Japan Word of the Day #93 – Piasu and Iyaringu (Pierce and Earring)

Today’s Words are: Piasu (ピアス) and Iyaringu (イヤリング)

This is something I became aware as I started writing blog posts regarding Japanese fashion items. In Japanese, the word “iyaringu,” derived from English word “earring,” refers to a clip-on type earring, whereas the word “piasu,” derived from English word “pierce,” refers to a regular earring (that requires punching a hole in your ear). Remembering the difference between the two words could save you from making a mistake of buying clip-ons thinking they are regular earrings when shopping on Japanese web stores!


Left: Piasu / Right: Iyaringu

Some facts on use of earrings in Japan.

  • Ear piercing and body piercing for minors (under 18 years old) are not illegal in Japan. However, culturally, it’s still considered inappropriate for minors to have piercing on any parts of the body, and many schools enforce dress code that bans piercing.
  • Piercing is, by law, treated as medical practice in Japan. Only medical practitioners are allowed to penetrate someone’s skin with needles (unless you do it yourself at home or ask your friends. Buying piercing machines for personal use are not illegal). There are “piercing studios” and jewelry shops offering piercing services in Japan, but these shops are technically violating laws. The best place to get piercing in Japan is at dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons, but you should check the reputation of the clinics/hospitals in advance regardless.

Image source: Honobono World

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