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What is “beautiful?” Depends who you ask! Beauty is a very subjective thing, and its definition changes wildly depending on who you ask. What’s ugly and hideous to one person is attractive and sexy to the next.

There’s no better example of this than the Japanese yaeba phenomenon. Some people in Japan think that a yaeba (八重歯), or snaggletooth, can be the cutest part of a woman. When those front teeth stick out or overlap, it just drives some Japanese men crazy. But why?

YaebaSome say that yaeba makes a woman look cute, almost childlike; like when a kid’s teeth aren’t fully grown in yet. Lots of cultures value signs of youthfulness – yaeba is just looking at youth in an unusual way.

Crooked teeth have become so appealing to some people that you can get a procedure called tsuke yaeba (付け八重歯) or “attached snaggletooth” to get your own, fake yaeba.

Want to get some fake chompers? Hop on over to Dental Salon Plasir in the Ginza district of Tokyo, one of several places across Japan where you can get tsuke yaeba.

Dental Salon Plasir offers a tsuke yaeba procedure that adds custom fitted, removable caps to your teeth for around the low, low price of about US$400.

Don’t think it’s worth the money? Then maybe their commercial will sell you on the procedure. Watch as a woman goes through the whole process of getting tsuke yaeba:

And if you’re still not entirely sold on the idea of getting some teeth capped, maybe the allure of fame will do it for you. As I talked about in our latest Sunday News post, there’s even a new idol group comprising solely girls with yaeba called TYB48.

They’ve got all the same looks as idol sensations AKB48 – plaid skirts, giant bows, and a young, innocent demeanor. The only way you that TYB48 looks from pop battalion AKB48 is their not-so-perfect teeth.

It should be obvious (but still worth mentioning) that, like any other aspect of beauty, the attraction to yaeba isn’t anywhere near universal. In the grand scheme of things, the attraction to yaeba is very niche, but it’s undeniable that the attraction to yaeba is pretty unique to Japan.

Beauty exercisesTo me, the yaeba phenomenon is interesting because emphasizes that all over the world, people sometimes do weird things for beauty. After all, you don’t have to look far to see the strange, sometimes harmful things that people do for beauty, like liposuction, Botox treatment, tattooed eyebrows or lipliner, or harsh, orange tans.

If anything, the whole yaeba trend seems pretty innocuous in comparison. Unlike a lot of other beauty procedures, tsuke yaeba is completely temporary and harmless.

What do you think about yaeba? Is it cute? Would you get some fake yaeba for yourself? Let me know in the comments.

Read more: Inventor Spot, New York Times, Sociological Images

  • testyal1

    Personally, I’m not really keen on crooked teeth. That’s my perfectionist side calling out to me.

  • http://twitter.com/WackoMcGoose Kimura Okagawa

    What do they think of a man having crooked teeth? Because some of my bottom teeth grew in funny…

  • http://www.vietamins.com Viet

    Japan… Asia’s England.

    (Please don’t hurt me)

  • http://about.me/WolfHavenXIII Wolf Haven

    Ok, That commercial was awful… but the fangs on those tsukeyaeba were pretty awesome. Also I don’t mind if someone has yaeba, it’s when their teeth are yellow that I start to mind lol.

  • デス子

    I see… Since they’re both island nations with a language derived from the mainland, love tea, used to be big mean empires, have television shows that only last a season or two, and they totally drive on the left side of the road!

    Good thinking, Viet. If it had’ve been me, I just would’ve made a quip about their teeth.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Lizladyninja Liz Sims

    I had crooked teeth, terribly crooked, for 23 years of my life. I finally got them fixed in the last year and I’m completely happy with them. If I don’t wear my retainer I have one tooth that moves out of place. So I’ve got that snaggle tooth still. But I wouldn’t change it. When I was 16, and in Japan, all my teeth were crooked and I felt I could smile because I wasn’t being measured up to all these girls with perfect teeth. So I will always treasure that one tooth that refuses to be perfect. But I’m glad I got my teeth straightened. It was becoming a health issue. But mad props Japan! Speaking on behalf of my peers with crooked teeth it is nice to see that someone finds our “imperfections” beautiful!

  • デス子

     They’ve got some pretty specific tastes, so they probably wouldn’t care. As far as I can tell, Japan’s only interested in people with their top teeth crooked.

  • bkw

    I love crooked teeth. I find it disturbing when people have perfectly straight, bright white teeth. It looks like they have dentures. Besides crooked just give more character to the one who bares them.

  • bkw

    I meant to say, ” Besides, crooked teeth just give more character to the one who bares them.” Sorry for the mess up. :)

  • http://espo.in/ Jonas

    I’m quite fond of it, but I really only like one kind of yaeba. Just one crooked tooh at the left or right side of the upper teeth, haha.

  • Dolphinwing

    reminds me of magibon…her teeth are terrible

  • http://www.vietamins.com Viet

    I aim to please.

    You, however, miss the fact that both are run under a constitutional monarchy. I suppose some people don’t have the same knowledge power as I.

  • http://www.vietamins.com Viet

    !!! 

    That name is taboo here.

  • Silvia Chan

    I already have natural ones I want to get rid of…but now come to think about it ^^ 

  • isocracy

    The more I see yaeba, the more i like it.. Although, there’s an extreme where I just think ‘you can still eat with those?’ – Just like everything, it’s subjective.. I’d never be put off a girl just because of crooked teeth.. or eve allow that to be a sole purpose of attraction.. It would be nice to find out where this originated from, like there was a famous person X time ago with yaeba who started the trend..
    Anyone have an idea?

  • Hanakatana.com

    I wish Yuki from Judy and Mary didn’t get her teeth straightened. She was sssoooooooo cute!

  • bellaa

    I have a gap tooth so this makes me feel better that the Japanese don’t think teeth need to be perfect. 

  • Guest

    Makes me feel happy about my own double yaeba. While I’m glad these women aren’t messing their mouths up for life over a trend, I still can’t imagine being that bent on changing something about my (physical) self.

    Every dentist I ever had practically demanded that my mom get me braces because my teeth were crooked, but I was scared the drilling would hurt so I told her that I didn’t want them. Never regretted that decision for a day.

  • http://twitter.com/murphykieran Kieran Murphy


    After all, you don’t have to look far to see the strange, sometimes harmful things that women do for beauty’ This line bothers me. Men do crazy things too, like there’s fake bicep and abs implants, steroids for muscles, or not as extreme but living on a diet of turkey and egg whites to bulk up ! 

  • TheMagicRobot

  • TheMagicRobot

     …

  • http://www.tofugu.com/ Hashi

    I was definitely torn about talking about male standards of beauty in this post. There are definitely expectations for male appearances, but I don’t think that the pressures on men are as great as on women, and the yaeba phenomenon in particular doesn’t seem to really apply to men.

    It’s definitely a tricky issue and I’m not sure I could have given it a fair shake in the post without adding another like, 800 words.

  • gengarrr

    oh man that is exactly what I have (naturally, + not that extreme). must move to japan and become cool.

  • ryanlazuli

    wow, and i thought that i was weird for liking crooked teeth :3 thank you, i didn’t know that

  • デス子

     Ab implants? Fake biceps? Ah man, back in my day, we just hooked a bicycle pump up to our arms and blew them up like balloons.

  • http://www.tofugu.com/ Hashi

    Bicycle pumps? Pf, back in my day, we just popped whole cans of spinach into our mouths to bulk up quickly.

  • デス子

     Don’t worry, we’ll have your speech chip repaired in no time. Although I don’t really appreciate those disgusting teeth. They’re all… straight.

  • Abi

    I’d say good for you if you already have tsuke yaeba, but if not its ridiculous to pay about $400 just to get them. Like you said only a group of Japanese people that like it so likely there are still many who don’t.

  • Jam

     I also found that sentence problematic because it implied that women, and only women, do these things out of a natural will to do so, when it’s INCREDIBLY society-propelled, and in many cases the result of a man’s desire (or her perception of a man’s desire) for her to look that way. To have that sentence with no qualifier is not exactly great. In that sentence you weren’t just talking about yaeba, you were mentioning tanning and tattooing makeup and all that stuff, so I don’t see why it has to be limited to women or why it has to be phrased like “women be crazy, doing all this crazy stuff trying to be attractive!”

  • TheMagicRobot

     *beep-boop*

  • Mescale

    I think the thing to understand is it isn’t about a woman’s features, whether she has perfect or imperfect teeth, whether she has large breasts or small breasts, the colour of her eyes, her weight, how she dresses. 

    All that really matters is if she will sleep with you.

    Can girls get implants for that kind of thing?

  • デス子

     I’m not aware of verb implants being things, no.

  • Mescale

    I can’t believe this, I heard all about this technological singularity, which we were rapidly approaching, and it was all bullshit, I DEMAND VERB IMPLANTS, TRANSITIVE, INTRANSITIVE, WHERE IS MY SINGULARITY BITCHES!

  • http://glosson.org/ Andrew Glosson

    more like ヤバぇ歯 

  • Osiris

    I think it can be really cute for some girls but then other girls can’t make it work and just don’t look that great.

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    Jonas and Gengarrr, made for each other!

  • http://www.tofugu.com/ Hashi

    I 100% agree with you that these procedures and desires are the result of societal pressures, not an innate will to do so. I tried to leave the motivation ambiguous, but I can see how it can come across as “women be crazy.” Sorry about how I worded that sentence, I’ll try and go back and remove any ambiguity.

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    OH SNAP

  • Shirley

    I suddenly feel so much better about my yaeba :)

    except when I realized that I’m dont live in Japan (unfortunately) T T

    but cheers to love and acceptance of imperfection :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003410150338 Nicole Yamagawa

    I kept thinking about Kyo (Dir en Grey) while I read this article.. Personally, I think he’s adorable, but I guess it depends on who you ask..

  • Trent

    I think yaeba is cute.  Faking it is going a bit far, though, in my opinion.  Leave your teeth alone unless there’s medical reason to change them, that’s my opinion.

  • Erick Reilly

    I would never, ever, ever, ever get tsuke yaeba. Apart from that, sure, girls can have snaggleteeth and still be pretty.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001189528123 Sayuri Karuson

    Yatta! I’m cute in Japan~ *o* 

  • Paladin341

    What have you done… I wish this name was never mentioned.

  • Dentist

    Now if only the people here flossed those yaeba…

  • Lekos

    Nop I already have Yeaba actually, no 400$ for me!!!

  • Chiisana_Hato

    Vampire fetish.

  • Othique

    At first I didn’t really care about yaeba at all, everybody has their things. But, a day or so ago, I found out that I’m attracted to people, men particularly) that have crooked or odd teeth, especially the cuspids. I found this out after watching Gotye’s “Somebody that I Used to Know” ten million times staring at his mouth the entire time. Now I’m starting to collect pictures of my favorite teeth. <.<;

  • AP

    You said something about crooked teeth being cute (which in turn is associated to child-like appearance). Doesn’t it have peadophilic tendencies?

  • http://www.tofugu.com/ Hashi

    That might be stretching it a bit. I mean, I can think a lot of other attractions based on youth (pigtails, school girl fetishes), but I don’t know if I’d necessarily label them as pedophilic.

  • Tamara2004

    Thank you! I was wondering why no one commented on the “childlike” aspect of it……kind of icky in my opinion!

  • CelestialSushi

    Interesting article… and I know other commenters are talking about people/characters they’re reminded of, so I’ll join in and say that Midna from “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess” was the first person I thought of when I first heard about yaeba.

  • http://twitter.com/empireofderp nej

    I guess I’m the reverse, perfect top teeth, and then one “yaeba” on the right side on my bottom set.
    Ofcourse playing to the stereotype Viet set out for me as an English person. ^^

  • http://www.vietamins.com Viet

    <3

    We still love our neighbors across the pond. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000808001962 Erica Dietlein

    I’ve always thought of Japan as more of… Asia’s Germany.

  • http://www.tofugu.com/ Hashi

    Nah, not enough lederhosen.

  • SaraWyatt

    Gosh, they’re always trying to copy me over in Japan. It’s so embarrassing.  ;D 

    I remember telling off my dentist at 13 when he asked me if I’d like braces. I was like,”No.” full of attitude and spunk. He was like,”Okay… may I ask why?” full of amusement. “Because I like my teeth. They give me character.” nyaaaaa What’s up dentist?! u wish you coulda got that $2000. suck ittttt  (he was actually a really nice guy. handsome, funny and Korean to boot. : i’m an idiot)I like fang-teeth as long as they’re not scary-looking… like all sharp and broken-looking. I also like messed-up crooked teeth and I do think it makes a person look cute and youthful…… to a point. When it looks like they’ve been eating gravel…….. they should probably pop into the dentist to see what he can do about that. 8 I also really like “bunny teeth” xD (like the nice close-up above!) Esp on bidanshi! SO CUTE. Makes me want to pounce on em! It’s just icing on the cute cake.

  • SaraWyatt

    My half-sister has that goin on if you like 5’3″ blondes…………….and married women. ;D hahaha aww. disappointment.
    But really, her tooth looks like the one in the littlest pic you attached.

  • Write too many essays

    Pretty sure this comes from the idol industry. 

    Idols are hugely popular, but not because they are exceptionally beautiful or even exceptionally talented. The attraction of idols is, in addition to being cute and doing cute dances, they feel accessible to average people. 

    New idols make their debut, and basically ask all of the fans to be good to them and support them as they grow. The fans feel they are almost raising this young girl by supporting her through attending concerts, buying CDs, photobooks, magazines, and the like. This mentality is vastly different to the kind of celebrities we are used to in the West; they inhabit some kind of fantasy world, inaccesible to the likes of us unwashed masses, and we worship them for it. 

    In theory, an idol in Japan could be someone as average as the girl next door – she just has to work hard. This accessibility is a very large part of their image, with one good example being their frequent appearances to shake hands with their fans. The reason companies/people who start idol groups want to create this kind of image for them is because this closeness the fans feel with the members of the group make them more loyal, and thus more likely to spend more of their money on them. 

    These kind of imperfections are an extension of that image of accessibility.As to whether or not this means Japan is full of paedophiles (as someone has mentioned), that’s really a whole other can of worms. So for now I’ll just posit that youthfulness is attractive in any culture, to the majority of human beings, seeing as you’ve got a better chance of success mating with someone young than someone old…

  • http://www.facebook.com/charmoyl Charmoyl Roopen

     I also find girls with “crooked” teeth attractive, but not anything too extreme. It’s not like I’d rule out straight toothed girls, or choose a particular girl over another because of their teeth, It’s just that I feel that sometimes they do enhance a girls appearance rather than hinder it.
    For example:
    (*deleted)< haha, nearly posted my ultimate crooked toothed fantasy girl – but common sense got the better of me :P
    Guess it is purely subjective – but I'm with the Japanese point of view on this one. :B

  • grantp

    That’s disgusting.

  • http://mistersanity.blogspot.com Jonadab
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001887233580 Nicole Jones

    when i read this article i though of kyo from dir en grey and JUN. snaggletooth looks good on asian people

  • FRF

    Crooked teeth are so cute!

  • Liz

    I wouldn’t want even more crooked teeth.

  • http://genkialmostidol.wordpress.com/ Martha

    People with crazy perfect teeth remind me of horses.

  • Scarredravens

    Huh..So having crooked teeth finally proves useful for a change.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dawna-Reisner/100000699431940 Dawna Reisner

    I spent my life embarrassed of my fangs. Now youre telling me its a fashion statement???  ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PLANET!? Sigh…I always lose. 

  • Thedawnovtime

    I am correcting my natural snaggle teeth. I am not fixing the chip on my bottom tooth (for a little character), but snaggle is a bit too much for me. Some celebrities can pull it off, and I’d be mad if they changed it (Kirsten Dunst, jewel, Steve Bescemi) :)

  • chloé

    I have natural yaeba :) I personally like it on myself, but after so many people around me (in Canada) asking if I would get them fixed, I’m glad to see Japan actually likes them!

  • Gentlementleman

    Mother of God!

  • Johnny B

    I guess we should then assume that Japanese women are the most perfect of female creatures on earth. Or perhaps oriental women as a whole.
    Elsewise, why would they need to purposely diminish their natural beauty by altering their facial qualities.
    Even to the point of creating eyelid wrinkles.
    For this white guy, nothing can beat the women of the east. Fantastic….

  • http://www.facebook.com/Zellzilli Aidan Ross McFarlane

    you know, you really have to give up on the english having bad teeth thing, the new generation all had free dental on the NHS so technically we have better teeth than most.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eli.pappas Eli Pappas

    Its something that only works for Japanese Woman. As an Aussie, I like it, however, i’m the type of person who likes someone for who they are, with or without yaeba.

  • イーライ

    I think this is something that mainly works for Japanese women. However, as an Aussie, I really like it, as it looks きれい.

  • Piggy

    Vampires!!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/NyNy_x NyNy ♛ ナイナイ

    It’s good to know that they find it cute because some people get teased for it.

    Just asking, would it be possible to comment your opinion of what you know about idols and the music industry would be very helpful in this post:
    http://nynyonlinex.wordpress.com/2012/11/22/a-fans-knowledge-of-japanese-idols-and-the-music-industry/

  • lils

    this makes me feel better about never wearing my retainer >_>

  • Rhianna

    Exactly me too! My teeth are like this naturally I have always felt they were defective and never smile fully etc..

  • Seth

    Also, both have outlandish and comical senses of humour, particularly on the television.

  • carol

    ridiculous!

  • tod biggles

    i don’t understand all of this fucked up.. Kids that complain i mean if u hate emo’s like me .. or any other kids here what are u doing watching this videos? it’s like going to the mall then just saying the mall sucks then leaving .. stupid .. >.>

  • Jody

    Seconded. A lot of our whitening/straightening treatments are becoming cheap, too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/KingdomHeartofPisces Raheem Washington

    I think people have a bad tendency of overlooking their unique elements of “attraction”. There is a generic beauty that leans on the modrn world’s white washed past that the western world is guilty(via the arts and the westernized industrializing of the world). It effected Asia especially yet many westerners absolutely adore foreign oriental beauty. For such reasons I applaud when “weird” is celebrated shamelessly. Japan even has girls rocking the huge circle contact lenses that make girls look like anime characters(and others like monsters). Some girls look better with crooked teeth(like Hiro Shimabukuro of SPEED….gorgeous smile). Ive seen girls that I found more attractive because cute crooked teeth and girls attractive because of flawless straight teeth. At the end of the day, Im a braces man….cute girls with braces have forever changed me ever since I fell in love with one(and I liked her more when she had them).

  • Laj Recano

    it would be fun to try the tsuke-yaeba procedure sometime. :) afterall, it’s just temporary.

  • Lucy

    Am I the only who finds this obsession with per-pubescent girls/aesthetic troubling? I know it’s done differently in the U.S. (marketing to children like adults,sexualized toys/clothes for young girls etc) but the collective phenomenon is headache inducing.

  • nonya business

    thats um special to pay to mess up your teeth google get the london look meme just get a hammer and flat screw driver and there you go

  • m

    Still perfect straight teeth are better than your weird-ass crooked ones.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mercedes.racine.9 Mercedes Racine

    Wow I have a snaggle tooth, it always really bothered me it sticks right out from the other teeth and cause them to be crooked so reading this made me happy, since most of the boys I know think that it’s incredibly ugly. CROOKED TEETH FTW <3

  • Tiffany

    Japanese and British are pretty similar in many ways, even their teeth are equally bad. Please don’t hurt me, I am just saying about my honest opinion.

  • chorochoroshitai

    Compare under jaw of Japanese to Europeans.You can easily understand Japanese one is smaller than Europeans at a glance. As a result correction of teeth is very hard. Dentists recommends to reduce a tooth.However, aside from pain biting sometimes goes wrong and face structure itself changes.Small under jaw causes a lot of troubles. We recently cannot eat hard food such as octopus or hard part of beef.I don’t know this depends on genes or tradition.Some people say it makes our girls’ faces and shapes goodlooking Japanese girls eat very little and their voice is high pitched.Don’t mimic us. It is hazardous to your health.

  • jennyy

    I actually think this is a positive thing, because I mean, how many people are born with the braces straight teeth that the West defines as “beautiful?”

  • Mel89

    Me and my ugly ass teeth need to move to Japan… -_-

  • Jahshuewah Villiam

    i love it!!! Kawaii!!

  • procrastinatoroftheuniverse

    i think this this look is slowly going out of fashion…ive noticed more often in jdramas nowadays that the actors have straighter and whiter teeth. im getting the feeling that more of the japanese celebrities are whitening/bleaching their teeth and some of them might be getting subtle procedures/less visible procedures (such as caps, invisilign, etc) to correct some of their very crooked teeth. their teeth have changed a lot since early 2000s…it might be the influence of western (american) movies/celebrities but i think it might also be due to some of the hallyu wave celebrities (korean celebrities basically all wear braces before debuting and bleach their teeth or get cosmetic dental surgery).

  • GTFO

    Why the fuck are you everywhere?

  • Kyrin

    I wouldn’t get one because i have a real one. I’m getting braces though because I find it extremely unattractive.

  • Kristen Danielle

    I just tell people I’m a vampire.

  • orly

    “have television shows that only last a season or two”

    Two words…doctor who!!!

  • Remy

    Same! In all seriousness, the less you complain about your teeth, the less everyone who’s not a fetishist is going to care about them…

  • Impeding Lies

    Love it! So cute!

  • 子山

    xD wwwwwwww

  • Rupert Ducker

    ILLEGALIZE ORTHODONTICS ! ! ! This yaeba thing has always been the very first thing I look out for in an attractive woman ! ! Natural, beautiful, idiosyncratic, healthy + functional !

  • MFH

    Wait…
    So my crooked right fang is considered cute there?
    Wait, do this also applies to a man? Nope?
    Either way, i lose.

  • Tara McInerney

    Hey, I know old thread is old, but just in case you were still interested on this topic-
    The phenomenon of females taking on qualities of youthfulness or childhood in order to appear attractive is called neoteny. It’s the name reason people find small dogs cute, they look like babies. You can find a lot of information online about neoteny and many people have documented it. Even females removing their bodily hair is a neotenous pursuit. I find it very interesting to look at so I hope one year later this is still interesting to you too!

  • Eve

    Oh, COME ON … how NOT funny – Lederhosen are only worn in Bavaria (and Thuringia, maybe), aka in the South (I will not say “where the hillbillies live”).
    The rest of us are dressed like – hmm, Americans, but with less Spandex? *ouch*

  • Steve

    …Downton Abbey… The Office…

  • Jazzy

    That’s horrible!!!!

  • jonesy974

    It’s not so much the pointy teeth that bother me, which I guess is what the whole yaeba craze is. My quip is with the teeth being crooked as hell. That girl who got it done in the video didn’t look too bad because she had straight, well taken care of teeth with some fangs attached to them. But when some of those girls have teeth that zig-zag like a fuckin zipper, ON TOP of having yaeba, that’s when I hit the “no…just..n-n…pleas do something about that shit” threshold.