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Japan’s Standards for Beauty

Ewa Nowogorski

 

Everyone has something beautiful about them. And everyone has standards for what they think is beautiful. Japan is a culture that idolizes beauty and puts it in high regard. It is important to be beautiful, especially for a woman.

 

In Japan, people put a lot of time and effort into their outward appearance. Even a casual day out with best friends will warrant a full wardrobe of highly fashionable and often expensive clothes. People will spend lots and lots of money on hair styling and coloring. People think being beautiful is so important that they will wear masks to cover up acne breakouts or a makeupless face, because it is simply unacceptable to show a face that is anything other than beautiful.

 

But what exactly are the beauty standards in Japan? An obvious one is size. The thinner you are in Japan, the better. Most men and women desire to be slim and have a nice figure. Large breasts and thin legs are especially desirable traits on a woman, and a thin, tall, defined body on a man is what’s most desirable for them. Clear, pale skin is also very important. Makeup can cover up acne and pores, but a routine that ensures flawless skin is what’s highly prized. People tend to prefer the natural look, and don’t like “thick” makeup.

 

Large, brightly colored eyes with a double eyelid, a tall Western nose, and small pink lips are facial features that women desire to have. Westerners, especially of Russian and European origin, are seen as extremely beautiful, especially people with blonde hair and blue or green eyes, because these are traits unobtainable for Japanese people. In general, pretty women are called “かわいい” or “cute”, and really beautiful women are called “きれい” or pretty. It is a huge compliment to be called either. Women will go to great lengths to try to change their outward appearance so that they look as attractive as possible, and the transformations can sometimes be incredible.

 

I think that some people are not as genetically gifted, but that’s ok. You can generally pull of a beautiful look with enough time put into a neat appearance. A person who dresses well and takes care of their bodies is just as beautiful as a person with a beautiful face.

 

Being beautiful is not just skin deep though. A woman must be well-mannered and kind, or she won’t be seen as beautiful no matter how attractive her looks are. A beautiful man is also kind and gentlemanly, never using crude words or criticizing others. For most Japanese people, nothing is more ugly than a person who talks negatively about other people behind their backs.

 

 

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