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Head Shrinking, Japanese Style

I saw this poster in the window of a esthé salon in Shin Okubo, advertising a facial treatment that supposedly delivers that holy grail of Japanese pulchritude, the “small face.” (How a massive foam cocoon is supposed to change the fundamental structure of your head is a mystery to me, but I guess hope springs eternal.)

The first time someone exclaimed about what a small face I had,  I thought “Hunh?” It didn’t sound like the person was trying to insult me, but tininess of heads is not exactly prized in America. It was finally explained to me that Japanese people believe that if your body is in perfect proportion, your head will be 1/8th of your total height, and that the typical Japanese body proportions are more like 1/7. Walking the Health & Beauty section of the Tokyu Hands store, I discovered all kinds of fixes for this nagging problem, including a number of creams and facial exercise devices that made me laugh, because they reminded me of the “bust enhancement” products I longed for as a skinny teenager.

This one’s my favorite though, because it’s such a “Friday the 13th” beauty solution:

If you’d like to visit a Tokyu Hands store the next time you’re in Tokyo, maps are on my website, The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had.

Read a novel set in Tokyo

A young woman dressed as a Gothic Lolita is found dead in a car with a pair of strangers. But the more Yumi Hata learns about her friend’s death, the more she’s convinced it was murder…read more

Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

3 thoughts on “Head Shrinking, Japanese Style Leave a comment

    • Oh no, no need to measure. I can assure you that you already have a SMALL FACE! Doesn’t this kind of make you think about other standards of beauty and realize how arbitrary and strange they are?

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