The Color of the Day: Many Shades of Pink in Japan

Thames and Hudson
Publication Type:
Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color, 2018, pp. 177 - 190
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Pink is a color with a long history in Japan. As in many Western cuÌtures, to contemporary Japanese eyes pink is first and foremost symbolic of a girly aesthetic, often associated with glittering princesses, romantic ballerinas, and fashion dolls. However, this part of the rosy color spectrum has a long and varied history in Japanese culture. As recently as the late r960s, pink did not necessarily have girlish or feminine connotations. when worn by males, it conveyed an unusual and perhaps laissez-faire image in Japan. one of the top male fashion models in the i970s and l9g0s told me in an interview thar, as a nineteen-year-old in the late 1960s, he had no intention of becoming a fashion model. He was set on a career as a chef and enrolled in a culinary school. Early in his training his teacher objected to the pink shirt he chose to wear to class. He quit the school because of the incident and, as fate would have it, embarked on a modeling career that would last for more than forty years. This chapter focuses on the many faces of pink in Japan, from the ancient to the early modern period, in women's and men's fashion.
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