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MEET THE NEW ME:
"Transformation" Services a Hit
April 6, 2001
As full makeup costs only 2,000 yen, some 3,000 customers use the studio each month. Their ages vary widely, with some in their twenties and others in their sixties. Recently a growing number of men have been frequenting the studio to receive eyebrow trimming services and massages.
The company that owns the studio is actually an apparel maker. It set up the studio adjacent to its boutique, which specializes in shirts and blouses, in the hope of drawing customers to the boutique. The sideline business proved amazingly popular, so the company decided to open more studios in several other downtown areas. "Professional makeup lasts longer than my usual makeup," enthuses one female office worker who frequently visits the studio. "When people tell me that I look pretty, I feel more confident about myself."
Photography Services, Too
Here, too, the customers are not all young women. Sometimes couples come to have photos taken together, and the shop occasionally receives older customers in their fifties or sixties. About 30 people use the studio on weekends.
Another studio in Hibiya, OPSIS Make-up & Photo Studio, provides similar services, as well as courses designed for men. Male customers can have their complexion refined with foundation, their eyebrows trimmed handsomely, and a photograph taken for 7,000 yen (56 dollars). According to the studio, many of the customers use this service to take portraits for resumes, apparently reflecting the rise in Japan's jobless rate in recent years. The studio suggests this also shows the importance of good looks to Japanese people today.
One sociologist says of the popularity of these "transformation" studios, "Today the Japanese emphasize individuality, and perhaps this has given many people the desire to discover a new self, different from the person they usually are."
Copyright (c) 2001 Japan Information Network. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.