Salaryman to Shōnen: The 1960s Japanese Male Model Revolution

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Conference Proceeding
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This paper discusses the use of male models in 1960s advertising campaigns in Japan, which were vital to the success of men’s cosmetics. Up until that point, Japanese masculinity in the 1960s had been most strongly associated with mature and rather subdued images of the salaryman. Strikingly different, these male models emphasized youth and reflected a developing recognition of the commercial value of the commodified male beauty. These campaigns contributed to the creation and dissemination of a new, slender, sophisticated and highly desirable male aesthetic ideal, which was the precursor to today’s youthful paragons. The appreciation (and utilization) of the beauty of the clothed male body in these campaigns also offers an alternative to the focus on the muscularity of the undraped male body in socio-cultural studies of the body and masculinity.
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