Their western counterparts are known as metrosexual and like them the new-age Japanese men are paying an increased amount of attention to their appearance and grooming. Be it fashionable clothes, latest spa treatments or a simple manicure; men are indulging in beauty care with a vengeance and loving every bit of it. The current crop of 20 to 30-year-olds who were once ikemen, are now labeled kireo (a spin on kirei), meaning pretty.
Narcissism be damned, men are indulging in self-grooming for deeper reasons than vanity alone. A number of them feel a surge of self-confidence and worth, when they look groomed enough to turn heads. Some of them cite business advantages, for example a baker in Osaka feels he is doing better client servicing because of well-tended talons. Dirty nails are a sure turn-off, especially in the baking industry! In another case, an office executive claims to carry a ‘beauty pouch’ to office, containing essentials like lip cream, tweezers, hand mirror and other similar items. Apparently to create the right impression one has to look good as well. This goes on to impress clients and bring in more business. It’s another thing that most women feel threatened in front of a man better groomed than her!
Beauty World Soken, a research institute run by Recruit Co. conducted a survey last year, to figure out just how many men were influenced by the metrosexual phenomena. Of the 500 men aged between 25 and 49, 37% of the 25 to 29 age bracket said they were “interested” in beauty care and services. Twenty-eight percent of the 30 to 34 age group had the same answer. This goes to show that the men’s grooming industry is growing at a fast pace with leading brands targeting their latest grooming products towards the male consumers. No wonder every year single men below the age of 34 are spending an average of ¥11,000 on beauty products alone. Personally I think there is nothing wrong with a well-groomed man, if nothing else it tells me that he really cares about himself!