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. 


2525machaki. “Especia – Umibe no Satie 2016.02.23.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 23 February 2016. Web. 26 April 2017.

Ashikari, Mikiko. "Cultivating Japanese Whiteness: The 'Whitening' Cosmetics Boom and the Japanese Identity." Journal of Material Culture 10.1 (2005): 73-91. Web.

Dee, Caro. "How To Avoid Being An Ita." F Yeah Lolita. Blogspot, 01 Oct. 2010. Web. 26 Apr. 2017 <http://fyeahlolita.blogspot.com/2009/10/how-to-avoid-being-ita.html>.

Dinara Kozhakhmetova. "Soft Power of Korean Popular Culture in Japan: K-Pop Avid Fandom in Tokyo." Thesis. Lund University, 2012. LUP Student Papers. Lund University Libraries, Spring 2012. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. <http://lup.lub.lu.se/luur/download?func=downloadFile&recordOId=3460120&fileOId=3910984>.

Go. Dir. Isao Yukisada. Perf. Yosuke Kubozuka and Ko Shibasaki. Toei Tokyo, 2001. MP4.

Hyuk ヒョク. “Gekitsuu to warai no shitsumon koonaa. [Q&A Jilmunkoneo]” Online video clip. Youtube. Youtube, 22 March 2017. Web. 26 April 2017.

Kanehara, Hitomi. Snakes and Earrings (Hebi ni piasu). Trans. David James Karashima. New York: Plume, 2006. PDF.

Peirson-Smith, Anne. "Do Gothic Lolitas Just Wanna Have Fun? An Examination of the Goth-Loli Style Tribes in Hong Kong and Tokyo." Ed. Eoghain Hamilton. The Gothic - Probing the Boundaries. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary, 2012. 89-96. Critical Issues. Inter-Disciplinary.net, 2012. Web. 25 Mar. 2017.

Takahashi, Mizuki. "Opening the Closed World of Shōjo Manga." Ed. Mark W. MacWilliams. Japanese Visual Culture. New York: M.E. Sharpe, 2008. 114-36. Google Books. Web. 25 Mar. 2017.

List of Images

  1. The Osaka-based idol group Especia prior to their reduction to two members in late 2016. Digital image. JpopAsia. JpopAsia, n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. 
  2. Sugihara watches Sakurai intently during one of their first meetings. Digital image. Jottings On Everything. WordPress.com, 01 June 2013. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.  
  3. Takehisa, Yumeji. Illustration by Takehisa Yumeji showing a doll-like shoujo. Digital image. Pinterest. Pinterest, n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. 
  4. Nakahara, Junichi. Illustration by Junichi Nakahara showing a more lively shoujo, although still with a doll-like motif present. Digital image. Alaisk Murasaki. ALAISKMURASAKI, June 2013. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. 
  5. An example of tights made to look like the legs of a doll (ball-jointed tights). Digital image. F Yeah Lolita. Caro Dee, Oct. 2012. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. 
  6. An example of the circle lenses used in Lolita fashion that make the pupils appear dilated, like those of a doll. Digital image. Uniqso Blog. Blogspot, Aug. 2014. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.
  7. A perfect example of Lolita fashion, with all or most parts of the outfit (coord) visible. Digital image. TokyoFaces.com. Tokyofaces, 27 Nov. 2011. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. 
  8. An example of Gothic Lolita fashion from the popular street fashion blog TokyoFashion.com. Posted Nov. 19, 2016. Digital image. TokyoFashion.com. TokyoFashion.com, 19 Nov. 2016. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. 

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