One of the most distinguishing features of Japan’s unique culture is its idiosyncratic concept of beauty standards. The external beauty characteristics valued by the Japanese are distinctly different from those prized by the rest of the world. Here are three of the most common Japanese beauty standards and why they are so popular.
The most defining standard of Japanese beauty is pale or white skin. Known as bihaku, this term translates to mean “beautiful white.” Many believe that the emphasis on this trait is linked to the Japanese geisha, a 19th-century female entertainer known for wearing white makeup, flowing kimonos, and bright red lipstick. Throughout Japanese history, darker skin had been a mark of the lower social orders and the working class while pale skin was a sign of nobility and prosperity. In addition to pale skin, the Japanese also highly value a clear complexion.
Another beauty standard that is widespread across the Japanese culture is the double eyelid. Creating a double eyelid crease with eyelid surgery is one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries for Asians, resulting in eyes that appear wider and brighter. Known as blepharoplasty, this procedure is the most sought-after surgical cosmetic procedure in Japan. In addition to this surgical technique, there are various products on the market that are engineered to mimic this popular look without having to go under the knife. Some women choose to use tape or glue to create temporary creases. These products allow women to try the look before deciding to go forward with a permanent surgery.
Japanese women are also known for their petite physique. Although much of the world places a greater value on curvy women, the Japanese culture is all about the thin and diminutive figure. Also related to this beauty standard is the emphasis that is placed on long and lean legs. Flipping through any Japanese magazine makes it clear that the society honors skinny women who have small faces and a pair of long legs. While the people of Japan tend to be thinner overall because of lifestyle and genetic factors, there is a definite celebration of the petite female body.
These three features combine to deliver an overall look that is reminiscent of a baby doll. Because of these intense beauty standards, it is no surprise that most Japanese women continue to look polished and put together at all times.
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