Nail art is pretty big in Japan. For a lot of women (and some men?), getting their nails not just colored, but decorated with gems, 3D flowers and mini-paintings is a monthly routine and fashion must. Usually it’s fairly subtle, but some nail art aficionados think bigger and bolder is better, no matter how hard it makes typing a mail or wiping your bum.

Here’s a fairly typical nail art design in Japan. The colors are simple but varied, there are some gems for accents, and some nice paint work as well. It’s stylish and more eye-catching than a one-tone polish job, but it’s not going to put your eye out either.


Then you have designs like this.


Often part of the uber-cute Shibuya gal fashions, these nails are long, long, long and festooned with popular children’s characters, flowers and other girly tidbits.

▼Cake, anyone?


Pop culture themed nails are also big among all ages.

▼Totoro, looking cute


▼Edward Scissorhands, looking… pointy


Gudetama, also looking surprisingly pointy


Speaking of eggs, another major category of nail art is food-themed.



This level of nail art already takes a high level of skill and several hours to complete, but there is a level even beyond that. It goes so far beyond fashion and the bounds of convenience that you might label it a kind of performance art.

▼Sea coral nails, perhaps in response to recent tensions between Japan and China over coral poaching?


▼Pirate nails, perhaps a call to arms against the scourge of modern piracy?


▼Some pretty ladies, perhaps for women’s rights?


▼These things. Just because they are purdy.




Personally, I am way too lazy and impatient to bother wearing such fancy nail art myself (Really, how do they wipe their bums?), but you’ve got to respect the skill and artistry that goes into it.

Any nail art fans out there? Show us the design you are sporting in the comments section.

H/T Naver Matome
Images: @cute_mote_nail, Fast Nail, @galnailxo, @_SHIKOMARU, @nail_art_trend, @itanailbot, , @mayfly_days, @3ru9su3ma_s2, @self_mote_nail, Never Too Much Glitter, Sephora, ECC Artist Senmongako