Tokyo Blog, Tokyo Story

The blog of Stephen David Smith, Tokyo, Japan 2014

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I’ve been asked by someone in Japan to write something on Tokyo Story about yaeba in order to enlighten people outside of Japan. Indeed, I had no clue what it meant, but I’ve seen it first hand here on the streets and subways of Tokyo. Yaeba means ‘crooked teeth’, but usually refers to a movement in Japan, of guys who like yaeba girls. The classic yaeba crooked smile is supposedly a genetic trait of Okinawans mainly, and manifests itself as large, misshapen teeth or as a ‘double tooth’, where two canine teeth grow one in front of the other. Sometimes canine teeth are pushed forwards due to an overcrowded gum line and give the girl a feline look – which is supposedly where the attraction for yaeba fans comes from. It’s supposed to be charming or cute to certain Japanese guys. There are a good few celebrities with yaeba in Japan, but rather than have it fixed at a dentist, they keep it and show it off as an asset. People in the west think it’s strange, as it’s desirable to have perfect teeth there – but it’s different here. As usual.