So, I'll confess to not be an expert on East Asian studies, but the Iron Fist wiki says Colleen Wing is the daughter of two allegedly Japanese parents, is a student of Kenjutsu, and has a lot of other Japanese overtones.

But Wing doesn't sound to me (admittedly a Westerner) to be very Japanese, sounds more Chinese to me. And in her intro scene in the Netflix series, she is shown to know some Mandarin. But I couldn't find anything in her backstory online to indicate either of her parents were Chinese or spoke Mandarin.

What am I missing?

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure which wiki you are looking at, but I'm pretty sure (at least in the MCU) Colleen is Chinese. (Neither the Marvel wikia nor the MCU wikia say anything about her heritage.)

We don't know a whole lot about her childhood, but when she first meets Danny, he tries to have a conversation with her in Mandarin. She replies for a while, then says:

Speak English or Japanese, I haven't spoken Mandarin since I was a kid.

The implication here is that she was born in China and spoke Mandarin, but moved to Japan early on and has since largely forgotten her first language.

I don't remember us learning anything specific about her parents, other than that her mother is dead.

For what it's worth, in the comics source, Colleen was born in Japan, but her father is Chinese and her mother was Japanese (a samurai). A similar backstory in the MCU would explain why she seems to be a Chinese native but seems more comfortable with Japanese culture.

  • So, I didn't find anything online about her background in the MCU, just comics. The comics sources I found mention her Mom Bering Japanese and a samurai, but her Dad is only said to be a professor of East Asian studies in NYC (Columbia). I didn't find any that mention knowledge of Mandarin or a Chinese ancestry. Any sources for your comments other than the one quote I already referenced in my question?
    – Paul
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 11:58

Colleen Wing is Japanese, both in the comics and the MCU. Her surname is likely an anglicized version of the original family name, possibly "Ha" (one translation of which is Wing). Wing isn't a common Chinese surname, so the creators of the character were likely unaware that it even existed when they named her.

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