December 16, 2010


In another installment in my occasional "eye of the beholder" series, I tackle teeth. When I was first in Japan thirty years ago, there was a whole class of models willing to unabashedly put their yaeba (八重歯), or overlapping canines, on public display.

Quoting Wikipedia-Japan, "the retarded growth of the upper palate or delayed loss of the baby teeth" causes the upper canines to overlap the incisors.

Modern othordontics is slowly eating away at the phenomenon, though yaega (yaeba + "girl") continue to be quite popular in some quarters. They're clearly discernible in this photograph of Princess Masako.

And (of course) there's a whole website devoted just to yaega.

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