“Yaeba”, or “snaggleteeth”, conjures up positive and cute images like “it’s adorable and puppy-like” or “it makes her smile give off a twinge of sweetness”, but not overseas. There, snaggleteeth=vampire and carries an evil-like image, so it’s common for those with snaggleteeth to get braces to fix them. In short, it appears that snaggleteeth=cute is part of Japan’s unique cultural mindset.

Girls like former AKB48 member Tomomi Itano, Momoiro Clover Z’s Kanako Momota, Morning Musume 15th Generation’s Haruka Kudoh, and ℃-ute’s Airi Suzuki are all snaggletooth girls with smiles that are considered especially cute. Wanting to be like these snaggletooth girls, it’s become popular for women in their teens and twenties to get snaggleteeth cosmetic surgery or stick on snaggleteeth. With the opinion that “having a devilish-looking front snaggletooth makes you look cuter” or “having a front snaggletooth as a focal point makes your smile shine”, the popularity of snaggleteeth continues to grow as a stylish accessory or an easy way to change your image.

We even found this maniac-like book called Snaggletooth Girl! We’ve come up with a few theories about how the snaggleteeth became cute as part in Japan’s unique cultural mindset. The unique appeal of an overlapping double tooth has been described as “wabi”, or “the tendency for Japanese to find beauty in unevenness or imperfection, and snaggleteeth playing into a part of that”.

Even though overseas snaggleteeth might be considered a bad thing, in Japan there’s the thinking that “snaggleteeth make her cute”. In short, if someone with a nice or symmetrical face has a snaggleteeth, Japanese are quicker to embrace an affinity to the imperfect and tend to look at it in a favorable light.

Those overseas may not be able to agree, but it’s just how Japanese people think, and there’s nothing wrong with that, right? Those who think it’s creepy or evil-looking are free to do think that way! In the same way women would squeeze themselves into corsets because 50 cm waists were considered beautiful in medieval Europe, snaggletooth girls are considered cute in Japan now.


Tokyo Girls' Update


By - grape Japan editorial staff.