Because it's an Asian medium, there's no shortage of Asian representation in anime...but for the most part, all of those characters are Japanese. It's rare to see characters who hail from other parts of Asia, so let's shine the spotlight on a few who do.
1. Phichit Chulanont - Yuri!!! on ICE
Except for when a character practices Muay Thai, Thai characters rarely make an appearance in anime. Yuuri Katsuki's best friend Phichit Chulanont is a refreshing exception. Rather than being a Muay Thai master, Phichit is into figure skating - and also hamsters and social media. This cheerful young man wants to bring glory and recognition to his home land, which he feels is largely ignored by the skating world.
2. Shorter Wong - Banana Fish
Next to Japanese people, Chinese people are probably the most well-represented Asians in anime. Shorter Wong is unique in that he's actually Chinese-American - Banana Fish takes place primarily in New York City. Shorter is the leader of the Chinese mafia, and Ash Lynx's best friend. His underlings are deeply loyal to him, to the point where many of them argue over how he would have run things after he's replaced by Sing Soo-Ling.
3. Seung-Gil Lee - Yuri!!! on ICE
Yuri!!! on ICE is so great about bringing characters from different parts of Asia together that we have to double dip - and this doesn't even cover all of them! There's also Otabek Altin from Kazahkstan and Guang Hong Lee from China - but for now let's take a look at Seung Gil Lee of South Korea. Seung-Gil is a professional figure skater with incredible eyebrows and an adorable pet husky dog. His heritage is particularly noteworthy because South Koreans almost never show up in anime. This may be because Japan and Korea have had a contentious political relationship, and Korean people living in Japan often suffer from severe discrimination. Seung-Gil's presence is a step in a different direction for anime.
4. Aishwarya Rai - Digimon Tamers
Anime characters are more like to hail from East Asia, but there are characters from South Asia too! One excellent example is Aishwarya Rai, a middle-aged Indian woman who is a member of the Monster Makers. The Monster Makers are a group of programmers from around the world who met in college, and worked together to create the beings that would eventually become Digimon. She was named after Indian actress and model, Aishwarya Rai.
5. Faye Valentine - Cowboy Bebop
Faye Valentine is one of the most recognizable anime characters out there - but did you know that she's Singaporean? Faye was actually born to a wealthy family in 1994, where she led a relatively normal life - even becoming a cheerleader in high school. After an accident left her badly injured, she was cryogenically frozen and revived in 2068. This led to her new life as a bounty hunter and member of the Bebop crew.
What great Asian anime characters did we miss? Let us know in the comments!