#2556

Don’t be fooled by appearances!

Why do Japanese businessmen look so “un-fashionable”?

Fashion and appearances are of vital importance in Japan. So why do Japanese businessmen all look similar?

To start with the conclusion, if I may, unfashion is a kind of fashion. Let me explain it with the Japanese angle. Like anywhere else, fashion in Japan is a statement of belonging to a community. By adopting the dress code of the community you belong to, you are also showing the world that you are part of that community and that you adhere to its codes.

In Japan, where appearances and belonging are 2 very important elements of your social life, this leads people to pay a lot of attention to their look. So why are the Japanese businessmen so unfashionable? It comes in contradiction with my little theory, doesn’t it. Well, the contradiction is only on the surface. If the community code asks of its members to look un-eventful, then, here you go: a dark blue color suit, a white shirt, if you are daring, a pink one will become the major pillar of your fashion, a kind of uniform.

It is always surprising for us Occidental, to notice that even “important” people in the Japanese organisations that we visit, are looking like the blue workers or employees they are employing. They wear the company uniform or jumper like anyone else and will switch to their jacket before they meet you…
So, appearance matters, but do not be fooled by it. You cannot decide who is important for you, just by the look. The decision maker might not be the one you thought of. Besides, while looking quite “un-exceptional”, if you take the time to scratch the surface, you will discover very bright people, with good and/or unique ideas, ambitions, and deep and sophisticated thoughts!

So, do not dismiss them too fast because they are looking too predictable. On the contrary, you really want to discover those people who are willing to become your “advocate” within their organization, and who have both the incentive and the mind to fight successfully for you! They look unfashionable because they do know the codes and they thrives in using them to succeed!

Claire image

Claire

Belgium

Claire's other advice

Kasai Rinkai Park : enjoy the sea ! images

Kasai Rinkai Park : enjoy the sea !

If you want to get away from high-rise building without going too far, Kasai Rinkai parc is your place. One station before Disneyland (Maihama), on the Keiyo line, it takes you 20 minutes to get …

Enjoy the cherry blossoms images

Enjoy the cherry blossoms

Every spring, it is the same thing: everyone are getting very (positively) anxious and are looking forward to enjoying the cherry blossoms.Spring is there. 8 blossoms on a tree, and it's done. C…

Hot spring etiquette: Please, do hot-bath like a pro. images

Hot spring etiquette: Please, do hot-bath like a pro.

Hot springs are often marketed for their positive effects on health: skin, articulations, cardio-vascular system, muscular relaxation… depending on its mineral content, the hot water is supposed to h…

Indulge myself with a small luxury : a minitrip to Kusatsu images

Indulge myself with a small luxury : a minitrip to Kusatsu

Have you ever had that feeling that your mind is stuck with your work and you need to get away from the office for a while? Staying home is not an option because then, you will not stay focus on your…

A trip to hot springs? images

A trip to hot springs?

I remember one business meeting I attended and the quizzical look of my Belgian business partner when our Japanese host suggested a trip to hot springs together. We knew him very well, but…, a trip t…

Omotenashi - a tradition made famous by Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic 2020 images

Omotenashi - a tradition made famous by Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic 2020

Since Tokyo has been nominated to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020, « omotenashi » has become the buzz word to epitomize Japan’s art of welcoming guests and attract tourists. But what do…

You might also like

What to do at a Japanese Funeral | Funeral Etiquette images

What to do at a Japanese Funeral | Funeral Etiquette

Attending a Japanese funeral can be stressful, even shocking, if you don't know what to do. The more you know beforehand the better, as you'll be able to comfort and support mutual friends and their …

Former Deep Japan Writer image

Former Deep Japan Writer

Yurei, Yokai and Obake: Japan's Very Busy Ghost Scene images

Yurei, Yokai and Obake: Japan's Very Busy Ghost Scene

Ghosts and spirits hold a place in the folklore of many cultures around the world. In the western world, Halloween, observed on October 31st, is a time for scary, spooky tales, while Latin America w…

jdlawrence image

jdlawrence

Buying Protein and Sports Supplements in Japan images

Buying Protein and Sports Supplements in Japan

To maintain muscle mass and optimal athletic performance, it’s important to adhere to a strict training and diet regimen. That’s why it’s essential that gym-goers and athletes always be able to acces…

Alexandrine image

Alexandrine

The Top 8 Places to Beat Summer Heat in Japan images

The Top 8 Places to Beat Summer Heat in Japan

Where do Japanese love to visit to avoid summer heat in Japan? I searched the top 8 summer resorts loved by Japanese including Furano in Hokkaido, Okinawa, Karuizawa and Hakone, which are famous amon…

Alexlovetravel image

Alexlovetravel

Love Stones at Jishu Shrine in Kyoto images

Love Stones at Jishu Shrine in Kyoto

Jishu Shrine is located near (or I would say within) Kyoto's Kiyomizu Temple. Dedicated to the deity of love and matchmaking, the love shrine is always crowded with many couples and especially young …

EmiOnishi image

EmiOnishi

Bringing Your Meds To Japan? Study The Laws A Little. images

Bringing Your Meds To Japan? Study The Laws A Little.

For a long time, the ubiquitous sinus medicine Vicks Inhaler was the butt of jokes among resident foreigners in Japan. Signs used to grace airport terminals with the familiar cream-and-green device…

jdlawrence image

jdlawrence