Embodying Japan: Cultures of Sport, Beauty, and Medicine 2017

Japanese Beauty Standards in Music and Fashion

In this path, I explore differing standards of beauty (specifically as they occur in music and fashion) in Japan. In the first section, I consider Korean beauty and its entrance into Japan via the Korean wave, finding that the spread of Korean media in Japan leads to its acceptance while simultaneously producing stereotypical views on Koreans as inherently “more pale” and thereby more beautiful. Next, I discuss idol culture and beauty, particularly as exemplified through the groups AKiss, X-21, and Especia. The first two groups ultimately utilize differing beauty standards to appeal to their fans, while the latter group falls short due to the intervention of their record label. The third section on shoujo or doll-like beauty discusses the ways that the pre and postwar shoujo are prevalent in today’s street fashions, and why this may or may not be problematic. On a related note, the fourth section includes personal experience interviewing Lolitas to argue that Lolita fashion might be best understood as having an insider/outsider approach to its beauty. Finally, section five, also closely related to section four, discusses Gothic beauty in Japan and how the funerary practice of wearing black is altogether different from the way that Gothic symbols are layered in Goth Loli fashion or piercings are added in Snakes and Earrings. All sections use multimedia in varying degrees to convey a very multi-faceted Japanese Beauty Regime. 

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