Dark and light skin as fashion

by Emina Miki

From this week’s presentation, I realized interesting similar situation between South Africa and Japan. In South Africa, they tried to have lighter skin by using skin lightener, in contrast, in the past in Japan a lot of young girls tried to have darker skin by using cosmetics. Their ideal skin colors are different from each other, but it is same that they try to be different skin color from their natural skin color.

In about 2000, there were a lot of young people especially girls with darkened skin and white lips in Shibuya, Tokyo. They changed their hair to gold, burned dark their skin again and again at the tanning salon and put on almost same figures because that style was the vogue at that time. Japanese young women would think darker skin is more beautiful as same as that South Americans have thought lighter skin is beautiful. Moreover, Japanese women painted their eyes using pens. In general, young Japanese girls with dark skin have been called “yamanba” ironically. “Yamanba” means the ugly old woman who lives in the heart of a mountain. However, they didn’t change their figures. On the contrary, they made a community and one culture at that time. The center of the trend was absolutely people with dark skin. So this age ended cause of the current of the time, but in South Africa they banned to use skin lighter because that was bad for face and they might lose pride in being black. I think this is a big difference between them. In Japan, though there were some people who don’t like their looks and their looks caused a lot of fuss, it wasn’t punished. Actually I thought they lost their natural identity because the face after making up and tanning was too different from the face without makeup. Also they didn’t want to make appearance in natural face, but people with dark skin were some of Japanese, so it might not ban their behavior.

In conclusion, I think the use of skin lighter in South Africa was considered as bad thing to face and the product which was promoted of hating the color of their skin, so many opposition movements occurred there. In contrast, young women’s behavior such as tanning their skin and painted their face by pens was considered as just the vogue. So I thought many people have thought that it would end in the near future though their behavior affected their healthy bodies.

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