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11 Differences Between Japanese and Western Beauty Standards

You might think there are few differences between what’s considered beautiful in Japan and in the West. But Japanese and Caucasian beauty standards have some important key differences.

Skin color

Most East Asian countries prefer pale white skin on a woman. Japanese women in particular go to extreme lengths to protect their skin from the sun. In the West, as long as the skin is clear the color is not important, but people tend to want what they don’t have. If a person is naturally pale, she’d want tanned skin and vice versa.

Japanese prefer pale skin, while Westerners like a tan.

Face size

In East Asia, small faces are considered more beautiful. In the West, being proportionate is obviously important, but face size isn’t stressed too much. I mean, people will definitely call you “lollipop head” if your head is too big for your body, but it’s not “ugly”.

Eyes and eyelids

Most Japanese people think large eyes and double eyelids are more beautiful. Caucasians also think a big eye is more beautiful, but most people have never heard the terms “monolid” or “double eyelid” before and don’t consider one more beautiful than the other.

In Japan, double eyelids are more popular.


Both in East Asia and the West, thick, voluminous eyelashes are sought after. Typically, Asian eyelashes are more sparse and also naturally straight and difficult to curl, which is why fake eyelashes became more popular for daily wear.


For Caucasians, most people desire smaller noses in all aspects. Japanese women, meanwhile, want their nose bridges to appear more prominent. Having a conspicuous bump or taller nose bridge gives your facial profile “interest”. Reina Hoshi is a Japanese Instagrammer with a naturally conspicuous nose:


For both, having large and full lips is becoming more popular, but there is not much emphasis on it in Japan. It’s just not that important. Maybe since Japanese women naturally have fuller lips, it’s not as sought-after as it is in Caucasian countries, where having thin lips is more common.


Years ago, Singaporean blogger Qiuqiu had a facial reconstructive surgery to reduce her cheekbones and the angular appearance of her face. It was pretty shocking for a lot of people . But actually in East Asia an angular face and high cheekbones are not as desirable as the coveted small and smooth watermelon seed face.

In the West, many models have high cheekbones and full lips.


Americans in particular obsess over having perfectly straight white teeth, but this is desirable in most places now including Japan. But in Japan, slightly crooked, imperfect or yes, even the dreaded snaggle tooth (yaeba), is cute to some people!

Hair color

Almost all Japanese women lighten their hair to some degree. Naturally, it’s so dark that it appears black, but like anywhere natural hair color is rarely embraced. Westerners don’t have a preference as to what hair color is most beautiful anymore, though it used to be that blonde was most desirable.

In Japan, lightened, wavy hair is stylish.

Hair style

Most Japanese women have hair that’s ideal to the average Caucasian. It’s smooth, straight and usually voluminous, though not always. But for them, wavy hair is more attractive and stylish. Meanwhile, many Caucasians struggle with thin, limp and wavy hair, and they want voluminous straight hair!


In Japan, long slim legs reign supreme! They are one of the most attractive qualities a woman can have. I suppose it’s the same in the West though, isn’t it? Though in general, Westerners are more forgiving if a woman is carrying a few extra pounds and some even prefer it that way, but this is rare in Japan.

Japanese prefer long slim legs…oh wait, so do Westerners!

In conclusion…

when you really think about it, it’s not surprising at all. Most Caucasian people have wavy hair, so they want straight hair. Most Japanese are short, so they want long legs. The thing that’s unusual is the thing that’s appealing and interesting to us, naturally.

Inspired by Madam Riri’s post, “9 Differences Between White and Japanese Beauty Standards” (Japanese). All pictures from Pixabay.

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