According to the game's illustrator Akira “Akiman” Yasuda in a 2003 interview, Chun-Li's design was initially based on the Chinese character Tao from the animated film, Genma Wars (or Harmagedon in the west). Yasuda then went on to make several additions to the design, which resulted in her appear appearance the final game.

"My first idea resembled the Chinese character Tao from the Genma Taisen (Genma Wars) animated movie, with big wide-legged pants. She would also have that front and back apron. The character wasn’t very sexy though, and my design lacked visual impact and personality. So at the 11th hour, I experimented and made a bunch of frantic changes to the pixel art. First I tried giving her bare legs and a bodycon dress. That made her look like a female pro-wrestler, a sort of “fake” kung-fu fighter. It’s a little bit hard to describe in words, but it had a lot of impact, and I decided to go with it and release her to the world this way."
Contributed by DrakeVagabond
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