There is a fascination with foxes (kitsune) and raccoons (tanuki) in Japan. In fact, you probably already knew that if you watch anime or read manga as these animals appear in there often.
The fascination towards these animals even extends to women desiring to have faces resembling foxes (kitsune gao) or raccoons (tanuki gao)! No doubt, these are beautiful animals, but what do the Japanese really mean when they want to have faces like those animals?
Kitsune gao refers to having fox-like facial features such as a narrow face, high cheekbones and slight slant of the eyes which gives a sharp piercing gaze.
The overall look is a delicate, witty and mature beauty with a cold impression. I think that the lead actress of Gokusen (in case you don’t know or don’t remember, it is a similar story to Great Teacher Onizuka, except that the teacher is a woman), Yukie Nakama, also has a fox-like face which is really charming.
In contrast, tanuki gao refers to rounded, soft facial features. For instance, large round eyes and rounded faces with slightly meaty cheeks.
These features give a cute, youthful, friendly and innocent vibe. From my personal observation, I believe Maki Horikita (Densha Otoko, Nobuta wo Produce, Kurosagi) has a raccoon-like face.
By now, you should have an idea of what kitsune gao and tanuki gao is. Which look do you prefer? Have you noticed if anyone around you has a fox-like or raccoon-like face (or even faces resembling other animals)?
During my trip to Japan, I noticed that many Japanese women have fox-like faces!