Nowadays, people’s fashion and hairstyle has changed, compare to that of in 100 years ago. It is notable especially for Japanese people. For instance, many Japanese men have long hair and clothes are sometimes even similar to what women usually wear. One of my friends in America told me that they are so weird. He seemed to not be able to understand why many Japanese men do not look like “men.” He also said that they are so gay. Well, I do not think so, because I am Japanese and live in Japan for 18 years. I would like to think about the difference of values of fashion between American men and Japanese men.
First, let’s think about the American style. What image do you have on American men’s fashion? For me, their fashion is very simple in good way. For their casual style, they wear relaxed jeans, T-shirts, and sneakers. Their hair style is much shorter than Japanese men’s. It is about the value so I do not think there are not specific answers. I think they do not mean they are not interested in fashion, but that simple style is comfortable for American men. Of course some men enjoy their fashion, wearing pierces, necklace, or dying their hair. However, I feel American men focus on what they want to wear rather than how they want to be seen by surroundings.
On the other hand, Japanese men’s styles are completely opposite. We rather care how we are seen by surroundings. If we think our legs are so short, we wear boots, though I heard some American think this is so gay. Japanese men wear tight shirts, pants, and jackets, which look like women. Even some men do make-up on their face so that they create strong impressions. Think about the past, in 100 years ago in Japan men had no time to enjoy their fashion because social rule was very strict. They were not even allowed to have long, dyed hair. However, the time has changed and it is now less strict to express their favorite styles.
As you read, there is a big difference of values between American and Japan. I noticed that this topic is deeply related to the social norms. If the society allows men to enjoy less strict fashion, they can do so. Even one of my friends wants to be a girl so he wears clothes like a girl. Perhaps the time will come that big strong American men start to wear girl’s costumes in few decades later.
by Takeshi Sakagami
The clothing style of Japanese men is definitely interesting and different to me. However, I do appreciate that many of them care enough to spend time and money on fixing their hair and buying expensive clothes. The hair is especially intriguing to me. In Sweden and in most Western countries, I would say, guys do not do that much to their hair, but here, it seems to be the most important aspect of one’s appearance. Guys spend time and money on hair cuts, straighteners, perms, gels, hair sprays, etc.
However, I absolutely get the feeling that Japanese guys and Japanese people in general care way too much about how they are perceived by their peers. I have noticed that even students are trying to look as close to perfect as possible, and as a busy student myself, I often wonder how they find the time in the morning to do all that. And the money. Nevertheless, I do find it refreshing that Japanese men enjoy experimenting with fashion and have the possibility to do so without being judged, but I must admit that I would be a little freaked out if my boyfriend spent more time in front of the mirror than me. But maybe that is just the Swede in me.
Thank you for using my article as a reference. I think it would be funny if American males change the way they dress as Japanese males. I often feel that American people strongly expect men being masculine both physically and mentally; on the contrary, Japanese people do not. Many Japanese women like skinny men with face like women. I don’t think it actually happens in the U.S., but like I wrote, it is extremely interesting to see American males dressing feminine, and nobody denies the way they dress by saying “it’s so gay.”
Before come to Japan, I looked through some websites that shows pictures that took on Japan’s street with Japanese wear strange clothes. Well, of course the first look is really strange, but there are some cool stuffs and some kind of style that have not been accepted or accustomed by us.
Also in China, the sweater and bags which are defined as out of style can be seen during the famous fashion week’s runway.There are a lot of “used deviance” are now accepted by us. We are now living in a society which need something new to inspire and improve us. Who knows in 50 years, what will be normal, what will be fashion.
I personally do not think that the one and only reason that men dress “feminine” compared to the west lies whether “the society allows men to enjoy less strict fashion”.
I think there may be a historical and cultural reasoning. Japan, traditionally, is accepting of men embracing femininity. Take Kabuki, for example. Men play female roles, and people praise how “beautiful” they are. Even though there were men playing female roles in Western performances (for example, all-male productions of Shakespeare plays), the men were not perceived as “beautiful” nor were expected to have a feminine attractiveness.
And so, maybe historically in Japanese culture, men are expected to pursue feminine traits as a way to come across as attractive – just as men in the West pursue to gain masculine traits and try their best not to come across as “gay”.