The Modern Tokyo Times

International news and neglected issues

Tokyo ladies use more make-up than other major Asian cities: but what about Osaka?

Tokyo ladies use more make-up than other major Asian cities: but what about Osaka?

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Stunning Osaka lady

It is reported that 80 per cent of ladies in Tokyo between the ages of 18 to 59, use make-up at least five times a week.  Also, for many females in Tokyo they also worry about how other people judge them and this cultural norm is important to know because not everything is what it appears in Tokyo.

The survey that published the results of the findings was Kanebo which is a cosmetic company.  They asked similar questions in Beijing, Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei and Tokyo and while you had certain similarities, it was noticeable that Tokyo ladies use make-up much more than the other places where the survey was carried out.

Sadly, Kanebo picked two major cities in China but only one major city in Japan.  I am sure that Osaka ladies will not understand this.  After all, for pure sexual appeal and a vibrant culture, then places like Namba and Umeda in Osaka have a raw energy which appears to be lacking in most parts of Tokyo.

Also, the survey would have had greater findings if it had included Osaka because then cosmetic companies, fashion companies, and other related sectors; could have utilized this information and I am disappointed that Osaka was omitted.

After all, two cities in China were used and sadly Osaka is often neglected but the heart of Japan is beating strongly in Osaka.  Osaka culture is vibrant, more open and you can feel the raw energy of places like Namba and ladies on a whole appear more outgoing when compared with the quietness of Tokyo.

Cultural sensibilities appear to be very powerful in Tokyo and this applies to how other people will judge them.  Therefore, make-up is part of the “look good” then “feel good” followed by social acceptance. 

In cities like Manchester and London in the United Kingdom you will notice when a lady is going somewhere special or if she is going to meet her partner for a romantic meal. This applies to many ladies dressing stylishly and making an effort because the occasion is deemed to be important.

However, in Tokyo it is very different because many ladies dress up and use make-up when meeting female friends or just going to the local coffee shop.  This factor is noticeably different than Manchester and London.

Cosmetic companies understand this reality and alongside fashion, it is apparent that Tokyo is a hotbed for the latest cosmetic products.  The same applies to fashion and the need to look respectful is a cultural norm in Tokyo.

It is unclear how much this shows confidence or lack of confidence because the findings did not dig deep enough.  However, conformity and dressing elegantly in order to meet cultural norms is very important. 

Kanebo took six months over this survey and the main emphasis was work expectations, personal aspirations, aims in five years time, make-up preferences and thinking related to cosmetics.  

Sakae Nomura, director of Kanebo’s Beauty Research Institute, commented that “The biggest difference we saw was the emphasis that Japanese women place on human relationships – in particular they care about being liked by others – while the women in the other cities are more concerned with personal growth through their work or studies.”

Another major difference was that Tokyo ladies in general focused on personal relationships and a nice balance between work and life. In the other cities in the survey much emphasis was put on obtaining a high salary and “personal development.”

Tokyo ladies overall stressed the importance to be “considerate to others” when asked about the person they desired to be.  However, in the other four cities being “feminine” and “cheerful” was selected before being “considerate to others.”

The survey also highlighted the statistics of women using make-up.  The findings stated that 79.5 per cent of ladies in Tokyo use cosmetics at least for five days during the week.  This compares to 58.7 per cent in Seoul, 45.1 per cent in Taipei, 44.5 per cent in Beijing and 38.7 per cent in Shanghai.

Tokyo women also spent more of their income and saved on average a mere 11.1 per cent of their wages.  In Seoul the figure was just over double because savings accounted to 22.3 per cent of their wages.

Seoul ladies, unlike the other four cities, also focused on cosmetic products for their lips but in each city great emphasis was put on enhancing the beauty of eyes and to obtain fresh and beautiful skin.

The only negative thing about the survey was that Osaka was omitted and I am deeply disappointed about this.  After all, it is often perceived in Tokyo that Osaka people are more outgoing and expressive in their language and thinking. 

Therefore, it would have been interesting to have compared the findings between Osaka and Tokyo and then related this to the other cities in the survey.  I have been to Osaka on many occasions and for raw energy, style, sexuality, and natural feeling; then places like Namba, Umeda and the trendy Chayamachi area nearby, compare more than favorably.

It should also be stated that Japan’s longest shopping street is located in Osaka and not Tokyo.  This applies to the Tenjinbashi-Suji Shopping Arcade.  (Chayamachi – Osaka) (Harajuku – Tokyo)  (Namba – Osaka) (Shibuya – Tokyo)  (please visit)



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