What Are Sanpaku Eyes? How To Tell If You Have Them — And Can They Predict Your Future?


They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul. But what if different parts of the eye were windows to a person’s fate? That’s what some people who follow Asian face reading tradition say sanpaku eyes are.

Sanpaku, which means roughly “three whites,” refers to when you can see the white part of the eye either above or below the colored portion of the eye. Usually, you can only see the whites of someone’s eyes — also knowns as the sclera — on either side of the colored iris. However, some people have white visible above or below as well. 


According to Asian face reading traditions, sanpaku eyes give a hint into the fate of the person in question. But the different eye shapes can mean different things.

What are sanpaku eyes and what does it mean if you have them? Keep reading to learn all about this fascinating face science. 

1. What are sanpaku eyes to begin with?

Basically, sanpaku means there is more white showing around the iris of the eye than is typical. In most people, the colored portion of the eye is balanced in the middle with little to no white showing above or below it. All the white is visible on either side. In some people, however, the iris sits a bit higher or a bit lower and makes the white, or sclera, visible on the top or bottom of the eye.

Macrobiotic theorist George Ohsawa wrote a book called You Are All Sanpuka in which he described the condition.

“For thousands of years, people of the Far East have been looking into each other’s eyes for signs of this dreaded condition. Any sign of sanpaku meant that a man’s entire system — physical, physiological and spiritual — was out of balance,” he wrote. “He had committed sins against the order of the universe and he was therefore sick, unhappy, insane, what the West has come to call ‘accident prone’. The condition of sanpaku is a warning, a sign from nature, that one’s life is threatened by an early and tragic end.”

Ohsawa also wrote that sanpaku conditions could be solved by adhering to the macrobiotic diet he promoted. 

2. What does it mean to have sanpaku eyes with sclera visible below the iris?

According to Ohsawa, sclera visible below the eye is a sign of imbalance in the body. The condition is called “yin sanpaku” and is allegedly common in alcoholics and drug addicts.

People with yin sanpaku will place themselves in dangerous situations but may not survive the danger. 

3. What about sanpaku with sclera showing above the iris?

When the white of the eye shows above the iris, it’s “yang sanpaku” and the danger to the person comes from within. People with eyes like this are said to be violent and filled with rage. 

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