Below shows part of a journal written by Ashikari (2005), regarding the well-know Japanese beauty trend of ‘skin-lightening’. This journal in particular looks at this in a cultural, historical and social context. It also highlights how both Japanese and Western brands uses suggestive and clever copywriting and marketing within their ad campaigns. This is something which I will be looking out for during my research trip to Tokyo.
Main points raised throughout the journal:
- Two perspectives on the ‘skin lightening’ trend, and where this has stemmed from – western influences and commercialisation, as well as traditional values and historical cultures in Japan (if you were a woman whom worked an outdoor labouring job, this seen as a ‘poor’ trade and meant you tanned naturally, whilst those in aristocracy or working inside, allowed for a more affluent lifestyle, and lighter skin).
- Copywriting and marketing of consumer goods and magazines can be tactful and clever.
- Opposite to the UK – tanning is popular in the UK and is seen as a sign of affluence and holiday-going.
- Ties with traditional Japanese culture, symbols and identity – the Geisha.
- ‘White’ skin is considered beautiful and more preferable.
- Emphasis on ‘youthful and natural’ skin via anti-ageing and skin-lightening products, opposed to heavy makeup trends, as often seen in Western culture.
- Allows for a feeling of inclusion and belonging.
- Cannot escape the ‘ideal’ due to an influx of the above points.
The above points I would like to talk to about further whilst seeing Vogue Japan, and a Japanese Beauty Blogger I have made contact with in Tokyo, whilst on my trip in order to gain their insights and perspectives on this, whilst affirming the points made throughout this journal.
Ashikari, M. (2005). Cultivating Japanese Whiteness. Journal of Material Culture. 10 (1), P. 73-90.