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Skimpy Fashions Get Even Skimpier (September 13, 2006)

Combining a tube top with a frilly miniskirt (Color & Design Research Room of Kyoritsu Women's Junior College)
Young Japanese women are walking the streets in highly revealing styles, from bare-back dresses and tube tops to low-rise hot pants and super-mini skirts. The tendency to expose the skin is further escalating with the emergence of mise bura ("revealing bras") and mise pan ("revealing panties"). These refer, respectively, to brightly colored bras worn with plunging necklines and G-string panties designed to show from underneath hip-hugging jeans.

The Fashion Leaders
Initially preferred by gaudy teenage girls hanging out in Tokyo's Shibuya district, the revealing styles are also catching on this year among the boyish women of the Harajuku and Daikanyama districts, and even some young men are now dressing in deep-cut tank tops. The fashion for showing skin is spreading.

A lace camisole for a girly look (Color & Design Research Room of Kyoritsu Women's Junior College)

The origins of the skimpy look in Japan can be traced to Amuro Namie, a pop singer who continues to attract many fans today. Amuro rose to stardom in the 1990s with her midriff-baring costumes and dashing dance moves, making a clear departure from the traditional cutesy "idol" image. Around 1995 her popularity spawned look-alikes known as Amura.

The latest role model known for her sexy, exposing outfits is singer Koda Kumi. Worshipped by young women, Koda's fashion style is described as ero-kakkoii, or erotic and cool, and fans known as Koda jo (Koda girls) are imitating her fashion, hairstyle, makeup, and accessories. Thanks to these trendsetters, to look erotic is to be on the cutting edge of fashion.

Combining a camisole with boyish denim (Color & Design Research Room of Kyoritsu Women's Junior College)

The Body As Fashion
The popularity of revealing clothes can be attributed to young people's viewing their skin itself as part of their overall look. These young women and men pay just as much attention to their bodies and skin as their clothes. They work hard to hone their bodies by dieting and working out, and they alter their appearance by tanning, tattooing, wearing earrings, manicuring, and dyeing their hair.

Tired of simply dressing in trendy clothes, fashion-sensitive youths are focusing on their bodies and skin as areas in which to improve how they look. The current fad is proof that the definition of fashion has spread beyond clothes and accessories and come to include the skin and body as well.

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Copyright (c) 2006 Web Japan. 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.

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