Why Do Black People In Anime/Manga Have White Hair?

Have you ever seen a black person in an anime or manga? There aren't many. Chances are, if you have seen one, they had white hair. With no signs of aging — just a penchant for unusual hairstyles — doesn't it make you wonder, "Why do so many have white hair?"

If you've never seen (or noticed) a black person in anime or manga, I'll point out a few for you and see if you can come up with the answer, because I sure as hell don't have it. 

But before we begin, let's clarify what I mean by "Black with White hair". By black, I just mean a person who is clearly darker than everyone else, or they have a permanent "tan". Some will say, "They're Japanese, not black!" or "They're Indian" meaning they come from India. Well, that's probably correct. Some on this list are Japanese and some are Indian, but for the sake of this argument, I'm calling them black. I'm American and my father's family is from Bangladesh (basically India), but I'm still considered black. 

By "White hair", I mean hair color that is white or very near to it (like platinum blonde). I also mean hair texture like that of a white person (like caucasian or asian). 

Clarified, the question is: "Why do people with dark skin color in anime and manga often have the hair color and texture of people with light colored skin?"

Now that we've gotten that cleared up, let me show you what I mean.



The Cloud Village

We could wrap it up right here using examples from the Cloud Village, but then you'd say, "That's just Naruto." The 3rd, 4th, and 5th Raikage (leaders of the Cloud Village) all had white hair, along with several other members of their village. Maybe there's something in the water?


Jay sees my point, but can he see why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch?

I bet Jay had white hair before he went bald.


Magi has a pretty diverse assortment of characters, from green dragon people to blue genies. But nearly all of the dark skinned people have white hair. By the way, each one of these pictures are of different people.

Rosario + Vampire

The Shuzen Women

Moka Akashiya has a darker stepmother and stepsister. In the manga, they both have white hair and shaded skin.


Food Wars

Hayama is from India, and is probably the darkest colored character I've seen in Food Wars. His hair is white. The other "dark" skinned character in the series is Nikumi. In the anime, she has blonde hair. 

Hayama, on the right


Hayama, in the anime


One Piece

Daz Bones a.k.a. Mr. 1

Maybe Bones' hair color is "Metallic". It would make sense. Okay, maybe I'll let this one slice...err slide.


Black Butler


Black Butler.jpg

Guess which one is the Black Butler. If you guessed the first guy (from left to right), you are so racist. Just kidding. Agni is Indian, and again, has white hair. The Black Butler is Sebastian Michaelis, the guy with black hair dressed in white.


Simon Brezhnev

Unless I'm mistaken, Simon is a sushi chef, and he's from Russia. I guess he's a black Russian? He's always wearing this cap, but you can see his hair peeking out at the edges.

from the wiki: "Simon Brezhnev is a large black man born in Russia."

Street Fighter 3

Urien and Elena

I threw in some Street Fighter 3 characters knowing full well that no one has ever heard of this game, or played it. So take my word for it, here are two more characters. I didn't make them up.


So, What Does It All Mean?

My first guess was that anime begins in manga where it's just black and white. In greyscale, it's a better contrast for dark skin if the hair is white. But that doesn't explain all the white skinned characters with white hair, does it? And so my second guess to explain this trend in anime and manga is...it's a mutation. I mean, where else do these people come from?


I patiently await your answers. In the meantime, I think I'll go dye my hair. #whiteIsTheNewBlack