friends, where loyal
      and long term relations with other people are very important etc.
      I also know many countries in the western world where the train schedule is a joke compared to the japanese. Among other westerners the Germans are considered to be very meticulous, disciplined and punctual though. ;)
      All in all, you cannot categorize all these traits as either typical western or eastern from these traits. The cultures in NA, Europe and Germany differ too much in between for that.

  • Jung says:

    I don’t understand about the pic Animal. Could you explain more about that?

    Thanks a lot

    • red says:

      Chinese kills every animal for mass consumption, be it for food, clothing or medicine…

    • Kieran says:

      In my opinion, the pic means when German love a pet or an animal, they may collect them and let them live like the left side. In Chinese case, they mostly kill them all and collect as a collection.

    • Junke says:

      When Chnese think of animals they often think of dishes in which they ate that animal. (That is not to say that Chinese eat everything, though.) For example, when Americans see a species of fish, they talk about its natural habitat and other thinks they know about the animal. Whereas Taiwanese and Chinese, for example, would talk about a time they ate that fish, how it was served and the restaurant they ate it at. Was it Japanese style, Szechuan style, Peking style, whatever, they may try to recall. Another thing is Chinese will eat a whole fish, head and all, for example, whereas the fillet eaten in the Western does not really represent what the actually animal looks like.

    • Yuwei says:

      I think the author critisize our Chinese can eat all kinds of animal and already break the balance of ecosystem.

    • jillian says:

      (before i comment, I want to say here that i’m a Chinese, Third Culture, Immigrant US citizen)

      The image contrasts an older person walking a dog versus walking a child. And I think it address how older people find joy either with “man’s best friend” (western thinking) or “man’s favorite grandchild” (eastern thinking)

      it is looked on as shameful to the family when an older Chinese man is left alone with no relatives alongside him. where as i have experienced here in western culture, that adults are usually content and it’s culturally acceptable when left alone (in a nursing home or in their own home)

    • Koss says:

      jillian says:
      September 25, 2013 at 3:44 pm

      “(before i comment, I want to say here that i’m a Chinese, Third Culture, Immigrant US citizen)

      The image contrasts an older person walking a dog versus walking a child. And I think it address how older people find joy either with “man’s best friend” (western thinking) or “man’s favorite grandchild” (eastern thinking)

      it is looked on as shameful to the family when an older Chinese man is left alone with no relatives alongside him. where as i have experienced here in western culture, that adults are usually content and it’s culturally acceptable when left alone (in a nursing home or in their own home)”

      What you have experienced in the US does far from always fit into rest of the western world. For example, many countries in western europe have a quite different mentality and culture compared to the American and this also applies to dependency on other people. It’s two totally different things to actually become abandoned and live alone as an old and to live alone but where you still maintain good social life with family and friends. On the other hand, just because an old person is taken care by his kids in their house doesn’t necessarily mean that his kids would accept it if they had a choice. Loneliness for me is when people around you don’t respect you and your will. When old people in the west get a dog they do it because they happen to like dogs and at the same time it gives them a reason to get out every day for exercise to feel well and perhaps kill some time, not necessarily because they have no social network. Who said that you cannot have both a dog AND a good social life? At least in my culture (Swedish/Scandinavian) I find it unlikely that an old person would rather spend time with their dog than with their eventual grandchildren. Perhaps it happens on a large scale in the US, what do I know. I strongly doubt it though. All people are social creatures and need contact with people they know in one way or another regardless of culture in order to feel well. I only know one country where pets can for many people totally fill the function as replacement for human emotional contact and that is Japan. There they have special centres with cats and dogs where people can go and supplement their unsatisfied emotional lives and the people who visit are of all ages. That in an eastern country. For me that is born and raised in one of the western cultures I find this both tragic and strange but it makes sense in it’s context, because in the Japanese culture a good work ethic is highly regarded and therefore you’re considered to be nothing if you don’t have a good and secured job. Japanese politeness means to not ask for help and disturb others with your problems or by showing strong emotions in public. There’s even a Japanese saying that sums up it all; “If a nail sticks out, wrap it.” As bad as the Japanese economy is, people feel so insecure and insufficient that they don’t know how to deal with this emotionally. You can compare this with for let’s say, south european countries where it’s totally fine to act out your emotions in public whether you’re happy or angry and by so let other people know how you feel emotionally. In the south european cultures the family plays a very important part, if not the most important. It’s common that the son or daughter live with their parents until they get married and even then live in the same house as the parents to one of the spouses. When decisions are made, care is taken to the whole family and so on.
      Another thing is that people in the west (and in Japan) live much longer on average than in the rest of the world and as they get older they also often develop diseases like dementia that’s hard to take care of without some level of medical knowledge and expert care. It makes it hard for an old person with this disease to keep on living in his/her old home without this care and without some type of supervision 24 hours a day. I know this from working in a nursery home for several years myself when I was younger. Personally I would worry as hell if both my parents had dementia and had to spend the days alone in my house when I would be at work. But if my parents both were old but still healthy and could manage themselves during the day and I had room for them I wouldn’t mind them living in my house because then I wouldn’t have to worry for them. Without considering the conditions of reality first makes it harder to come up with the best solution though.
      In my culture trust in relationships is very important. Swedes develop deep and close-knitted relations with those who they consider they can trust well. The relations therefore take some time to develop but once you’ve become accepted into the circle, everyone in the circle becomes your friends too. Another thing is that family life is very respected by companies in Sweden. When you’re at work you work efficiently, when you you’re off work the company respects that.
      Compare this to the culture in US where two strangers can consider each as “friends” after they’ve met and talked to each other for 10 mins in a convenient store. It’s because in the US, personal independency is the total ideal to maximize the personal “freedom” compared to my culture and therefore people in the US don’t want to get stuck in any long term relations which always imply certain obligations and expectations which means a decrease of the American definition of freedom.
      All in all, I think that what I’ve written above shows how bad the idea is to generalize the whole west or east based upon the experience from living in only one western or eastern country. The less you know about a thing, the more space is left to fill in with comfortable assumptions. The world is so much more complex than that.

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