many Vietnamese people look East Asians despite being Southeast Asian

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What do Vietnamese people typically look like? I noticed many Vietnamese people look East Asians despite being Southeast Asian.
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As a South-East Asian of Chinese descent, my observations from having encountered numerous Viets in the past is that they are strikingly East Asian but with subtle nuances that only East Asians ourselves can instinctively tell (but it's usually more like “you're not the same as me" rather than “I know exactly what nationality you are").

What I noticed is that they they'd have less slanted eyes and slightly rounder/larger nose tips/flares - however, this may not always be the case.

If looks fail to hint on their nationality, then it's left to my ears to decipher which SEA or SA language they're speaking among themselves.

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This Captain of the People’s Army of Vietnam certainly looks strikingly East Asian doesn’t he.

But when we Vietnamese look at him, we don’t have that impression. We might think ‘He might look ‘East Asian’ to non Vietnamese, but to us his type is not more nor less common. When we see a military type we think what kind of man is he, would he be an ‘Officer and a gentleman’, would he be a good family man? But we never think of your phenotype, if you are unquestionably a Vietnamese, by the uniform you are wearing.

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Question: What do Vietnamese people typically look like?

A picture is worth a thousand words. Coupled with the photos, I’ll also list the Vietnamese region where they are from (north, central or south). These looks are what we Vietnamese see everyday from people around us and I can say it’s the average looks of the majority of Vietnamese.

In most of the cases, we can not tell the difference between northern or southern Vietnamese and the only way to differentiate is hearing them speak, and guessing based on their Vietnamese accent.

Courtesy of the owners.

1, Tien Anh , news presenter of Vietnamese National Television (VTV). He’s a northern Vietnamese

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2, Hoai Anh , also a news presenter of VTV. A southern Vietnamese

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3, Nguyen Phu Trong . General Secretary of the Vietnamese Communist Party and President of Vietnam. A northern Vietnamese

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4, Nguyen Xuan Phuc . Prime Minister of Vietnam. A central Vietnamese

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5, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan . Chairwoman of National Assembly of Vietnam. A southern Vietnamese

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6, Luong Xuan Truong . Footballer. Northern Vietnamese

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7, Nguyen Tien Linh . Footballer. Born in north, then settled south

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8, Thuy Tien . Singer. South

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9, Bich Phuong . Singer. North

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10, Vu Minh Giang . Professor. Northern Vietnamese

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8, Tran Du Lich . Member of the National Assembly. Southern Vietnamese

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9, Random people on Ho Chi Minh city streets

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10, Random people on Hanoi streets

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11, Northern Vietnamese farmers (Red River Delta)

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12, Southern Vietnamese farmers (Mekong Delta)

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13, Vietnamese youth in Hanoi

14, Vietnamese youth in Ho Chi Minh city

15, Pham Khanh Phong Lan . A southern female government official

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16, Tran Thi Phuong Lan . A northern female government official

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17, Pham Tuyen . Musician. Northern Vietnamese

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18, Lam Tuong Van . Folk artist. Southern Vietnamese

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19, Pham Nhat Vuong . Vietnamese richest man. Ancestral hometown in central Vietnam, but born in northern Vietnam

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20, Pham Thai Binh . CEO. A southerner

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21, A northern (left) and southern (right) Vietnamese old women hugged each other when the North and South reunified

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Vietnamese people have well-defined facial structure with deep eye sockets and straight eyes. Also, many Vietnamese have double eye lids. The picture below shows typical Vietnamese facial features.

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On the other hand, native Han Chinese have flat facial structure with shallow eye sockets, slanted eyes (either up or down), and single eye lids. The pictures below are what native Han Chinese look like.

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Some Chinese look like Vietnamese, because they have Vietnamese ancestors and are Vietnamese Chinese. The reasons are

Vietnam has existed more than four thousand years before 2,000 BC before China came into existence in 221 BC. Before 221 BC, Vietnam’s name was Đại Việt. And in China’s current northern provinces were other countries such as Qin, Chu, Han, Wei, Zhao, Qi, and Yan. This was similar to Europe which consisted of many countries.

Đại Việt was known as the Yue kingdom to these seven countries. This is similar to China is called “China” in English, but China calls itself by a different name in Chinese. The seven countries of Qin, Chu, Han,Wei, Zhao, Qi, and Yan existed in China’s current northern provinces. At that time Đại Việt ‘s territory included what China calls “Yue” territories which are China’s current southern provinces. In fact, China’s own history shows that “Yue” territory was not part of China originally.

In 221 BC, Qin country conquered the countries of Chu, Han, Wei, Zhao, Qi, and Yan. And these seven conquered countries became China. China then went on to try to conquer Đại Việt. Đại Việt lost its northern provinces to China due to its combined army of seven countries. And Đại Việt’s northern provinces became China’s current southern provinces. When Đại Việt lost its northern provinces, some Vietnamese people continued to stay there. This is why these present-day “Chinese” are actually Vietnamese / Vietnamese Chinese, so they look like Vietnamese.

Chinese culture prefers sons over daughters which leads to an imbalance between men and women populations. So some Chinese men go to Vietnam and marry Vietnamese women as their wives. That is another reason some Chinese have Vietnamese ancestor and look like Vietnamese, because they are actually Vietnamese Chinese.

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South East Asians are very diverse, culturally, liguistically and ethnically, instead of one unique group of people. It’s a misconception.

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I’m Vietnamese -American, I think these people look good/I like their facial features (Most of these I got from YouTube, some from Tik Tok, 6 are personal people I know in real life, 10 are Vietnamese -American, etc. Yes I know I’m weird. I tend to like the east asian -looking types):

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They can also look like this (Southeast asian):

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Average faces:

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Annamid:

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Tonkinesid:

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Vietnamese tend to be very short, deep-set eyes that are double-eyelids, wide flat nose, big mouth, darker skin, rounder/shorter face with low cheekbones (also Cambodian/Khmer/ Southeast Asian characteristic traits)

East asian:

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Southeast asian:

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I lived in Vietnam for 5 years so I could confidently say that your observation is quite correct. Typical Vietnamese do look more East than South East Asian. There are ethnic minority groups especially those in Central Vietnam who look more South East Asian. I also observe that most Vietnamese have reasonably rounder eyes not the typically slanted shapes of East Asian’s. Vietnamese are also typically slim. It’s rare to see fat let alone obese Vietnamese in the country. The women look very nice wearing their traditional outfit - Ao Dai - due to their slimness. It would not, however, be too easy to distinguish Vietnamese from, say, South East Asian with Chinese decent. I myself was mistaken on different occasions as a Vietnamese, Philippina, Singaporean, Korean and even Japanese

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Chinese people were a massive contributor to the Vietnamese gene pool due to the Chinese domination of Vietnam where many Sinic people moved into Vietnam and intermarriage was encouraged by the Chinese authorities. Both southern Han Chinese and Kinh Vietnamese have heavy contributions from Tai-Kadai people whose original homeland is what is now southern China too. The Vietnamese, however, speak an Austroasiatic language like Cambodians.

Here are some composite images of average Vietnamese people. I can see a bit of Chinese influence in them but they are still clearly quite Southeast Asian looking.

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Typical Vietnamese look Southeast Asian especially South Vietnam where the majority looks like. It’s Vietnam mainstream media TV who like putting East Asian look Viets, using make up and light skin powder. many are also Hoa ( half Chinese/Viets) and other minorities. Vietnamese in the 21st century have been photoshopping too. DNA South Vietnam are 82% Southeast Asian with 4–8% South Asian admixture. North Vietnam 40% East Asian and only 0% to 1.9% South Asian.

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