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Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Monday, January 29, 2007


Thick Soled Shoe

Thick Soled Shoes
Originally uploaded by timtak.
Like a lot of women's fashion all over the world, from Kimono to coursets and at the extreem lilly feet, thick soled shoes are designed to show off and incapacitate the wearer to give her that gentile air of a valued product rather than a person. While not as painful as lilly feet, tendency to crush the feet of women in China in the past, I believe that there has been at least one fatality due to a fall from a pair of thick soled shoes.

As Suviko points out both these boots and the "ganguro" (sun tanned face to the point of being "black") style of some young girls over the past decade is going out of style. Why is this?

Perhaps it is an example of a reverse hemline rule. The hemline rule in economic theory states that the hemlines of women's skirts move up and down as the state of the economy moves from boom (hemlines up) to depression (hemlines down). This is perhaps because when the economy is good, women can afford to give away their booty, or at least a glipse of it for free, but when times are hard they must demand more dedication, more platonism, more love before they even show their knees.

The ganguro fashion was populare during the long period of depression in Japan from the late nineties to the early two thousands. On the face of it (no pun intended) having a heavily tanned, almost black face, made the fashion victims less attractive in a country that has valued the whiteness of women's skin (partly because white means that one does not have to work in the fields, partly because of a Western influence, as argued in a previous post). Thus Ganguro would seem to be making themselves *overtly* unattractive. The ganguro style was thus a very flamboyant defiance of norms of beauty, and may have been a demand for men who (as with a long hemline) are more dedicated, more loving. Perhaps also the platform shoe was an attempt to put the female form on a pedastle without excentuating sexuality that again demanded care and attention paid to the wearer.

This theory is unlikely to be popular since the long hemline is associated with a lady like purity whereas ganguro is associated with a radical lack of purity, but...this is Japan.

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This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.