My Interest in Global Japanese Studies

My interest in the program of Global Japanese Studies originated from my interest in the popular culture of Japan. As my parents work in a clothing company that deals with trades between China and Japan, there are various Japanese fashion magazines in our house. When I was a middle school student, I started to read those Japanese magazines for young women such as ViVi and Mina.

I found that the clothing, makeup, hair styles, and postures of the Japanese models are different from those on the Chinese fashion magazines. For example, Japanese models are often dressed in white, pink, or beige outfits which put less emphasis on their body line. However, the clothes on the Chinese magazines stress the body line of the models more, and many are in the red. Also, Japanese models usually wear light-colored lipsticks, like pink or beige, but Chinese models are often represented with red lips. Moreover, most of the Japanese models have thick hair bangs while many of the Chinese models are styled without bangs. Realizing such differences, I wondered why the images of young females on the Japanese magazines are represented in this way rather than being similar to the Chinese ones. To investigate this question, I read books about Japanese culture and ask my parents about it.

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Then, I found that the kawaii (cute) culture in Japan may be one of the reasons. According to a book written by Yomoda Inuhiko entitled On Kawaii, such culture has a strong influence on the Japanese society. It has resulted in a preference for childishness among Japanese people. Purity and innocence are cherished because these are the main characteristics of young children. Thus, Japanese magazines tend to choose lighter and milder colors in their clothes or makeup to represent purity and innocence, and Japanese models would be styled with hair bangs so that they will look younger.

The emphasis on body lines and usage of red colors on the Chinese magazines will make the models…