Are You Considered Beautiful in Japan?

October 22, 2012

in Academic Year 2012-2013, Asia, Japan, Madeline Nesemann

Today’s blog was inspired by the project my two Japanese friends were doing for their English class.  I was helping them with their project by correcting their sentences and making sure their English sounded good, well as good as it can sound in Japan.  Unfortunately, here I have noticed that everyone seems to be able to read English, and for the most part write it, but cannot understand it or speak it.  Anyways, their topic was about a movie they watched in class, which was about beauty standards.  So, my friends decided to compare what’s considered beautiful in different countries all over the world.  From their project I have learned what Japanese, maybe even all Asians, consider to be beautiful.

First, the face.  The face obviously has many important features: lips, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.  For the Japanese, every facial feature has to be small, except the eyes.  They admire eyes that are big, and have what they call “double eyelids”.  “Double eyelids” are eyelids that have the crease.  As you may have noticed, Asians do not have that eyelid crease, and their eyes are very small.  They even have a feature to make the eyes bigger when they take pictures in photo booths (Puriga-プリ画), which is a very popular activity to do with friends.  Also, because my eyes are blue, I’ve noticed they admire eyes that aren’t dark brown.  You may have also noticed that the majority of girls (even guys) are overly petite and skinny.  They admire a small, oval face because it appears more feminine and fragile.

Notice how my eyes (the blond one) are gigantic. They aren’t normally that big, I promise.

Second, hair.  When it comes to body hair, Japanese do not approve.  I believe they are born without much body hair, but nevertheless, they don’t like it, especially on arms.  They do, however, want thick, voluminous head hair.  Of course, I have noticed that they idolized blond hair.  No one here can be born with natural blond hair, if they are 100% Asian.  I have blond hair, so I am stared at quite frequently.  However, I do have a decent amount of arm hair that my Japanese friends have pointed out.

Third, general figure.  As I mentioned earlier, they prefer women to be petite and fragile looking.  Lately, the “foreign” fetish has increased, which means they are starting to prefer more curvaceous women.  That being said, women can’t be too curvaceous, otherwise it’s seen as unattractive.  As for skin, the paler the person, the more beautiful she is.  I’m a very pale person, so my friends have on a few occasions mentioned how much they like my skin.  I have seen my fare share of women walking around with an umbrella while it’s sunny, or wearing gloves basically to their armpits, to prevent any attempt the sun might make to tan their skin.  I have also seen several commercials about lotions that make your skin whiter.

Finally, clothing.  Clothing isn’t a body part, or something you were born with to make you beautiful, but it is definitely factored into Japanese beauty standards.  Women tend to wear pinks, tans, and reds because those are seen as more feminine colors.  They also almost always wear heels, and if one can see their socks, the frilliest socks ever created.  Fashion is extremely important here, and if you don’t dress the part, you won’t be looked at twice.  Clothing is also important for men as well.  Men must always dress nice here and do their hair, or they would look unkempt and unattractive to women.

These are just some of the beauty standards I have noticed so far.  Unfortunately, almost all only pertain to the women’s beauty standard.  There doesn’t seem to be much of a standard for men, other than how they dress and style their hair.  Even as I was correcting my friends’ papers, I noticed they were only comparing the beauty standard for women in every country.  To most people, I suppose when they think beauty, they think women.  Also, though I said beauty standard, that does not mean everyone thinks that way.

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