In the west, crooked teeth is something seen as a flaw. A flaw which needs to be fixed with braces or cosmetic denistry. In Japan however, not only is it not considered a flaw, but is quickly becoming something considered “cute”.
Double teeth (or snaggletooth) in Japan is known as “Yaeba”. Why many find this ‘cute’ is still something of a mystery. According to fans of yaeba in Japan, girls who possess it take on a feline look which may make them seem more attractive. Others, when asked, say it’s the little imperfections that makes pretty girls look more approachable as opposed to the heavily airbrushed and photoshopped models that appear on western magazine covers.
However, it may have something to do with being a neotenous feature which are features or traits that allow someone to appear more youthful (larger eyes, smaller chins, etc). Neotenous features are right up Japan’s alley as they consider themselves “the culture of cute”. If you’re a fan of anime or manga, then you’re already familiar with neoteny as it is the hallmark stylization of the genre.
Contributing to the trend, or perhaps was the catalyst itself, are the many Japanese actors, idols, pop-stars and TV personalities with yaeba. Instead of having their perceived imperfections fixed, they unabashedly sport them in front of the camera and to their fans. For some, it becomes their trademark.
Yaeba On Purpose?
Something new is happening in Japan. Recently, a few dental salons in Tokyo have been experiencing quite the business boom after they began advertising cosmetic procedures to enhance yaeba. Dr. Yoko Kashiyama, a dentist at one of these salons, perform a wide variety of cosmetic dental procedures, but she states that yaeba enhancement is definitely the most popular.
The procedure can either be temporary or permanent but it isn’t cheap – be prepared to cough up $200-$500 per tooth ‘yaeba enhanced‘.
Using an adhesive, custom-designed artificial teeth or caps are glued onto a person’s natural teeth to make them more pronounced. One Japanese TV station sent a reporter to one of these dental salons, not only to do a report on the procedure — but actually get it done herself. You can watch the video at the below.
Move Over AKB48
The new group is called “TYB48“, which is an abbreviation for Tsuke Yaeba (literal translation: fake double tooth). TYB48 had their first live concert debut on May 30th of last year, and have stayed somewhat active with their most recent live performance taking place on April 20th in Akihabara. They have released a concert DVD and several music CDs, even teaming up with supercell on their most recent single.
How do you feel about yaeba? Cute or not? Let us know in the comments below.