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What is Korea vs Japan beauty standard?


The concept of beauty standards is not new, and it exists in almost every culture worldwide. Beauty standards usually reflect the cultural values and beliefs of a society. In this article, we will explore the beauty standards of two Asian countries, Korea and Japan. Despite being geographically close and sharing some similarities in culture, these two countries have distinct beauty standards.

Historical background of Korea and Japan’s beauty standards

Korea and Japan have had a complex history that has influenced their cultures, including beauty standards. Historically, Korean beauty standards were heavily influenced by Confucianism, which emphasized discipline, modesty, and natural beauty. In contrast, Japan’s beauty standards were influenced by the Geisha culture, which placed an emphasis on makeup, hairstyles, and elaborate kimonos.

Japanese Snack Box

Korean Beauty Standards

In Korea, the ideal beauty standard is called “Ulzzang,” which means “best face.” The Ulzzang look emphasizes a youthful appearance with clear and bright skin, big eyes with double eyelids, a small nose, and a V-shaped face with a pointed chin. Korean women also prefer wearing minimal makeup to enhance their natural features.

Japanese Beauty Standards

In Japan, the traditional beauty standard is called “Bijin,” which means “beautiful person.” The Bijin look emphasizes pale skin, big eyes with double eyelids or mono lids, small lips, and a heart-shaped face with a small nose. Japanese women also prefer to wear natural-looking makeup that enhances their features.

Body Image Standards in Korea vs. Japan

In Korea and Japan, body image standards differ. Korean women tend to favor a slim yet curvy figure with a defined waistline. In contrast, Japanese women prefer a slender figure with less emphasis on curves.

Hair and Fashion Trends

Both Korea and Japan have unique fashion trends and hairstyles that reflect their respective beauty standards. Korean women often opt for a more playful look with pastel-colored hair and cute hairstyles that emphasize their youthful appearance. Japanese women tend to gravitate towards more elegant styles such as sleek bobs or updos.

The Influence of K-Pop on Korean Beauty Standards

K-Pop has become a global phenomenon in recent years, and it has had a significant impact on Korean beauty standards. Many K-Pop idols embody the Ulzzang look and have popularized it worldwide. This has led to an increase in demand for cosmetic procedures such as double eyelid surgery to achieve the Ulzzang look.

The Role of Technology in Beauty Standards

Technology has played a significant role in shaping beauty standards in Korea and Japan. Social media platforms like Instagram have given rise to influencers who showcase their unique beauty looks to millions of followers. Additionally, there has been an increase in the use of skincare technology such as LED light therapy masks and at-home facial devices.

Cultural Significance of Beauty Standards

Beauty standards can be seen as a reflection of the values held by society. For example, Korean culture places an emphasis on maintaining harmony within relationships (including romantic ones), which may explain why the Ulzzang look emphasizes modesty and natural beauty as opposed to bold makeup looks. In contrast, Japan’s traditional Bijin look may reflect their culture’s emphasis on elegance and subtlety.

The Impact of Western Beauty Standards

Western beauty standards have had a significant impact on Korean and Japanese beauty trends. For example, tanned skin was once considered unattractive in both countries until Western tanning trends became popularized. Additionally, fuller eyebrows have become increasingly popular in Asia due to Western models such as Cara Delevingne.

The Importance of Self-Care

Self-care plays an essential role in both Korean and Japanese cultures. Skincare routines are seen as essential for maintaining healthy skin and achieving the desired beauty standard. In addition to skincare routines, Korean women often practice meditation or take part in yoga classes to promote overall wellness.

The Future of Beauty Standards in Korea vs. Japan

As societies continue to evolve, so too will their beauty standards. It remains to be seen how new trends such as gender-neutral makeup or body positivity movements will impact Korean and Japanese beauty standards. However, it is likely that both cultures will continue to prioritize natural-looking makeup looks that emphasize youthfulness and elegance.


In conclusion, despite being geographically close and sharing some similarities in culture, Korea and Japan have distinct beauty standards that reflect their unique histories and values. Beauty standards are constantly evolving along with society’s changing attitudes towards beauty ideals. Understanding these cultural differences can help us appreciate the diversity present within our world’s various beauty standards.

Are Japanese and Korean beauty standards the same?

Although Japan and Korea share some cultural similarities due to their intertwined histories, there are significant differences between the beauty standards of the two countries.

What is the Japanese beauty standard?

Japanese standards of beauty prioritize having clear and fair skin, as well as large eyes with a double eyelid. While some individuals are born with this feature, many others put in significant effort to obtain it.

What is the difference between K Beauty and J beauty?

J-Beauty and K-Beauty have distinct underlying principles and beliefs. Japanese beauty promotes simplicity and practicality, while Korean beauty prioritizes the skin’s nourishment through a complex and balanced multi-step regimen.

Is Japanese skin care better than Korean skincare?

While both Japanese lotions and essences may have similar functions, such as controlling sebum secretion, they are generally gentler and more moisturizing for the skin, and also have lower acidity. Using a sheet mask is also an option for this step, but it is not necessary to use it every time, just one or two times a week.

Who has the highest Korean beauty standard?

Some of the most popular South Korean celebrities, including Kim Ji-soo, Irene, Jin, Kim Tae-hee, Shin Min-ah, and Jun Ji-Hyun, are admired mainly for their appearance, as they all conform to the standards of Korean beauty.

What is considered thin in Japan?

Based on Body Mass Index (BMI), a measure of body fat, a significant number of Japanese women in their 20s are considered underweight (having a BMI below 18.5) compared to those who are considered overweight (having a BMI over 25). This was reported on March 16, 2017.

In recent years, there has been a growing movement towards embracing diversity and inclusivity in the beauty industry. This movement has challenged traditional beauty standards and encouraged people to celebrate their unique features rather than conforming to societal expectations. Korea and Japan have also seen a shift towards more inclusive beauty standards, with brands featuring models of different sizes, skin tones, and ages in their advertisements.

Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the beauty industry in both countries. With social distancing measures in place, many people have turned to at-home beauty treatments and natural-looking makeup looks. This shift towards minimalism and self-care has led to an increased demand for skincare products that promote healthy and glowing skin.

It is also worth noting that while beauty standards exist in every culture, they are not universal. What is considered beautiful in one culture may not be the same in another. It is important to recognize and respect these differences, rather than imposing our own beauty standards onto others.

In conclusion, as beauty standards continue to evolve, it is essential to approach them with an open mind and a willingness to learn about different cultures’ values and beliefs. By doing so, we can celebrate diversity and promote inclusivity within the beauty industry and beyond.

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