The Japanese term sanpaku means “three whites”, generally referred to as “sanpaku eyes”. In which the white parts of the eyes are revealed, either above or below the iris.

The white of Marilyn Monroe’s eyes could be seen on both the sides and the bottom of her face in yin sanpaku.

In addition to her youthful appearance and unique vocal style, Billie Eilish is noted for something else: her piercing stare. Eilish’s yin sanpaku may be seen because she seldom smiles and has a continuously bored expression on her face.

Former US President John F. Kennedy, Princess Diana and Marilyn Monroe all had notable cases of yin sanpaku (a condition in which the whites of the eyes may be seen below the iris). On the other hand, cult leader Charles Manson’s face was covered with white eyeballs.

Japanese sanpaku theories say that this “condition” does not bode well for the individual, which may lead to early death or, in the case of the yang sanpaku demonstrated by Manson, indicate madness.

You Are All Sanpaku” by Japanese writer and alternative medicine practitioner George Ohsawa is one of the best-known works on the subject of sanpaku in Japanese culture. Because of their “unhealthy” Western diets, both physically and spiritually, the Kennedy family was used as an example in the book. As a result of his work advocating for a macrobiotic diet to treat sanpaku, many believe Ohsawa to be the founder of modern macrobiotics.

Sanpaku appears to be a popular topic in other cultures, too. Feng shui consultant Max Liang claims that the principle of face reading has long been contentious. “Some believe it may foretell unpleasant things for the person who possesses it, such as death. We’ve done our homework, and we’ve determined that it’s a function of the person’s mental state. “It’s not the best pair of eyes, but it’s not bad enough to be lethal,” declares Liang.

Sanpaku may be divided into two categories: yin and yang. Liang believes that the former is a sort of ambition. What we can conclude from someone’s eyes like this is that they’re focused on a specific objective or outcome, and they’re striving for it forcefully.” According to him, even those without the so-called “sanpaku eyes” might display this attribute when focused on reaching a specific goal or purpose.

However, Liang argues that a person’s yang sanpaku, which might make them appear a little crazy, could suggest that they are physically looking down on their surroundings. According to face reading, a superiority complex and a strong feeling of pride are revealed, as well as a dislike for someone, a circumstance or a place. As he says, “basically it implies that they have a strong inclination to look down on people, circumstances or even countries.” According to Liang, those who have yin sanpaku are still trying, whereas those with yang sanpaku are frequently rich people who have a pessimistic attitude on life.

Even though face reading is not a science, some scientific evidence suggests that sanpaku might mean underlying health problems. As an ophthalmologist and eye surgeon, Dr Natasha Lim explains that while some people are born with sanpaku, it is not genetic in most normal eyes. She is the medical director of the Dr Natasha Lim Eye Centre. In this case, it’s not natural to have much white at the bottom or the top of the face. Thyroid illness is the most common cause of this type of discomfort, according to Dr Lim. It is also her opinion that excessive eye whites might be an indication of stress. As far as anxiety or sadness is concerned, “it may occur with significant worry, but not depression.” Sanpaku patients are frequently tested to see whether they are suffering from any medical conditions. A thyroid function test is done immediately if a patient has many whites in their eyes, as this indicates a tumor may be forcing the lookout from the back.

Is Sanpaku pseudoscience or not? The eyes, it appears, have their own story to tell, regardless of whether or not the notion is true. According to Dr Lim, the color of the iris can be affected by disorders such as chronic inflammation. Ohsawa’s contention in his book that Kennedy’s sanpaku was not always there, but that as he became older and entangled in the strains of public and political life, this condition became increasingly visible.

When it comes to Sanpaku, whether medical, genetic, or spiritual, there is no shortage of interest among those who have taken the time to observe.