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PAS #3

February 27, 2013 by Taylor Kantner   


I started off my passion blog last week with talking about beauty ideals in America. This week I’m going to continue talking about beauty ideals, but focus on what Japanese women consider beauty to be. Obviously, the Japanese see beauty in a much different way than we do here in the US. There are many places around the world that don’t share the same beauty ideals with America.

For one, Japanese women don’t find “curves” to be necessarily attractive, rather they are thinner and don’t have very prominent hips. They also pride themselves in being pale and achieve this by using beauty products to make their faces that white powdery color. Some women actually get facials done using Uguisu, which is made up of bird droppings, but is said to clean up skin and make it smoother. I read a blog about a woman that describes her experience when she traveled to Japan and witnessed these beauty treatments first hand. She talks about all of the products they sell in the drugstores that we don’t have, such as different creams, lotions and toners that are all for different uses and have to be used in order. Smooth, taken care of skin is obviously an important beauty ideal in Japan. An interesting fact that she mentioned in her blog was how when she went to the beach what she observed was people covered up in clothes from head to toe along with umbrellas trying to keep the sun away from their skin. Very opposite from how we live here where tanning is a big reason why a lot of people go to the beach; we even have tanning salons where people can artificially tan without having to physically go to the beach. Another way Japanese keep their skin so smooth and white longer is their intake of vitamin C. Part of their daily diet is made up of oranges, which “deoxidize and break up melanin”, thus whiter skin results. Some other Japanese beauty secrets include, drinking tea every day, eating fish (Omega 3), and by using seaweed to cleanse the face.

Although pale white skin is the beauty norm in Japanese culture, there are also several subcultures that challenge these ideals. For example one subculture is called Gyaru, which includes many subcultures under itself as well. This subculture is seen as a sort of “rebellion against Japanese society.”A main difference with this subculture is that people do tan and, therefore, don’t follow the pale white skin norm. Another difference is people will dye their hair in this culture, blond is a popular color, but other colors are possible, too.

Japan has a bunch of hidden beauty secrets that keep their skin beautifully pale, white, and blemish-free. Just as long hair, a thin body and good teeth are considered to be beautiful here it is always fascinating to see how other countries around the world differ in their perceptions of beauty.



  1. rum181 says:

    I think it is so interesting to compare our beauty ideals to another culture’s. One of my good friends is half Korean and he’s said before that his grandma does the same thing in terms of covering up from head to toe whenever she goes out in the sun so I thought that that was an interesting connection that it’s that way in Japan too.

  2. Jessica says:

    Wow, it really is an eye opener to see how other cultures view beauty! In some ways I can see the similarities between the American and Japanese cultures as they partain to beuty, what with buying so many products to keep beautiful and all. This is so interesting!

  3. Ngoc-Tram Bui says:

    Being Asian, I can definitely attest that these statements are true! Having a Vietnamese background, it’s fairly common for darker skin to be passed on, or at least having the trait to tan easily passed on. As a kid, and still even now, my female relatives often dotes on my paler skin tone which is strange because here we kind of prefer a healthy tan. The preference actually traces back to history; pale skin signified higher class as you weren’t working in the fields. It’s definitely neat to learn about different cultural views.

  4. lih5143 says:

    That is certainly very interesting to see how Japanese woman view their beauty compared to us here in America. I really did not know they put much emphasis in having pale clear skin which seems opposite to us over here. It is also cool to see that they care as much about their beauty like we care about ours here. I did not know they go through the process of buying all those creams and lotions to stay beautiful. Its nice to see and hear about the perceptions of beauty in other cultures.

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