Would You Get Plastic Surgery To Improve Your Fate? In Japan, You Might
If you’re unhappy with your palm reading, there’s a medical procedure that’ll take care of that.
We humans are by nature desirous—desirous enough that we often put our faith in the strange and illogical in order to assure ourselves, even if it’s just by placebo effect, that we’ll get what we want. Sports fans, you know not to change your socks when your favorite team is on a hot streak, and you’ll NEVER hear the drama geeks among us say “Macbeth” in a theatre.
Look at almost any culture and you’ll start to see the curious practices people keep up for the sake of luck, fate or just out of wacko superstition. Recently, a new medical procedure has gained popularity in the Land of the Rising Sun, where the mystical practice of palm reading has begun colliding with the very real practice of plastic surgery. Welcome to the weird world of palmistry surgery.
Palmistry is the supernatural art of divining someone’s future from the hundreds of lines (or palmar flexion creases, if you want to get real science-y) that criss-cross our hands. Supposedly, the positions and lengths of certain lines dictate everything from when you should get married, to how well you handle money, to your chances of achieving future fame and fortune.
The practice, used by mediums and psychics around the world, is immensely popular in Japan. So much so, in fact, that a growing number of Japanese 30-somethings are coughing up big yen in exchange for having their palms (and hopefully, their fortunes) permanently altered.
The purely elective procedure costs around ¥100,000 ($1,000). Popular surgeries include one that strengthens the patient’s fate line, which determines one’s ability to earn and manage money. There’s also a procedure to adjust the position of the wedding line, which indicates the ideal stage at which a person should marry. Many men come in looking to add an emperor’s line, which occurs when the also sought-after fate, money luck and financial lines intersect in just the right spot.
Docs achieve a convincing-looking palm line using an electric scalpel that simultaneously cuts and burns the skin to leave a semi-permanent and natural-looking scar, and the whole process only takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t that like, cheating fate?” Takaaki Matsuoka is a plastic surgeon at a branch of the Shonan Beauty Clinic, where upwards of 30 of these surgeries were performed between 2011 and 2013, 20 of them by Matsuoka himself. When asked by The Daily Beast if he thought the surgeries actually worked, he attributed success to a change in mindset:
“If people think they’ll be lucky, sometimes they become lucky. And it’s not like the palm lines are really written in stone — they’re basically wrinkles. They do change with time. Even the way you use your hands can change the lines. Some palmisters will even suggest that their clients draw the lines on their hands to change their luck. And this was before palm plastic surgery existed. However, anecdotally I’ve had some success.”
One female patient who had her early wedding line adjusted called to tell him she got married shortly after the surgery, and another won the lottery following the operation. Says Matsuoka, “Maybe changing your palm won’t change your fate, but if you have that much determination to try to change it — and are willing to endure a little pain for that chance — maybe you can change your life.”
So, if you’re feeling like you could use a little luck, or your fate might require some alterations, you can try the old standbys: Toss a coin into a fountain, or wish on a shooting star. OR you can drop some cash on improving your palmistry lines. Who knows? It just might work.