Friday, October 28, 2016

Please, Please Don't Smile...!

Last week we talked about the fashion statement of ridiculously high heel shoes back in the Victorian days.

Today, let's expand that to old Japan and a crazy fashion that started there. Not only the women, but to even some men. This one is beyond understanding, I'm afraid!

Blackening Your Teeth

Photo credit:

Until recently, women in Japan took dentistry in a different direction. They agreed that tooth decay was one of the best looks out there. So if a woman’s teeth weren’t falling out on their own, she’d paint them black.

Japanese women have been blackening their teeth for so long that we aren’t sure when or why they started doing it. At the very least, by about AD 900, women were painting their teeth black. Shortly after, men started doing it, too.

The Japanese mixed hot water, sake, and red-hot iron in a pot and let it sit for five days. A black scum would rise to the top, which they would scrape off and rub on their teeth.

Eventually, the look went out of fashion. In 1870, it was banned outright, but that was nearly 1,000 years after it started. Japanese people spent the better part of a millennium trying to look good by imitating tooth decay.

It seems to me that the only folks really behind this movement had to be the dentist and I can't even imagine them being in favor.

Coffee out on the patio this morning!


deborah harvey said...

my understanding of this is that it came from the chewing of the betel nut.
after the japanese colonized the islands their supply of betel ran out as it does not grow in japan.
it became a habit of the rich who bought what was left.
in order not to be seen as poor, people found a way to get the appearance of chewing betel, without the actual nut itself.
i suppose it was a face saver but eventually became the fashion.
[people are funny, a la art linkletter.]

Chickenmom said...

Yikes! Glad it went out of fashion.

Hermit's Baby Sis said...

Now there's a Halloween costume! When I lived in Japan, all the people seemed to have lovely teeth, as opposed to the Brits who usually seems to have too many teeth in a smallmouth, thus always making them crooked.

Glad it was close to Oct 31 when you showed this one ~ Big hugs

HermitJim said...

Hey Deborah...
Thanks for the information. I always learn a little extra when doing a post about these types of fashion and history.
Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey Phyllis...
You and me both! Not a look that would go over big now days, I reckon.
Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Sis...
It would make for a great costume at that. I'll try and see what else I can find along those lines.
Many thanks for the visit this morning!

JO said...

Some people go through all these whitening things to have better looking teeth and these people want to have the worst look. But how about some of the people here who have their teeth capped in cold. Must be nice to have that kind of money.

I'm ready for some good coffee this morning

Dizzy-Dick said...

Wow, black teeth!! All the teeth that I have left in my mouth are mine and although they may not be pearly white, they are a long way from being black. No artificial ones yet.