Yokogao Bijin: Japan’s Most Beautiful Side Profiles

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Yokogao Bijin: Japan’s Most Beautiful Side Profiles

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Actress Mao Inoue of has won numerous awards since she shot to fame for her role in the iconic Hana Yori Dango drama series. Recently she won yet another—but not for acting. She was chosen out of 1000 women to receive the first prize for the E-Line Beautiful Award, an award that honors women with exceptionally beautiful side profiles.

From the film "Yakiniku Dragon".

From the film “Yakiniku Dragon”.

Do you ever notice that side of a person’s face? Known as “yokogao” (横顔) in Japan side, profiles are highly regarded, and there are specific traits that define what is attractive.

The most basic criterion for a beautiful side profile is the E-line: short for Esthetic line, it’s an orthodontic term that refers to an imaginary line extending from the tip of the nose to the chin. This line is used to judge the balance of the face’s structure from its side, and in Japan it’s widely considered ideal if the lips are away from this line (that is to say, they are not protruding).

From Emi Takei's official calendar 2013.

From Emi Takei’s official calendar 2013.

So who is considered to have the most beautiful side profiles? Famous past winners of the E-Line Beautiful include actresses Emi Takei, who won in 2012 and Ayame Goriki who followed the year after. In 2015, actress and former idol (of the group X21) Miyu Yoshimoto was given the award. These female talents stand out for their exemplary E-line, showing yet another side of their beauty. During this year’s award ceremony Inoue explained that she grew up with the importance of having good teeth as an actress, attributing the physical structure of her side profile to the mindset she was raised with.


The most popular side profile though, arguably goes to Goriki. Often praised for the elegant shape of her face, many people in Japan see her side profile as the most desirable. Goriki herself has also expressed her confidence in the line of her neck which extends smoothly from her chin. Having short, cropped hair also helps to show off her perfectly balanced profile; you can’t help but appreciate the beauty of her side.

From the DVD "Momoko Tsugunaga Last Live Arigatou Otomomochi".

From the DVD “Momoko Tsugunaga Last Live Arigatou Otomomochi”.

Former Hello! Project idol Momoko Tsugunaga is also known as a “yokogao bijin” (woman with a beautiful side profile). In polls and discussion boards, she’s often set apart and admired by netizens for her E-line. Whether they were idol fans or not, it’s hard to dispute the beauty of Tsugunaga’s E-line. Neither too sharp nor too rounded, her side profile is delicately shaped with just the right softness in its edges.

Of course, beauty is beauty no matter where you look from. But there is a unique charm of the side profile that gives a person’s face another dimension and look—all the more to appreciate! And with Japan’s many characteristics and standards, it’s interesting to compare the many different shapes and structures of the yokogao. The importance of the E-line takes center stage here in Japan. What do you notice in a person’s yokogao?

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College student in Tokyo and lover of Ghibli and Hello! Project.

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