Double Eyeylids…A Japanese Female Obesession?

I’m a Glee fan. So I try to make sure I find ways to keep up with the show. In one of the episodes I watched recently. One of the main characters, Rachel, gets her nose broken while dancing. Her doctor suggests possibly getting a nose job, and the whole episode deals with people and the the many insecurities they have with their own appearances. I found it to be pretty intriguing, because it’s not just Americans who want to change how they look, I realize that it’s a pretty big deal here in Japan, too.

I am always find it interesting to see how appearance is viewed from country to country, culture to culture. And how certain parts of the the body or specific aspects of a person’s features are pinpointed from culture to culture. I have talked to several students (female) who have come up with some pretty interesting reasons as to why they’re not attractive enough. Some of the things are so minor (in my opinion anyway), that I didn’t realize people actually paid such close attention to them. Let’s look at a few cosmetic/genetic issues that I’ve heard women in Japan mention wanting to change.

The first one I have heard is about having a face that’s too round. In Japan, it seems as though both men and women find slimmer faces more attractive. I have heard a beautiful woman being described and one of the first things I hear, is “She has a slim face.” On a similar note, I’ve also hear white-skinned mentioned in the same breath. “She’s pretty. She has a slim face, white (light) skin…” So if you ever see a woman Japan riding a bicycle wearing gloves, or walking while wearing gloves, in the middle of a piping hot, Japanese summer, that’s the reason. I don’t see men paying any attention to it. But it’s a big deal to a lot of Japanese women. They don’t want their skin to get darker. I have heard this can be traced back to ancient Japan, when lighter skin was a mark of a higher-class women, a distinction of beauty. I gonna have to say I totally disagree on this one. Why? You ask. Maybe being African-American has a little bit to do with it :) . Beauty comes in ALL shades!

This is my eye. The arrows are pointing to the double eyelid that I've heard Japanese women mention on several occasions.

Another one that I found interesting was the double eyelids. I had never heard of this until I came to Japan. Do you have double eyelids? Okay, well, look in the mirror. When you open your eyes. Does the skin of your upper eyelid fold, forming a crease (it’s would be above your eyelashes but below your eye socket)? If so, you have a “double eyelid.” If not, you have a single eyelid. I think these must be pretty normal in the U.S., because I never even thought about it. At the same time, single eyelids must be common in Japan. One of my female students actually told me that she and some of her friends would take a spoon and press in that area, to try to get double eyelids without cosmetic surgery….YIKES!!

A third, common change that some Japanese women talk about is their noses. More Japanese women than you might think, are enamored with having a “high bridged nose.” In other words they want the bridge of their nose to protrude more. It’s so interesting, because it seems like men and women in the U.S. kinda want the opposite, a smaller, less protruding nose.

In addition to these, some Japanese women want bigger breasts (I think that’s common across the globe), others want their eyes to be more round (Ayumi Hamasaki, a famous Japanese pop singer actually underwent cosmetic surgery for this very procedure), some want to be taller (good luck if that ever becomes a types of surgery), and the list goes on and on.

It’s fascinating to me that people always find beauty in someone else’s features. For example with the eyes being more round. In Japan, round eyes are different, and uncommon, so I think that’s why people like them. I know there are people in the U.S. who have had surgery to make their eyes more slanted. Weird right?

The desire for cosmetic “improvements” and enhancements have been around probably for as long as humans have been, and it’s a debate that will never go away. To change or not to change? That is the question.

If there is one thing you could change about yourself, what would it be? Would you change anything?
What’s your definition of a beautiful woman or man?

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  • Donald Ash

    I like myself. I wouldn’t change anything, not surgically anyway. But I’ve never had big calves and I’m working on building those a bit in the gym. I’ve been balding since I was about 24 or 25 years old. It might be nice to have an afro again, but I don’t mind being bald, I think it suits me just fine.

    My definition of a beautiful woman, is one that isn’t necessarily the prettiest person in the world, but she’s easy on the eyes, takes care of herself, is funny, confident and she just has “that something” that shines through…even in a room full of knockouts (if that makes any sense).

    • I can understand wanting to be healthier. That’s never a bad thing.. but I’m happy with the body I was born with for the most part. It gets me where I’m going!

      A lot of my girlfriends and I are always confused by why so many beautiful women get so obsessed with becoming even more beautiful. It’s a very vicious cycle.

      The rainbow comes in so many hues.. we too come in so many shapes and sizes! Diversity is a beautiful thing.

      • Donald Ash

        Yes it is, Nanami…well said!

  • see the link I sent you privately……

    you can see the most common types of surgery:
    nose jobs
    lip augmentation
    boob augmentation
    shaving of jaw bones
    silicone or other nose inserts
    chin inserts
    eye lid changes
    botox and fillers
    fake teeth (too white, too prominent!)

  • Ceci

    wow…double eyelids eh. I never even noticed whether someone had them or not. …totally not on my radar. I guess it’s just human nature to what what you don’t have. Oh the positive side, it motivates us to become better at the things we can change, but on the negative, it makes us obsess about the things we can’t change or that really are irrelevant.

    I guess I’m around the middle of the pack on the attractiveness scale…just a typical Caucasian female. I don’t think I’d change much, but I guess I’d like to have better skin…oh…and a better chin. Yeah, a nice chin with a stronger jaw line. But I’m not going to spend a fortune or do surgery. I am what I am. So I’m living with it because it’s good enough for me.

    I have to agree with you Donald on what you think is an attractive person. I’ve noticed on those makeover shows (but I’ve watched all of 4 of them) that people who may appear to be unattractive actually “clean up real nice” when they finally get their hair cut well, and wear clothes that fit them properly and are stylish. If you just take care of yourself and have a positive attitude, you *will* be seen as attractive. I’ve bungled both of those in the past and I still mess up the positive attitude. But in my experience, those two things make more difference than any particular physical trait.

  • devin

    As for me I am bald too Donald but to be honest it doesn’t even bother me anymore. You know my ex spent a fortune to get braces on her teeth and I was always like “You know I’m going to love you just as much with imperfect teeth right?” People shouldn’t neglect their inner beauty and then overcompensate on their physical beauty. It’s just all lopsided.

    And you are right…Beauty comes in all shades!

    And I just saw the movie 200 cigarettes. And there is a line in there by Casey Affleck about loving someone because they have a round head and round eyes and that made me laugh.

  • Julia

    When I visited Japan last Summer I noticed alot of products on the market aimed at women who wanted ‘double eyelids’. They were typically stickers that you put on your eyelids every morning to make the double fold I suppose. I also noticed alot of models for girls fashion magazines had it on too…
    I’m not sure how I feel about that.
    What I love about Japan is how deep rooted it’s culture & heritage remains in the 21st century. But I can’t help but feel that these women are purposely trying to make themselves look ‘Western’ by trying to get rid of the slanted eyes to get them rounder. It’s pretty saddening to me that disguising the features that your parents and grandparents gave you have become the new fashion. I hope this doesn’t last.

    Great post, by the way.

    • Donald Ash

      Whoa, I’d never heard about the stickers for. That’s crazy…and a little weird. I’m gonna have to find some of those. I hear you on that Julia, your features are such a big part of who you are, who your family is, where you come from…why change it, right? I hope it doesn’t last long either.

  • Megan

    You mentioned a surgery that makes you taller. Bad news, there is a surgery that will do that. It’s disgusting. They drill a hole in your thigh bone, then break it and insert a metal rod that extended your leg length by three to four inches. *shiver*

    • Donald Ash

      Megan, please tell me you’re joking! Ah, makes my skin crawl just thinking about the pain.

    • bang2tang

      actually it was also performed to people with bone deformity…

  • Ray

    When I was a baby my mom told me she would rub my eyelids from the inner corner to the outer and that’s how I got my double eyelids. She said when they finally appeared, she was so happy but now they are starting to go away a bit on my left eye. She told me to gently rub it again and now they are back!

  • Xissy

    There is such a procedure to lengthen your legs, but originally it was invented in Russia to help people with dwarfism (extremely short stature) to lead more normal lives. Unfortunately, it is now being performed on girls who want to be models and men who consider themselves short to gain more height.


    Most of the Japanese girls have double eyelids, idiot ! Do you research or go to Japan and see for yourself. The writer of this articles must be one of those chinese or southeast asian girls that have always been envious of the beauty of the Japanese girls that they could never have… lol

    Give you a good advice, try using beauty products that are only made in Japan… it will help a bit !

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