Tokyo Blog, Tokyo Story

The blog of Stephen David Smith, Tokyo, Japan 2014



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.


11 Responses to “Yaeba!”

  1. MACO Says:

    Thank you for writing down the articles regarding ‘Yaeba’ per my request!

  2. sakurano Says:

    oh no, the “yaeba” theeth is not a genetic trait of Okinawan as you represented above…please check a more accurate and reliable source for yaeba, and I believe you’ll also find that most Okinawan have a straight-line of teeth instead of yaeba…

  3. Stephen Says:

    I can’t remember where I found the info now, but I read it on the net. I’m not sure if it’s true or not, but actually, I have friends from Okinawa – and their teeth are the straightest I’ve ever seen! Hope I didn’t offend anybody – I actually like Yaeba…

  4. Mia Says:

    iv’e got yaeba theeth, and i’m norwegian

  5. maysmith Says:

    I have yaeba teeth too. im american! from the atl, georgia
    then again, its probably hillbilly inbred genetics from my dads side
    that what my mom says

  6. taya Says:

    I think whatever makes someone happy is fine. if they want braces becuase they feel insecure then by all means do it.

    but personally most of the decision is based on other ppl making out the ideal “beauty” is straight teeth which is what i disagree with.
    if ur teeth are nice and healthy but a little crooked and u feel that theres nothing wrong with it but ppl tell u to get braces i think thats wrong. decisions shouldnt be based on what other ppl think.

    unless u cant eat with ur teeth, then theres a problem. cuz i think teeth are for eating bascially.

    i think japanese ppl are showing an alternative to what beauty is considered in western cultures.

    different cultures brainwashing ppl to think straight teeth is beauty, bigger breasts are beauty, slim, tall, etc etc. i think thats wrong

  7. maaya Says:

    I’ve had yaeba teeth all my life.I have to admit I’ve had a period I had complexes about it… But I didn’t want a brace as well, I mean, when I looked at all those people around me with straight teeth…they were all the same…I started to feel my teeth were special at least and started to accept them. However I never wanted to smile on fotos… Not long ago I did some research about Japan (because I love it so much, including manga, J-rock, cosplay, the food etc.)and I discovered teeth like mine are considered cute in Japan! All the girls on the pictures proudly showed their teeth on fotos, as I do right now. I’m so happy and I’m convinced I never want a brace!

  8. maaya Says:

    I’m a belgian girl, by the way…

  9. Jeremy Says:

    Dr. Emilie Zalow, an assistant professor of communication studies at Pace University in Manhattan said that the trend illustrates a fixation on youth in Japan. “The gapped tooth is sort of preorthodontic or early development, and the naturally occurring yaeba is because of delayed baby teeth, or a mouth that’s too small,” she told the Times. “It’s this kind of emphasis on youth and the sexualization of young girls.”

  10. Stephen Says:

    I’m not convinced.

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