This is not a real trend. Japanese people aren't actually wearing bean beards for fashion. Shame, because this is wonderful.
In Japanese, there are red beans called "azuki" (アズキ) that are eaten in sweets or for special occasions. That's why artist Takao Sakai, who's known for his playful food-themed art, calls the project "Azurer." His website reads:
Azurer, which began in Japan and spread worldwide, is a cutting-edge fashion style which consists of wearing a beard made out of azuki beans. Currently, there are 1,720,000 azurers in Japan, and the numbers internationally are growing as well.
Of course, this isn't a cutting-edge fashion, but a photo project that is Sakai's way of commenting on the trends that come and go as well as how the foreign media often gets Japanese fads wrong.
Some of the bean beards have what look like colorful candies in them. They're not meant to be eaten. You are supposed to wear them like the fake beards that they are!
"If some media outside of Japan would mistakenly think that this is really fashion and would report it as news, then I would have succeeded," Sakai once told PingMag.
Sakai also says these beards give him a new way to look at Japan. "When Japanese look at my works, they immediately recognise them as adzuki beans used in sweets," he said. "However, people from outside tend to feel them to be enigmatic and gross. I actually like that kind of misunderstanding." With bean beards, Sakai can give a traditional food a new, ironic twist.
According to Spoon & Tamago, Sakai is bringing his bean beards to New York City early next month for the New City Art Fair.
To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.
Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.