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Anything wrong with a MC defeating a villain from a different background?

WonderingSword5

Troubadour
If the MC is a white American or is white/half Japanese and defeats a Chinese villain, will this be a problem? MC defeats this villain, nothing to do with ethnicity, it just so happens this Chinese villain seeks something the MC has and the MC has the right training skills ro defeat this villain.
 

Chasejxyz

Inkling
As everything is with writing, it depends. If a good white guy defeats a bad Chinese guy, that in itself is not the issue. But if the Chinese guy is the CEO of a giant mega-congolomerate that wants to take over the world because you are just using the laziest tropes available in your cyberpunk story, well, that's yellow panic, baby! And that's not cool.
 
That depends on whether you're Chinese and selling to the Chinese market... They really hate the Japanese, that whole rivalry has not gone away, LMAO. Last time I was in China, I was amazed.

That said: there is nothing inherently wrong with it.
 

Mad Swede

Maester
This is the second time you've asked this question - and this time I'll answer.

I suggest you write your story without describing the appearance of your characters. Just write the dialogue and the rest of the story, but don't describe the appearance of the characters. If you can do this and give your characters some depth then you're in no danger of stereotyping and hence causing offence. But if you can't write those characters without mentioning their appearance then you've got quite a big problem.
 

WonderingSword5

Troubadour
But if the Chinese guy is the CEO of a giant mega-congolomerate that wants to take over the world because you are just using the laziest tropes available in your cyberpunk story, well, that's yellow panic, baby! And that's not cool.
I thought that was more of a Japanese bad guy stereotype? The Chinese villain would be an emperor from ancient China, reawakened. If that is a problem, I can have it so that he remained immortal, living through all the decades, experiencing all life from past and modern generations.
They really hate the Japanese, that whole rivalry has not gone away, LMAO. Last time I was in China, I was amazed.
If so, then I'm good with the white American MC defeating him instead?
If you can do this and give your characters some depth then you're in no danger of stereotyping and hence causing offence. But if you can't write those characters without mentioning their appearance
I see what you mean. So the thing is, even if I don't explain their appearance, the story still goes with a Chinese villain being beaten and defeated by a non Chinese character. If I want to avoid clichés and stereotypes, what would be the best way toske this Chinese villain a non stereotypical foe? :(

1. He was an ancient Chinese emperor who was reawakened from his tomb when Mao destroyed an important museum sometime in the 20th century before his death?
2. This ancient Chinese emperor was reawakened in the present day by some researcher group from a facility?
3. This emperor was immortal and lived in disguise for centuries into the modern day?
 

Mad Swede

Maester
I see what you mean. So the thing is, even if I don't explain their appearance, the story still goes with a Chinese villain being beaten and defeated by a non Chinese character. If I want to avoid clichés and stereotypes, what would be the best way toske this Chinese villain a non stereotypical foe? :(

1. He was an ancient Chinese emperor who was reawakened from his tomb when Mao destroyed an important museum sometime in the 20th century before his death?
2. This ancient Chinese emperor was reawakened in the present day by some researcher group from a facility?
3. This emperor was immortal and lived in disguise for centuries into the modern day?
No, I don't think you understand what I mean. Don't even mention the word Chinese (or any other nationality or race). Don't mention skin colour or facial appearance or hair. Don't mention any real world cultures.

Just write the story without any of these details. Sure, you can mention some ancient empire or evil god or immortal emperor, just don't say where they're from or what they look like. See if you can develop the plot and the characters without mentioning appearance or nationality or culture. If you can, all well and good. But if you can't then I'd suggest you need to think through your own predjudices and stereotypes.
 
To piggyback on Mad Swede 's suggestion, if your villain was an ancient Chinese emperor, he would not identify as Chinese... because the country we know as China had other names through most of its history, and sometimes other borders, too. And within China, people would identify more with their particular ethnicity (Huaxia, Mandarin, Mongolian, etc.) than with the country as a whole.

So he might regard himself as the emperor of Jiuzhou, Zhongguo, Hainei, or some other ancient name for roughly the same land. If he's very, very ancient, he might have been something more similar to King Arthur: the leader of a union between a few independent tribes. That wouldn't be the same thing as being the ruler of all of China. But it would be the closest equivalent to an emperor in his day, so he might regard himself as an emperor.

What I'm saying is, if you need to mention where he's from (what's he going to say, "I am the Emperor of Gobbletygook?"), it could be somewhere that once was in the country we now know as China, but the name is no longer in use, and most of your readers wouldn't even know what it means. If you don't use a recognizable modern ethnicity or culture, stereotypes aren't associated with it in the minds of modern people, so you're getting out of that territory.
 

WonderingSword5

Troubadour
Whichever route you go I would suggest keeping him in modern day clothes.
Like a suit and tie? Or something more fashionable?
Just write the story without any of these details. Sure, you can mention some ancient empire or evil god or immortal emperor, just don't say where they're from or what they look like. See if you can develop the plot and the characters without mentioning appearance or nationality or culture
But the whole point is that he is from a culture, which takes place in Asia, which takes place during the Qin Dynasty, which is where the emperor is from and then heads to Japan(I think was the Yayoi period at the time?) And uses this special potion that historically did take place with voyagers from China at the time to Japan at the time. I don't have ro call him Chinese but just mention the location?
 

WonderingSword5

Troubadour
To piggyback on Mad Swede 's suggestion, if your villain was an ancient Chinese emperor, he would not identify as Chinese... because the country we know as China had other names through most of its history, and sometimes other borders, too. And within China, people would identify more with their particular ethnicity (Huaxia, Mandarin, Mongolian, etc.) than with the country as a whole.

So he might regard himself as the emperor of Jiuzhou, Zhongguo, Hainei, or some other ancient name for roughly the same land. If he's very, very ancient, he might have been something more similar to King Arthur: the leader of a union between a few independent tribes. That wouldn't be the same thing as being the ruler of all of China. But it would be the closest equivalent to an emperor in his day, so he might regard himself as an emperor.

What I'm saying is, if you need to mention where he's from (what's he going to say, "I am the Emperor of Gobbletygook?"), it could be somewhere that once was in the country we now know as China, but the name is no longer in use, and most of your readers wouldn't even know what it means. If you don't use a recognizable modern ethnicity or culture, stereotypes aren't associated with it in the minds of modern people, so you're getting out of that territory.
So if it takes place during the Qin Dynasty, which he is from, what would he identify as? Or I could say he first appeared at the borderline of Mongolia? I wouldn't mention his appearance or language, just that he was a ruling emperor with a specific tribe in the Qin Dynasty. Maybe he can xhange how he looks and was doing this since the times of Babylon or he started his voyage from Mongolia into the Qin Dynasty? If China was not a country yet, (which I forgot the name), I can just mention the area he resided in as an emperor ruler at the time?
 

Mad Swede

Maester
But the whole point is that he is from a culture, which takes place in Asia, which takes place during the Qin Dynasty, which is where the emperor is from and then heads to Japan(I think was the Yayoi period at the time?) And uses this special potion that historically did take place with voyagers from China at the time to Japan at the time. I don't have ro call him Chinese but just mention the location?
Why is that the whole point? Is it really vital to your story? Can you write the story without mentioning any of this?
 

WonderingSword5

Troubadour
Why is that the whole point? Is it really vital to your story? Can you write the story without mentioning any of this?
But it's a martial arts story, with styles that originated in parts of China and Japan, with certain fantasy elements, including wuxia. If I take that away, then the story is no longer what it's supposed to be about. The emperor had ruled with a specific tribe in the Qin Dynasty with his soldiers trained in the best martial arts and he had gained this immortality, but he had traveled to Japan, (which is a true story about Xu and his sailors that crossed over to Japan and many Chinese scholars at that had gone to Japan, which is how Japan and Korea adopted many Chinese influences at the time).

I now have to eliminate this because it will be too sensitive to include? :(
 

Mad Swede

Maester
But it's a martial arts story, with styles that originated in parts of China and Japan, with certain fantasy elements, including wuxia. If I take that away, then the story is no longer what it's supposed to be about. The emperor had ruled with a specific tribe in the Qin Dynasty with his soldiers trained in the best martial arts and he had gained this immortality, but he had traveled to Japan, (which is a true story about Xu and his sailors that crossed over to Japan and many Chinese scholars at that had gone to Japan, which is how Japan and Korea adopted many Chinese influences at the time).

I now have to eliminate this because it will be too sensitive to include? :(
OK, you're writing a martial arts story. Do you really have to include real world references?

What I'm trying to get at is that using real life martial arts styles and techniques can be done is a fantasy setting with no references to real world countries or historical empires or historical people.

As an example, suppose you create a completely new setting with no references to Japan or China, and that in your story you use real life martial arts techniques but with different names. Most martial arts enthusiasts who read the story will realise that you're using real life techniques, and they'll appreciate that. Some readers will recognise that you've taken historical or mythical figures from Chinese and Japanese history and used them with different names in your setting. But other readers won't know and probably won't care about either of these aspects provided that the rest of your story (plotting, characterisation etc) is up to scratch.

Doing it that way lets you write your story without the risk of causing offence, which is what seems to be worrying you. It means quite a lot more work on your part, but it also gives you a bit of creative freedom which you don't have when use real life historical figures or empires in your story - you can change things to suit your story, and no-one will complain.
 

Steerpike

Felis amatus
Moderator
Worry too much about this, you’ll never get the story written.

My opinion:

1. There will be someone to complain no matter what decision you make. If that bothers you too much, you’re in the wrong business.

2. You can make a villain of any ethnicity. If the villain is a stereotype or caricature of that ethnicity, people will likely be right to complain.

3. If you have multiple characters of that ethnicity and they’re all villains, people’s complaints will likely be even more justified.
 

pmmg

Istar
With you to 3. If the villain is of some ethnicity likely his lackeys would share it.

Made my thoughts known already. This question will only hold you back. No one going to care that the dude was Chinese.
 

WonderingSword5

Troubadour
What I'm trying to get at is that using real life martial arts styles and techniques can be done is a fantasy setting with no references to real world countries or historical empires or historical people.
Yes, I agree on that. But this emperor would be a fictional emperor, only basing the time period, where this could be believable that he went to Japan, around the time Chinese had gone to Japan in search of some sort of powerful substance. My fictional story would be something fictional this emperor was after, records could of been unknown by many.
As an example, suppose you create a completely new setting with no references to Japan or China, and that in your story you use real life martial arts techniques but with different names
You mean make up an Asian country and fictional martial arts? Won't that come off as more stereotypical and labeling, based on real cultures? :(
Some readers will recognise that you've taken historical or mythical figures from Chinese and Japanese history and used them with different names in your setting.
I planned to make him a fictional emperor from what was then ancient China and have a made up name, basing on some Chinese mythological beings. This is not an issue?
But other readers won't know and probably won't care about either of these aspects provided that the rest of your story (plotting, characterisation etc) is up to scratch.
That I can do. It's just the culture representations that worry me, if I'm told I'm not accurate enough.
Doing it that way lets you write your story without the risk of causing offence, which is what seems to be worrying you. It means quite a lot more work on your part, but it also gives you a bit of creative freedom which you don't have when use real life historical figures or empires in your story - you can change things to suit your story, and no-one will complain.
That's exactly what I'm doing, he's a made up emperor from a real historical time period, but managed to keep hidden because he's immortal and can shapeshift. Will they still complain about this? :(
 

WonderingSword5

Troubadour
Worry too much about this, you’ll never get the story written.

My opinion:

1. There will be someone to complain no matter what decision you make. If that bothers you too much, you’re in the wrong business.

2. You can make a villain of any ethnicity. If the villain is a stereotype or caricature of that ethnicity, people will likely be right to complain.

3. If you have multiple characters of that ethnicity and they’re all villains, people’s complaints will likely be even more justified.
There will be good and bad from all the ethnicities I have in my story. One of the biggest major villains is a white American, with plenty more. I have good and bad PoC's, I even have a good Chinese chatacter who teams up with the MC's son.
 

skip.knox

toujours gai, archie
Moderator
>You mean make up an Asian country and fictional martial arts?
Yes.

>Won't that come off as more stereotypical and labeling, based on real cultures?
No. It has been done many, many times. Read Guy Kay Gavriel for examples of how to do this well.

I was struck by the statement about Yuyai and Qin being contemporaneous. That's the sort of thing an author should know if they're going to write about the period. I'm a medieval European historian, so I know almost nothing about Chinese history. It took me less than five minutes reseasrch to establish the time periods for both. Others have danced around this but I'm going to state it flat out: you gotta do your research. I'm talking hundreds of hours. You can write the story without doing that research, but you already have a sense that you're on some potentially difficult ground. Failing to do the research simply makes the ground more filled with pitfalls.
 
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