Give me some lip: The current craze for 'duck mouth' in Japan

Give me some lip: The current craze for 'duck mouth' in Japan

Ahiru-guchi -- a pouty look where lips purse outwards like a duck -- is the new shorthand for an attractive face
duck mouth
Model Yuri 'Ebichan' Ebihara makes a perfect duck-mouth while hitting the runway for Tokyo Girls Collection 2007 Spring/Summer.

Ahiru-guchi -- 'duck mouth' -- is a term used in Japan to describe a special lip formation said to be a common trait for beautiful women and men. Much like a common mallard, the perfect duck mouth has lips that jut out a bit from the face and purse slightly to create an adorable pouty look. Usually the lips' protruding is caused by 'yaeba' double teeth -- the cutesy dental malformation that idols must have to become popular.

Although the term ahiru-guchi has been popular for some time, the Internet has been particularly excited about the look in recent days. The image collection page on Naver for ahiru-guchi offers some fine examples, including our pick for the current master of the look -- "Nonno" model Miho Tanaka. The otaku of Japanese BBS 2ch seem particularly obsessed with the ahiru-guchi of seiyu anime voice actress and singer Aya Hirano. Each social group has its own duck mouth heroine, apparently.

In case the Internet does not give you enough duck mouth to lust over, April 3 will see the release of a new book called "Twitter's explosively popular, widely-beloved duck mouth" (『ツイッターで人気爆発! みんな大好き アヒル口』, translation ours) by duck-mouthed model Matsu-You. And for those who want to know why duck mouth is so attractive, listen to the experts at All About sound off on the look's historical precedents and subliminal biological signals.

While duck mouth and its first-cousin yaeba may be a very Japanese aesthetic, All About tells us, in all seriousness, that ahiru-guchi is surely universally loved, citing the international appeal of Donald Duck and Pringles. That may be true but we have yet to come across websites in other languages that show scores of women with two curved potato chips protruding from the mouth.

W. David Marx was CNNGo's initial Tokyo City Editor. His writing has also appeared in magazines such as GQ, Brutus, Weekly Diamond, and Nylon, as well as his web joural Néojaponisme.

Read more about W. David Marx