Japanese Men Are More Fashionable Than Ever, Says Survey

Some men's fashion magazines from Japan.

Although Japanese women’s appearance and fashion is often commented on, particularly online, this article from J-Cast.com highlights the rise of men’s fashion magazines, and the appearance of a new type of fashionable Japanese man. This ‘new man’, is in his 30s or 40s, and regularly buys fashion magazines to help him take care of his all-important appearance. This has also had an effect on retail strategies for major Japanese stores, many of whom are now opening stores dedicated solely to men’s fashion, as well as prompting questions about the importance of a man’s appearance.

From J-Cast.com:

Unprecedented rise in sales of men’s fashion magazines; ‘criticism from women’ said to be reason

While the publishing world continues to suffer from the recession, one particular sector, has been thriving for the past few years: fashion magazines marketed towards middle aged men. Apparently, there is a reason for this…Not quite to the extent of the ‘choiwaru oyaji’ [a fashionable older man, with an air of delinquency about him], but still having an interest in fashion – it appears that recent years have given rise to this type of middle aged man.

■ Urged to become a ‘cool husband’
According to the Research Institute for Publications, part of The All-Japan Magazine and Book Publisher’s and Editor’s Association, sales of fashion magazines targeted at men in their 30s and 40s have risen dramatically since 2010. Between January and November of 2012, sales rose 38.3% from 2,660,000 copies to 3,680,000 copies. Even the researchers who carried out the survey were surprised, quote as saying, ‘it’s unusual that one genre has grown this much even though all other magazine sales are declining.’

Altogether, there are 5 magazines which fit into this category. Amongst them, LEON (also known as ‘Choiwaru Oyaji’, published by SHUFU TO SEIKATSUSHA) had the largest share of the sales, coming in at just under 30%. The others were OCEANS (International Luxury Media Co.), UOMO (Shueisha Inc.), MEN’S EX (SEKAI BUNKA PUBLISHING INC.) and 2nd (EI Publishing Co.).According to the researchers’ analysis, the reasons behind the huge growth in sales are thought to be related to the large numbers of middle aged men looking for partners and dating, and the recent trend of ‘machi-kon’ [a type of group dating practice aimed at helping local businesses by setting up group dates at various restaurants in the town.] The time when it used to be said that ‘men win or lose depending on their personality, not their appearance’ has now long since passed. It seems that women these days are much more critical of men’s fashion choices.

■ However, it is not just single men who are feeling the pressure from women.
‘When I asked a female editor at another magazine about it, she said there are wives who say “I buy magazines for my husband.” For example, the women’s fashion magazine VERY (Kobunsha Co.) has special articles for men to read. These types of magazine are promoting the “cool husband” image, which they call “ikedan” [from “iketeiru”, meaning “cool”, and “danna”, meaning “husband”.]‘

Sales of men’s fashion growing
According to researchers at the Research Institute for Publications, men in their 30s and 40s have generally been buying magazines since they were young as a method of getting information, and as they have become more aware of fashion, they have started to buy fashion magazines as well.

So, will this lead to a rise in sales for men’s fashion as well?
According to Yano Research, the domestic market for men’s apparel rose by 2% in 2011 compared to the previous year. Similarly, research by the Japan Department Stores Association shows that for men’s clothing sold in department stores, there was a small increase of 1.7% for sales in 2011 compared to the previous year. In October of 2011, the Hankyu department store chain changed their Yurakucho Hankyu store, which was primarily selling women’s clothes, into Hankyu Men’s Tokyo. ‘The Hankyu Men’s Osaka store, which we opened three years before, was doing really well so we decided to use our new found knowledge and open a store in Ginza, where there aren’t that many men’s fashion stores.’ (Statement from the company’s press office.) Furthermore, they added that one year after opening, the yearly sales target was met and that the outlook continued to be favourable.

The department store Isetan, which already has a male-orientated version of its store in Shinjuku, Tokyo, said that sales of men’s clothing in the period April – September 2012, were up by 2% compared to the same period the year before, and continued to remain strong. However, online shopping, with cheaper prices and outlet stores, has seen a stronger rise in sales. Moreover, more and more people who are interested in fashion are not only browsing magazines, but also checking the internet and watching TV, it seems.

Comments from Yahoo!Japan:

kai*ame*8*(kai…)さん:

Men ought to look after their appearance too. But there’s no need to turn into one of those show-off nancy boys. And let’s not even get started on those women who force their husbands to become like that. It’s best to get rid of that type of woman straight away.

パチンコ朝玉王(pac…)さん:

Once they get to a certain age, there are those guys who can only find new information through newspapers or TV, and when they decide they want to become a bit more fashionable, they wrack what little knowledge they have, and decide that fashion magazines are best. I think that’s what their thought process is.

ぽんぽ(cor…)さん:

I think, once these men get older, rather than thinking about clothes, they ought to pay attention to their BO…

あうあうあう(war…)さん:

Fashion is an individual thing, and if you’re constantly worrying what others are thinking, you can’t enjoy it. Women who criticise others’ fashion are the ones who least understand what fashion is.

vit*o*000gt(vit…)さん:

I think it also has to do with women’s progress in society and changing attitudes to money. Women are investing money on themselves, and therefore they expect men to do so, too. In the past, stay-at-home housewives were the norm, so rather than fashion, money was put to practical use. But these days, men’s salaries are decreasing, the status of women is increasing, and it’s becoming harder and harder to find someone to marry.

カモネギ(cam…)さん:

Male or female, if they’re not dirty, that’s enough.

igr*shk**7(igr…)さん:

First off, old men with dyed brown hair just look really stupid. Also, those men you sometimes see who force themselves into slim fit suits and those pointed shoes are ridiculous, too. I’m also bored of seeing those glasses with huge lenses everywhere. When you get older, your breath starts to smell, so it’d be better if people took care of that.

samson_teacher(bil…)さん:

Firstly, it’s only Japan where regular people pay this much attention to fashion. It’s not that the men have no interest in fashion, if you look at other countries, you’ll see that Japanese women are just weird. Even if you’re covered in brand name goods, if you’ve got short legs and no figure, nobody’s going to be looking at you.

may_in_the_dark(may…)さん:

That’s only the case for those few guys are have good bodies and are handsome.The rest wear those plain jeans and eat at dinner at regular restaurants.

ミスターNo(mr_…)さん:

I want to be popular with the ladies, but if I follow what the media say, the only ones I’ll be popular with are hostesses.

hacozo(jac…)さん:

Where you shop and what you buy depends on the style of your body. If you don’t get fit, you can’t be fashionable. In the end, it all comes down to self control.

mu*****89(mut…)さん:

Obviously, men are also becoming more critical of women. I’m talking about on their personalities as well, things apart from fashion.

rai*******(rai…)さん:

For men or women, if the clothes are average, cheap and fashionable, then that’s fine. But, cheap men’s clothing, is made with old men’s figures in mind, so you can’t wear them and look stylish. Having said that, fashionable clothing is ridiculously expensive.

pri・・・・・・(pri…)さん:

Even if it’s okay to wear flashy clothing, it has to be paired with a good personality.

sty*e*414(sty…)さん:

I like the worldly type of fashion and hobbies that Mr. Tokoro (George Tokoro) has. He has a type of coolness that women probably can’t understand.

zoo**fx10*0(zoo…)さん:

Recently there are a lot of people who wear great clothes but who are empty on the inside…

man*pu*at*ongen**ique(man…)さん:

The majority of people who base their expectations around what they see in magazines are those 40 year olds (and their children) whose generation was manipulated by words like ‘trendy’ and ‘cool’, and who took Mens Nonno and Popeye [another men's magazine] as their bible.

赤富士 桜(aka…)さん:

Every time I see adverts on 2ch compilation sites etc which say ‘Clothes that women choose for men’ or ‘Wear this and you’ll be cool www, best ever fashion’, I think about the type of guys who would fall for that sort of advert, and how they will never be fashionable no matter how hard they try.

ともっちぃぃ(tom…)さん:

In winter, everyone wears black clothes. It’s proof that people only choose things they think are ‘safe’. Your sense of style won’t improve if you compromise; you should wear whatever colours you like.

hay2(hay…)さん:

@ともっちぃぃ(tom…)さん ‘Your sense of style won’t improve if you compromise; you should wear whatever colours you like.’ I like black.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/noah.altman Noah Altman

    More fashionable? Perhaps more focused on fashion, but in most places, it’s usually the men who are least preoccupied by fashion that are most fashionable. They don’t have to focus on fashion at all, because whatever they wear or do becomes fashionable, and then the fashion is subsequently killed by fashionistas, such as these.

    • https://www.facebook.com/dinie.akhemu Gerhana

      as you wrote and a man once said “fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months” – Wilde

      these fashion magazines promote a specific characteristic, not just clothes. Perhaps what these men are looking for are not really fashion in the sense of clothing but how they appear personality wise with the addition of the help of clothing. It may also be an opportunity for them to express themselves and be different in a way that are acceptable for their age and for the women. Besides… a cowboy isnt a cowboy without the hat.

    • linette lee
      • chucky3176

        So what are you trying to say linette? By picking out Korean sites, you are saying Koreans have the worst fashion? lol… Yeah, I’m sure Chinese are so much better, with their belly ‘bang ye’ shirts. lol..

        http://articles.latimes.com/2010/aug/21/world/la-fg-china-bellies-20100821

        “Chinese men are not known for being well-dressed or suave. Describing
        one guy he knew, Peter Hessler wrote in The New Yorker, “Yuan wore a
        white tank top, khaki shorts, leather loafers, and black socks pulled up
        to his kneecaps. He carried a money bag in one hand and a dirty white
        towel in the other. He puffed in the heat; he used the towel to mop
        sweat off his neck.”

        http://factsanddetails.com/china.php?itemid=2841&catid=4&subcatid=21

        That is so attractive, linette. No wonder you picked the USA men as best fashion, you just don’t have a conscience to say Chinese men. (snicker).

        • linette lee

          How you know they are Koreans? They maybe Japanese.
          And Bxllshit with your comments about Chinese men. You are referring to the poor rural areas of china and not the cities chinese men.

          Majority of the modern chinese men on the streets and TV usually dress plain ,clean cut, and casual. Not flower. Not whitening bb creme. They like tan and no make up or sun screen or surgeries. Completely different than Majority of the men on streets and TV in Japan and Korea.

          http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-DB77Y-kPSzA/TvKmtjpRR_I/AAAAAAAAIZ4/qajZwWQVcik/s1600/gcmtenp21p07221211.jpg

          http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_LmA_hF8yj2w/RnNp3tBPw6I/AAAAAAAAAM0/HJGiHn1py14/s320/0307enew18b1.jpg

          http://cul.shangdu.com/people/2010/20120829/P_5691443_3__2119371118.jpg

          http://i346.photobucket.com/albums/p427/LilAsiaGurly/0313enew54b2.jpg

          I bet you use make up bb creme whitening, and sunscreen. It’s your korea culture.

          • vincent

            Linette what the heck is with your hate of Koreans and Japanese? You don’t even live in China FFS, you DO NOT know how ‘well dressed’ guys are in China, the only Chinese guys I’ve seen who even dress moderately well are real estate agents. Your comments won’t be taken seriously as you certainly have a very dark side.
            I mean everyone is Asian anyway so enough already.

          • Linette lee

            What is your problem? Have you been to hk, taiwan, singapore, usa, canada,uk, australia, shanghai, and other major cities in china? The modern young chinese men dress casual and plain and clean cut. Not flower. Go look the street in japan and korea. The modern young men long hair make up flower style. Many teenage girls like that style. Nothing wrong with that. I like plain casual and no make up. What’s your problem?

          • vincent

            Yes as a matter of fact I have, either you have an Astigmatism or some condition that clouds your vision, all the youngsters I’ve seen be they Japanese, Koreans or Chinese all dress the same way. Modern Asian youngsters all dress the same, and they all sport long, spiky/straight hair.
            The most clean cut youngsters I’ve seen are the Koreans, Japanese and Chinese are tied in their fashion styles.
            Linette it’s fairly obvious you see the things you want to see, almost everytime you get a chance you have something to say about Japanese or Koreans and why is that? You’re asking me what my problem is? That’s rich!

          • ChuckRamone

            I’m a Korean guy with fairly long hair. But I don’t think it’s styled the way you’re describing – the young guys in Asia with long hair tend to have frilly hair cuts with all kinds of layering and they use a lot of hair product. It’s possible for a guy to have long hair in a way that’s not cutesy/metrosexual.

          • vincent

            Ah yea sorry I should have mentioned that my comment doesn’t apply to everyone, I’ve got absolutely nothing against long hair except when it looks like a bomb went off. :D

          • Linette lee

            All asian look same to you. Not to me. I can tell the differences between chinese, japan, and koreans. Their style is different. You don’t hang out in those cities i mentioned nor asian towns in the west so you have no clude. All asians look the same to you.

          • vincent

            I was alluding to the way they dress not their defining features, read my comment more carefully before twisting my words to your own ends, and please you aren’t the only one who can tell the difference between the different races.
            I’ve spent a good part of my life actually interacting with them in their their countries of origin, what the heck are you on about hanging out with them in ‘Asian Towns in the West’? That comment itself is ridiculous, do you really think that Asians living in the west are not affected by Western ideals of fashion?
            I have lived in numerous Asian countries, as well as various cities and provinces so it is you who do not have a clue, your comments are always skewed and therefore will not be taken seriously. Now you’re trying to tell me where I’ve lived?! Lord have mercy.
            Ok look can you please stop with the ‘your culture sucks, my culture is number 1′ bullcrap? You live in the West do you think they tolerate racism there? How would you like it if someone was racist to you? Asia will never become powerful if everyone bickers over little bullshit like who uses goddamn make up and who doesn’t, it’s whats on the inside that counts anyway.

          • linette lee

            Well some people mentioned what’s attractive and what’s not, I was just stating what I like. You don’t have to like what I like and don’t like.
            How am I being racist? Most japanese ,korean, chinese talk like the way I talk. We like our own food and culture better because that’s what we grew up with.
            Asia don’t need to be anymore powerful. The way it is is just fine. Who needs to have countries like Japan, korea, or China to be world superpower when they are not 100% into racial diversity. The only country that truly promote racial diversity is USA and this is the country should stay in superpower. And it’s a good thing China and USA have balance in power to keep each other in check.
            Why don’t you go screw yourself.

          • vincent

            haha resorting to insults, very mature. Reading this comment of yours I totally understand your mindset now, and I won’t waste another second on you, enjoy being ignorant.

          • linette lee

            你好自為之.

          • vincent

            Or you wil do what exactly? Pratice what you preach, and this is an English language forum so if you need to type in Chinese run over to Netease or something. Last comment on this matter.

          • linette lee

            I figure you are so worldly and lived in so many Asia countries(especially in China) it should be easier to communicate with you in chinese. last comment from me to you. loser.

          • Kate

            Not true about long hair in Korea at all, men rarely have long hair, most working men have short hair and wear nice suits. They are very clean.cut, that’s pretty universal in most societies actually. Most working men have to have neatly trimmed facial hair or shaved, short hair, nice simple clothes.

          • Kate

            Oh trust me Linette, I wish it were true that every Korean man cared about skin care but alas, I still can’t get my husband to wash his face but a few times a week…..and seriously you think they wear makeup? The only korean guys I’ve seen wear makeup are kpop kids on their videos but in real life, real korean men do not at all. I’m sure some guys do, some american guys do too, but the majority of korean men are dark skinned and pretty manly actually.

          • Linette lee

            You got to be kidding me. I have never seen an american men wear bbcreme make up or chinese men wear bbcreme make up on the street. I have seen many young japanese and korean men bbcreme make up on the street in usa. For those who said otherwise because in usa you don’t hang out in the asian communities.

          • Kate

            The usa doesn’t sell bb cream really? It just now made a break into the us but its not something americans have ever really used including women. I don’t see anything wrong with men putting a little coverage on their pimples or dark eye circles if it looks natural and not obvisously makeup, men are self concious about their looks too. I’m sure some korean men do wear some light coverage but not all of them and the ones who do, it isn’t noticeable nor really any of my business to care what they put on their face, its their face?

          • linette lee

            Whatever, I am just stating what I see and don’t see around me on the street. I don’t find it appealing when men wear more make up or hair products than me. Whatever.

        • Kate

          Is that your real picture Chucky? If it is, then you are verrrrrry cute! Nice change!

          • gangnamstyle

            you think hes cute, someone has horrible taste

      • ric

        these are all professionals real street fashion in the states is poor for the most part because the GQ fashionable ones stand out still

  • Kate

    I don’t know about Japanese men but Korean men are usually very nicely dressed, something you don’t see in the USA. Although I think sometimes asian guys take it too far like the women and should relax on their style and sometims wear clothes for comfort then to impress. Overall, I will readily admitt asians are much mors fashionable then the average american but then again really cute clothes are easy to get in asia then in the usa.

    • PixelPulse

      I think it depends where in the USA. I grew up in NYC and a lot of the black and Spanish guys had some fashion sense, but when I went upstate the guys dressed plainly.

      • Kate

        Yeah I find hispanic men to dress more fashionable then white guys. Where I am at, the guys (mostly white) have zero fashion styles. They were t shirts and jeans and boots and that’s about it. Personally, I find men in suits to be really sexy and when I was in Korea, lots and lots of men wore suits on the streets and it’s really sexy (also many are slim, muscular, and hairless which is sexy too!). Korean men’s dress styles make them sexier then american guys, who tend to never wear suits unless it’s for a reason (i’m going by my area, im sure in NYC and other big cities, it’s very different). It’s like that with women too. So many women in the USA don’t dress feminine, but very down and more for comfort. I cringe when I see girls wearing their pajamas to the store. I wish more women wore dresses and skirts and heels like the 1950′s, I think it’s nice to see women look like feminine women. Dresses and skirts and heels are much easier to come by in Seoul then in my area, there are super feminine and cute clothes everywhere.

        • https://www.facebook.com/dinie.akhemu Gerhana

          you dont wear dark coloured clothe kate? dark colour with that make up around your eyes, you will look villainy, like this picture

          • Kate

            I was practicing arabic eye makeup tonight, though I’m not very good at it……..hah i kinda do look like that picture with the dark eye makeup!

          • https://www.facebook.com/dinie.akhemu Gerhana

            it looks good on you. if you make a little tail it will be the Egyptian eye.

          • vincent

            Damn Kate you have such alluring features ^^

          • Kate

            Thanks Vincent, but I’m just wearing a lot of eye makeup in that picture, I look pretty much like any other white girl in the world :) With makeup and without, it’s a big difference just like any girl :)

          • vincent

            o.o You look even better without makeup ;)

        • linette lee

          ah… I really desperately want to be in the arms of a Korean man..

        • PixelPulse

          I dont think anybody can complain about guys in nice fitted suits *o* I do agree that it would be nice if ladies in the USA dressed up more when they go outside, it doesnt have to be incredibly fancy or feminine to me, but just if they put more effort into their casual wear then the messy top bun with pj’s/sweats combined with uggs.

        • http://www.facebook.com/noah.altman Noah Altman

          There’s a suit and then there’s a suit. While an Armani is not entirely necessary, getting the cut, color/shade, and style right for the situation is very important. Wearing a suit for no reason is like eating when it’s not meal time; it denigrates the uniform. But when it is time for a suit, wearing charcoal pinstripes in a machine cut (unfortunately a very common suit in Asian countries) is business-sleazy; just looking at it feels like the sweaty, hurried handshake of a used car salesman. So again, there’s a suit and then there’s a suit.

          • Kate

            I tend to look at the nice muscular bodies in the suits ^_^

          • http://www.facebook.com/noah.altman Noah Altman

            You can see through suits? Maybe I should have my next suit lined with lead -_-

  • ChuckRamone

    Some Japanese men are fashionable, or at least very style conscious. I know one thing Japanese like to do is find a subculture of some kind, like rock ‘n’ roll or hip hop or American varsity or whatever – and totally immerse themselves in it, becoming dilettantes in their area of interest. So you have Japanese guys who buy magazines that tailor to their niche. Then there are the guys who really have no fashion sense and their girlfriends pick stuff for them, or they just buy trendy stuff so they can be oshare because they feel they have to be. A lot of pressure comes from Japanese society to not be unstylish. Sometimes the obsession seems like a distraction from reality, and a little superficial. But many Japanese do appreciate style and aesthetics. Personally, I think some Japanese dudes are effeminate or too foppish from a Western perspective, and some Western women might be turned off by that. I like when people are stylish but there’s a line that can be crossed where someone comes off as fake.

  • FJ

    jap men are fags. only jap men care more about fashion than women.

  • hun

    Fashion magazines, one step closer to controlling the people… on what to wear.

  • TSDown

    Working men with seemingly little left to aim for may feel a measure of pride in oneself in the pursuit to be fabulous, darling. Or, in relation to a previous article, they are trying to make up for low wages, poor self-esteem and bad habits by appearing more attractive to the opposite (or same) sex.

    Allow me the liberty of saying you all look fabulous, darlings, absolutely fabulous.

  • Pid

    I think it’s only good if people dress more fashionable, but no overkill though :)

  • Relivash

    I think we call it being a metrosexual in the west. Men should also look after their appearance, but you have to know what you “wear”, and not be “worn” by your clothes.

  • x1sfg

    I’ve never understood the fashion industry, no matter what country. That said, even though I’ve hated it every time I had to wear a suit or the dress blues or greens, I believe every man should at least know how to wear a suit, know which knot to tie for the occassion, and know how to match shoes and belts. Formal wear is easy in the military, it is standardized and regulated, but I saw someone the other day wearing both suspenders AND a black belt, with brown shoes and a grey double breasted suit. It just looked strange.

  • Paul M

    Just got back from my trip to Japan and had a fantastic time. The highlight for me was going to a pachinko parlour and coming out an hour later and 400 yen richer. As for fashion I noticed one particular trend amongst quite a few young men in their mid 20′s – big hair, cowboy boots (or pointy shoes), trousers so tight you could hear their gonads screaming, and….. handbags. Big shiny handbags tucked under their arms with the handles slung over their shoulders. I have to say I admired them for their bold statement and now wish that I had had the nerve to ask if I could take their photo.

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