Sanpaku Eyes: meaning, how to tell if you have them, superstition and photos

Sanpaku Eyes: meaning, how to tell if you have them, superstition and photos

Human beings are a superstitious lot. Despite the advancements in science, technology and medicine, some cultures still rely on ancient methods to predict the unknown. Palm reading, for instance, is one method of fortune-telling. But in the Chinese/Japanese culture, another technique stands out. It is the Sanpaku eyes, and its concept is as controversial as it gets.

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Sanpaku Eyes
A popular Japanese comic book. Photo: @damiendaystar
Source: Instagram

George Ohsawa is widely regarded as having popularized the concept of Sanpaku in Western culture. His argument, however, differs from that of traditional face reading in that he claimed this facial feature had more negative connotations.

What are Sanpaku eyes?

It is an eye condition where the white part of the eye is visible above or below the iris. This white part above or below the eye is known as the sclera. According to Chinese/Japanese superstition, people with these eyes are considered unfortunate.

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Sanpaku is a Japanese word that means "three whites," referring to how an eye can be divided into four segments. The segments are made up of whites, which take up three of the four parts.

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When a person has the whites of their eyes visible above or below their iris, they are considered Sanpaku. On a normal eye, you can only see the whites on either side of the iris (colourful region).

Sanpaku eyes meaning

It is a Chinese/Japanese superstition that predicts one's fate based on the shape of one's eyes. According to this Asian face reading tradition, this facial feature may reveal the person's fate in question. The presence of white above or below the iris indicates different things.

What do Sanpaku eyes indicate?

According to this superstition, having these eyes means ill-fated or destined for misfortune.

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How to tell if you have Sanpaku eyes

You can check your eyes in the mirror or find a picture to see if they have any of these characteristics.

Yang Sanpaku eyes

Sanpaku Eyes
American criminal Charles Manson, the man who murdered Sharon Tate, at California Medical Facility, Vacaville, Solano County, California, US, August 1980. Photo: Albert Foster
Source: Getty Images

These eyes are distinguished by the presence of white above the iris. According to superstition, people with such traits may face danger from within. In addition, people with these eyes are thought to be enraged, angry, or even psychopaths.

Charles Manson was among serial killers with Sanpaku eyes. The late murderous cult leader had wild eyes, and the whites could be seen above his irises.

Yin Sanpaku eyes

Sanpaku Eyes
An art illustration. Photo: @jordanalice
Source: Instagram

A person with the white showing beneath the iris is considered to have the Yin variation. This trait is said to be shared in alcoholics and drug addicts. Some believe that people with this trait are more likely to put themselves in dangerous situations and not survive.

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Sanpaku eyes vs normal

Having these eyes is considered normal unless when caused by certain medical conditions. Therefore, the only way to distinguish between Sanpaku eyes and normal ones is through appearance.

Which celebrities have Sanpaku eyes?

Sanpaku Eyes
Princess Diana and pop musician Billie Eilish. Photo: Tim Graham, Frederic J. Brown (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Celebrities with Sanpaku eyes include Princess Diana and Billie Eilish. Princess Diana, in particular, was photographed frequently with the whites of her eyes visible. Other famous people with Spanku eyes include:

  • Paul McCartney
  • Morgan Freeman
  • John F. Kennedy
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Benjamin Franklina
  • Robert Pattinson

Sanpaku eyes became popular in the Western world after George Ohsawa wrote about them. However, his interpretation differs from the original Japanese superstition. As a result, some people are suspicious of those who have these eyes, but it all comes down to belief.

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