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A wise Asian mentor to a usually white character.

The Magical Asian, like the Magical Negro or Magical Native American, exists to dispense lessons to white characters using the wisdom of his people. He will usually be a martial arts master, a practitioner of traditional Asian medicine, or a sage of some Eastern religion. He will often (but not always) be so highly skilled in his art that it will appear superhuman. Martial artists will be impossibly good fighters, the medicine-men will be able to easily diagnose and cure any illness (bonus points if he mentions chi), and the sage will be enlightened with some kind of supernatural intuition. Expect at least one scene of them meditating.

Unlike the Magical Negro, the Magical Asian is not always nice to his white protégé. It is common for the Magical Asian to put his student through a number of demeaning and seemingly pointless tasks. However, it always turns out that there is a purpose to these tasks that helps get his lesson across. Mr. Miyagi's famous "Wax On, Wax Off" routine is one of the best known examples. This tendency is possibly related to Asian Rudeness.

He will speak in proverbs and Koans. He will often be referred to sensei, sifu, or master.

Often overlaps with Old Master.

Examples of Magical Asian include:


Live Action TV

  • Master Po and Master Kan in Kung Fu. Their protege Caine is half Chinese and half White.
  • Bruce Lee's character on Longstreet.
  • An acupuncturists' teacher in The Invisible Man. He is able to intuit that the acupuncture needles he is using were stolen by his apprentice from a museum when they are ineffective.

Film

Literature

  • The Destroyer series. Chiun is a Korean who is the Master of Sinanju, which is the sun source (original) martial art and the basis for all other martial arts. He teaches his knowledge to the other protagonist, Remo Williams.

Music

  • "The Miraculous Mandarin" by Béla Bartók

Web Original

  • Cracked discusses this trope here, which it calls "The Wise, Old, Asian Asshole".

Western Animation

  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, younger characters tend to have American accents while older, wiser mentor figures tend to have Asian accents regardless of what nation they are from. Iroh is the most prominent example.

Other

  • James Hydrick claimed to have learned telekinesis from a Chinese master.
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