I can not be sure how far it has spread. Whether it originated in Japan or is truly something that has happened in Korea alone. I noticed that generally if women paint their toenails, Korea women never paint all the nails - only the big toenail. Having done more than 2000 hours worth of people watching on the Seoul subway system it seems to be a national aesthetic. But to my Western preconceptions it just looks stupid.
Unfinished somehow, the way a half-assed shaving job looks when its done with the mirror steamed up, or a random hack job, eyes half closed, in the shower.
Unable to keep silent, I asked a Korean female friend, what drives Korean agashes to such depraved acts of self mutilation. In reply I received yet another occidental perception overhaul.
"All toes are cute, except the big toe. See? This toe is big and ugly, with color it becomes beautiful again."
Perhaps she is right, but I still feel even if they were exceptionally ugly, drawing attention to them with hot pink nail polish, isn't going to help.