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Oh Man: In Japan, 'Pretty' Guys Are in Style

Oh Man: In Japan, 'Pretty' Guys Are in Style

In Japan, the most popular grooming brand for young men is Gatsby. This name always makes me giggle, because, well, things didn't work out so well for the literary Gatsby. From my American viewpoint, the number of Gatsby products is astounding—more than a dozen colors of hair dye, styling putty, six varieties of deodorant, on and on and on. Men have as many beauty products as women do!

It makes sense, though: A recent story shows that young Japanese men are grooming themselves in a way that makes your average metrosexual seem like Charles Bronson in comparison. And their female counterparts consider it sexy, as shown by the heartthrob status of actor/model Takuya Kimura, pictured here. reveals the latest trend for guys in Japan: looking pretty, not masculine. Take a look at what it involves:

"I shave the tops and bottoms of my eyebrows to make them look cleaner," said Shinya Abe, 21, a wispy third-year student at Kobe University in western Japan. Abe, who also uses a men's eyebrow kit of brow comb, brow scissors and tweezers to keep his brows in line, says many of his classmates go further, shaving off their eyebrows and pencilling in new ones. Some go to aesthetic salons, or "esute", to get facials, manicures and pedicures.

To find out more, and to see a Gatsby commercial that would not go over too well on American airwaves,

This level of intensive grooming is indicative of the current preference for smooth-skinned, gentle-looking men. "Right now, the emphasis is on 'pretty', and nice, delicate men are in style," said Mayu Shimokawa, chief manager of product promotions at Mandom, the corporation that produces Gatsby. "Men's tastes are changing and we are changing to keep up with their tastes."

It's always interesting to peek into beauty ideals around the world, and there's something I like about a culture that says men can be pretty (without being called "gay" in a nasty way). But I'm not sure that I want to date a guy who spends his morning pencilling in his eyebrows, either.

Let me know what you think of these Gatsby commercials, which star the aforementioned superstar Takuya Kimura. I kinda dig the look in the first one—it's pretty hip and confident. The second one, in which he suggestively sprays deodorant, is more risque—enough so that I had to move my screen away from Intern's eyes, lest he accuse me of trying to pervert his young, impressionable mind.


Pchanknows Pchanknows 9 years
You have to watch his shows and movies to see that Kimura though pretty is not at all gay. He actually is so hot!
chiccox3 chiccox3 9 years
lol i really liked the commercial actually. and i think asian guys are hot but i don't think i would ever date a 'pretty' one cause usually they're very skinny and lanky while i prefer a guy with more muscles. they're just really nice to look at :)
Lyv Lyv 10 years
Pff. I like guys who're not completely careless about their looks, but enough is enough. The whole metrosexual act is a real turn-off in my book.
heineken67 heineken67 10 years
I'm all for grooming (PLEASE!), but this is excessive. I don't want a man whose beauty regimen rivals mine.
Sarah-Akbar Sarah-Akbar 10 years
i like takuya. he's a good actor. i like the first commercial, not very keen on the second one though
beingtazim beingtazim 10 years
totally dreamy.
indreams8318 indreams8318 10 years
if a man being pretty means he looks like kimura then i hope all men can be pretty! there is a trend for the pretty asian boy that has been going on for years and it doesnt bother me at all. as long as the guy is clean and happy then it works for me. or that and hes hot like i love him. if you wanna see him act find "beautiful life" it is the best drama ever and will touch your heart ^___^
EatYourVeggies EatYourVeggies 10 years
Hmm. He's okay. At least he's not one of those pretty Asian boys who dyes their hair that annoying orange color. As for metros, the David Beckham level is as far as I can stand. No Zac Efrons and their glittery bronzers, please.
creamytofu creamytofu 10 years
omg..i can not beleive my favorite japanese actor is on bellasugar ..omg...he is soooooo Hot...all you have to do is watch his movies and tv series, and you know wat i mean.. i watch them and i dont even know japanes..he is so beautiful..
lmlturbo123 lmlturbo123 10 years
TiffanyNicole TiffanyNicole 10 years
As long as he is not prettier than me, spend more time grooming than me and his hair can not be longer than mine. I say gromed men all the time and "pretty guys" not so much. I dont get all the spinnging.
gaulearnedimp gaulearnedimp 10 years
At first I thought the song was that English one that starts out "IIIII'm every woman"
bpjedi bpjedi 10 years
I think the commercials are a wee bit silly, but I don't think that there is anything wrong with a well-groomed man... as long as he isn't prettier than me! My fiance takes good care of himself, but certainly doesn't use more products than I do. (I did encourage him to use spf lotion when going out in the sun by warning him that he'll get skin cancer in addition to looking 20 yrs older than me in 10, but haven't pushed him to do anything else.) It is great to know that I never have to worry about him showing up somewhere un-showered or looking otherwise greasy and unclean. Why some women put up with men who can't be bothered to clean themselves or do something with their hair--either keeping it short and low-maintenance or growing it longer but properly taking care of it--is beyond me. I had a friend who's bf had such a gross b.o. that you could tell when he had been in a room a good half hour after he left... totally gross.
franfran franfran 10 years
i love japanese boys but couldnt date one prettier than me! kimutaku is a legend in japan, but i like a bit more muscle - mmmm.
leira leira 10 years
Men who looks naturally pretty have always been loved and adored in Japan for a longggggggggg time especially if they're music artiste. So looking pretty has always been an "in" thing over there.. Examples are people like Gackt, Kiyoharu and Mana! Even gays are accepted there, an actor posing as a gay in a show called "Hard Gay" is one of the most popular comedy shows there. The trend in Japan always starts with the celebrities. When they start seeing their favourite or a famous celebrity with dark rimmed glasses, blonde hair or even shades, every guy would get one!
Calimie Calimie 10 years
It feels like those bishies from mangas are being brought to life, yay!
Rayasunshine Rayasunshine 10 years
mmmm.. Ok I have to admit when I first started Japanese and Korean t.v/dramas movies and listening to music.. the men did seem fem. but after awhile of watching and listening to the music not only does it become normal.. but you realize these men are incredibly hot! lol yes they might be pretty.... but if you actually watch foreign t.v programs ect.. it isn't nearly as extreme as you think... a japanese man with his eyebrows plucked.. looks like the average American man.. its not like they have super arched eyebrows... alot of them just had really really thick eyebrows to begin with.. while some have really sparse eyebrows and feel the need to pencil them in a bit!! Either way I love them to death. By the way Miyabi.. are you a Miyavi Fan? Love him!!
inertia inertia 10 years
I love these "pretty" boys and their gravity-defying hairstyles. But I wouldn't call them "gentle-looking." At least in Tokyo, many of the flashiest guys with this kind of look are hosts, and they stalk the streets of Kabukicho like panthers. (Actually, when I saw the title I thought the article was going to be about visual kei bands, who make Kimutaku look casual and masculine...)

"Prettier than me" isn't an issue for young Japanese women. Girls here are just as carefully styled and fashionably dressed as you'd expect the girlfriend of a guy like this to be. When I go out to Shinjuku or Shibuya, I'll regularly spend an hour and a half on my hair and makeup. That's not uncommon in Tokyo.

pnai_foxxx pnai_foxxx 10 years
OMG TAKUYA KUN!!! my coworker at work (shes actually issued his ticket for JAL years ago!!) n i were swooning over memories of him in love generation and long vacation--and shes a decade older than me!!! hes not just pretty, hes gorgeous! (and in his old seasonal shoes and performing with smap, hes not as feminine as bella describes it!! hes still masculine) i wouldnt say metro, its not a bad thing that a man takes care of himself (^.^) now, putting makeup on, that draws the line. ew. (so not feelin the guyliner) but yeah. takuyakun!!!!!!!
bunny bunny 10 years
Ick! Don't like boys like that! The hottest Korean stars look like him too..
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 10 years
i'm not into metrosexuality in any way but i LOVE japanese guys. Their style,looks, everything but I really, really loathe metros i can't even date a guy who has ace masks in his cupboard.
nikecold nikecold 10 years
I could never date a guy like that. For one I'm not very attracted to the guy in the pic, he sort of reminds me of an ant. I like pretty looking boys, and I like boys to take enough care of themselves so that they're feet aren't gross and all that stuff but I couldn't stand dating a metro however goodlooking and polished he may be. To me men that spend too much time grooming themselves are looking for way much more attention than anyone would want their boyfriend to get. Not to mention penciled in eyebrows? I mean allright we ARE in the 21st century its ok to be a metro and all, but unless your a drag queen or you have david gallagher eyebrows or a unibrow there is no need for men to go around axing they're eyebrows. That is just wrong, I mean they can do it but whatever guy does that crap can be sure he wont be getting a chance at me.
cyrizzle cyrizzle 10 years
that commercial was just as silly as the pocky commercials.....
gun-honey gun-honey 10 years
I love the pretty. Can I say it again? I LOVE THE PRETTY! And Takuya Kimura has to be the prettiest of them all :) He never ages.
nikkih nikkih 10 years
I like rugged men.
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