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Japan’s Beauty Standards: Who is Considered Beautiful in Japan?

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Japan’s Beauty Standards: Who is Considered Beautiful in Japan?

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Beauty standards vary depending on the country. In America, many people prefer tanned skin, curvy bodies, and ultra white straight teeth. In Japan, the opposite is often true with pale skin and slim bodies considered ideal. Also, since there is also a strong culture of kawaii or cuteness in Japan, ideal beauty is often found in cuteness rather than sexiness. Here are a few of the most common beauty standards in Japan:

Pale Skin

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In Japan, you’ll often see people with sun visors, umbrellas and arm covers, even in the summer. This ideal of pale skin in Japan is referred to as 美白 (bihaku), or beautiful white. In stores, you will often see beauty products like body creams, face masks, sunscreen, etc. advertised as having the power of bihaku, or the power to whiten your skin. Women aren’t the only ones who buy these products however, as products with whitening effects have been made and marketed to men as well in recent years.

Small Face

Whether you have a good figure or not is often judged by the proportion of your face to your body. A model might have 9頭身 (kyuutōshin), or a body that is the length of nine of her or his heads. Having a small face or head in comparison to your body is considered beautiful in Japan. Although it might sound strange when someone in Japan tells you that you have a small face, don’t worry. It’s supposed to be a compliment.

Big Eyes

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Often exaggerated in manga and anime, big eyes have been a continuous fad in Japan. Makeup products are advertised to have an effect on making your eyes seem bigger and color contacts are a staple in Japan. For those who are not satisfied by makeup, blepharoplasty, or the double eyelid surgery, is a common surgery in Japan to transform from a monolid to a double eyelid. When you take purikura pictures too, the machine will often give you options on how much you want to enlarge your eyes.

Yaeba

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One beauty trend in Japan that is often considered strange by other countries around the world is the yaeba trend. Yaeba means double tooth and refers to slightly crooked teeth with a fang-like appearance. Although for your dental health, yaeba is not the best, the crooked teeth are still considered a cute feature in Japan.

Slim Body

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Rather than a curvy body, a slender body is often considered beautiful in Japan. Those that are slender tend to fit better in traditional Japanese clothes like kimonos and yukatas as well. People who have a curvier figure may actually bind down breasts before putting on the traditional clothing.


Every year, a ranking is released by Oricon on what face women in Japan want to have. Through an online survey, 500 women of all ages are asked whose famous person’s face they would like to have. Last year in 2016, Ishihara Satomi won first place. We can see that the Japanese beauty ideals mentioned above, are still considered ideal.

What do you think about Japan’s beauty ideals? What are some beauty ideals in your country that might be considered strange in other parts of the world?

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Author
Erika
Erika

Born in US, currently a student in Japan. Loves Japanese culture, both traditional and contemporary.

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