New Trends for Japanese Men

The past few years, young Japanese men are paying more and more attention to their hairstyles, skin care and scents. What only a few years ago would still have been seen as effected or feminine is now rapidly becoming standard.

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Japanese HairstyleThe majority of men between 18 and 23 years old now consider their hairstyle more important than being thin. Considering that most are extremely thin and almost half of the men in this age group do some kind of exercise or weight lifting, it gives a pretty good indication of how important hairstyles have become to Japanese men.

The average man in this age group, visits a beauty salon – nobody goes to the “barber” anymore – once every 6 weeks. About 1 in 3 goes every month.

Nakano StylingStyling gel is totally out. The trendy man uses wax. The most popular brands are Nakano Styling (about JPY 1,000 or USD 8.00) by Kyoto based Nakano Seiyaku, Gatsby from Mandom and Uno from Shiseido. This trend is mostly thanks to commercials featuring popular stars like SMAP’s Kimutaku (Takuya Kimura) for Gatsby and members of KAT-TUN for Oxy.

Vivienne Westwood Boudoir Sin GardenAlmost two thirds of young Japanese men use perfume. Some popular brands are Boudoir Sin Garden from Vivienne Westwood (about JPY 5,000), Burberry’s limited edition Burberry Summer (about JPY 8,000), Bulgari Pour Homme, Calvin Klein CKone and Sculpture homme from Nikos. Those familiar with Vivienne Westwood’s Boudoir Sin Garden may be surprised as it is considered a women’s perfume in most other countries.

Dyed hair is still extremely popular, with almost half of the men in this age group having a color different than they were born with. Especially high-toned colors are popular at the moment.

Wolf CutHairstyles differ per city, but there are some trends that can be found all over Japan. Short and medium cuts appear to win out over longer hairstyles at the moment. Especially popular are all kinds of wild variations of the wolf-cut (see photo), or straight hair with a center parting. Quite a few celebrities sport a variation of the wolf-cut, for example golf wonder kid Ryo Ishikawa (1991), and comedian Tomonori Jinnai (1974) who is mostly famous for marrying sexy actress and Miss Japan 1992 Norika Fujiwara (1971).

“Ashime” or asymmetrical cuts are also extremely popular at the moment. As are waves, which tend to be expensive and difficult to maintain for Japanese men as most have very straight hair.

The tanned look is still popular, but 1 in 2 young men now wants a white complexion and in spite of it being Summer it looks like this trend may strengthen.

Aburatori-gami Oil Extracting PaperAlthough Japanese women still buy most of the skin care products in Japan, men’s skin care is now becoming an important market. Facial wash and slips of paper to remove oil from the face (aburatori-gami or oil extracting paper) are especially flying off the shelves. Oxy Facial SheetGatsby is again the most popular brand for facial wash, while Oxy is extremely popular for aburatori. Other popular brands for facial wash are Uno, Bioré, DHC, Shiseido Men, Clarins and Oxy. The average price is JPY 300 (USD 2.50).

Many companies have brought out skin refreshers. But these are rarely used by men under 23 as it takes a regular salary to afford them. Popular brands for skin refreshers among men in their 20s and 30s are Shiseido Men, Clinique, Nivea, Lúcido (from Mandon), and Linn Sakurai.

Kanebo also has a popular line, called NUDY.

Japanese HairstyleMost of these items are bought at huge drugstore chains like Matsumoto Kiyoshi, beauty salons (especially for Nakano Styling, which is actually a product for professionals), convenience stores like Lawson, Family Mart, Mini Stop and ampm, and department stores (mainly for the older crowd).

Spending patterns of men between 18 and 23 years old:

• Average spending per month: JPY 30,000 (USD 245)
• Average number of shopping trips: 3 times per month
• Average spent on a single clothing item: JPY 40,000 (USD 327)

Sources: original research and interviews, Japanese media

Kjeld Duits About the Author

Inspired by the stunningly creative street fashion that exploded on the streets of Tokyo and Osaka in the late 1990’s, photo-journalist Kjeld Duits launched JAPANESE STREETS in 2002. This makes JS one of the first fashion blogs on the net, and the very first to cover Japanese street fashion.

Recent articles by Kjeld Duits:

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