In many Western countries, crooked teeth are seen as imperfections and most people consider a straight set of pearly whites ideal.
The story is slightly different in Japan, where yaeba, or snaggletooth, are considered cute; with some men finding the imperfect smile they form endearingly childlike and attractive.
Okay, so maybe ‘snaggletooth’ is an unfair translation. Yaeba literally means “multilayered” or “double” tooth, and describes the fanged look achieved when molars crowd the canines and push them forward. It’s not a serious dental deformity, but it’s certainly enough to get you picked on at school in some countries.
Thanks to the popularity of pop-idol group AKB48’s Tomomi Itano (pictured above) and other celebrities sporting a pair of rogue chompers of their own, yaeba has turned into a cosmetic craze in recent years, with Japanese women of all ages flocking to dental clinics to have temporary or permanent artificial canines, called tsuke-yaeba, glued to their teeth. The price? Anywhere from US$210 – $540 — per tooth.
Before & after
Dental Salon Plasir, located in Tokyo’s ritzy Ginza district, is one such clinic offering a tsuke-yaeba procedure, and they’ve even made this informative commercial so you can see what the process of paying someone to wreck your teeth is like:
Longtime readers of our site might also recall the world’s first snaggletooth girl group, TYB48 (tsuke-yaeba48), which held their debut concert in Akihabara, Tokyo, last April.
TYB48 was actually formed by another dental clinic offering tsuke-yaeba, Pure Cure in Roppongi, Tokyo. Excite recently sat down with clinic director and strapping young playboy Taro Masuoka (pictured below) to ask him about the popularity of tsuke-yaeba and how he came up with the idea for a pop group.
“Don’t worry darling, this will only hurt for a few seconds.”
“Yaeba give girls an impish cuteness”, spoke Masuoka, who for some reason deliberately lists himself as ‘single’ on the Pure Cure website. “It’s a sense of beauty unique to the Japanese, but yaeba can be an attractive feature on women in their teens and twenties.” He even encourages the former group into his clinic with a half-price discount on tsuke-yaeba for middle school and high school students (ID required).
Masuoka, a Sagittarius and B blood type, admits that there are some women who come back to have their tsuke-yaeba taken off, and for that reason also offers removable-type tsuke-yaeba at the same price.
Regarding the formation of TYB48, Masuoka, who enjoys making cakes and cosplaying in his free time, explains: “A lot of my patients are fashion-conscious and very cute. I wanted to find some way to take advantage of this, so I formed TYB48.”
While TYB48 has yet to make it big on the pop idol stage, it looks like the yaeba craze will be sticking around in Japan for awhile; but could it ever catch on overseas? Let us know what you think of the look in the comments below! :B
▼Tomomi Itano: the current poster girl of yaeba