Before going any further, take note: sanpaku eyes are not meant to be any deeply-held Japanese belief. They’re also not anything minutely close to a scientifically testable and reliable method of understanding another person — or anything at all, really, except a cute diversion akin to a Sunday horoscope for the bored. If you think differently, feel free to try and resurrect phrenology, the once-actual “science” that claimed to read a person’s “conjugality,” “combativeness”, “amativeness,” and “secretiveness,” amongst other things, by measuring someone’s skull and its bumps, as Smithsonian Magazine explains. Not a good plan.
That being said, Vision Center has a breakdown of different arrangements of sanpaku eyes, which by all accounts was popularized in 1963 by George Ohsawa, a macrobiotic dietician, in his book “You Are All Sanpaku.” In general, Ohsawa said that the presence of sanpaku eyes meant that a person’s “entire system — physical, physiological and spiritual — was out of balance,” and the person was bound to come to an “early and tragic end.” He separated scleral show — the prominence of the white sclera — into two groups: yin (white below the eyes) and yang (white above the eyes). He associated yin sanpaku eyes with substance abuse issues and self-destructive behaviors, and yang sanpaku eyes with anger, rage, and psychopathy. For the former we can take Princess Diana, Marylin Monroe, JFK, Elvis, and others as an example. For the latter we can take, well … Charles Manson.