High heels and high soles in Japan

March 18, 2016 5:37PM (JP) (Mostly written on March 15 – 16, 2016)

When you go to major popular cities filled with youngsters, you will instantly recognize highly fashionable beauties. This happens pretty much everywhere in major cities around the world. Japan, being on one of the top rich countries, is one unique city among them. It is not just high heels that attract girls and young women, but some of those shoes have high soles. Maybe it is an Asian culture, but if it is, it is a great success that specifically target short people, because Japan has many short girls who wear these high shoes to be part of the social circle. Many Asians love Japanese culture and its people, notably kawaii (cute) culture. Girls who wear high heels are usually junior and high school students wear kawaii fashion.

Source: kawaii-i.com

In Tokyo, Harajuku and Shibuya are the key locations that young girls and boys go, along with party-goers. Harajuku is known for fashion and Shibuya is known for the wild place, well for me, at least, where there are many wacky city-goers. Harajuku is usually for the younger generations, as their stores close early, while Shibuya is for nights, where many restaurants are open until very late or 24-hours, and there are many bars and clubs to choose from. Both Harajuku and Shibuya have stores geared towards cheap fashion – all under 1000 yen, and some are even less than 500 yen, which is quite common in Harajuku. Nakano and Ueno are two examples that also sell such cheap fashion goods.

Harajuku           

Source: https://triplelights.com/blog/harajuku-street-fashion-a-373

Shoes with high heels are worn by both young and old. However, they are more common among those in their late teenage years or 20’s. They usually wear these to attract men and be part of the fashion trend. They also need to adapt to their surroundings and not look strange so people won’t stare at them. If they go out with friends who are very fashionable, then it is better to wear the same fashion style so they cannot be left out. Such is Japanese culture, where everyone has to be equal, since school times where everyone must wear uniforms to be part of the group. Japanese people are also quite shy and highly judgmental and are afraid of what people think of them if they go outside the norm. This is why there are many cases of bullying and suicide rates. All are from the historical Japanese culture – the seppuku 切腹 – where one stabs own abdomen and kills himself as a form of punishment and pride. Kamikaze is also something that makes it unique when Japanese pilots kill themselves by plane bombing enemy lands during World War II. Anyway, these are stories of another, and will be written in another section.

I have read a blog written by a blogger who also writes manga targeting westerners interested or living in Japan. The blogger ’s website is called “How I became Texan” and it provides variety of opinions and interesting facts for those who resides in Japan. The blogger herself is a unique American living in Japan married to a Japanese husband. She is also a Youtuber, documenting her personal life with her husband. One of the blogs that I have read on her blog is about how she does not understand why women wear high heels all the time. As the title/description of her article depicts, I find that it is highly skeptical and stereotypical. I understand that it is her opinion and her view on high heels because she does not wear high heels, and so am I – I do not wear high heels; I will fall the moment I take a step. But the difference is that I can think from different perspectives and through her article (and several other articles that I have actually read on her blog), she only gives her one-sided thoughts. I actually do not believe many of things her said. I am not trying to critique her blog here, but nonetheless, her blogs are interesting and they are unique as they are quite different from most people would say. So, basically, in her blog on the wearing heels, she came to conclusion that women wear high heels to impress other women. This can be true, if they are competing with each other for attention and for a particular man that they are all interested in. However, I, on the other hand, and I am sure many agree with me, that high heels are usually worn to impress men, or they just want to look cool and follow current trend.

Source: https://jp.pinterest.com/pxlvixen/style-punk-skater-grunge/

Japanese people call these punk style sneakers (above image) – yes they are sneakers! The white sneakers with high soles in the first picture on this page is kawaii. These shoes are probably easier to walk than high heel shoes and I see many young girls wear these. This is a new trend that came up very recently. I have not been aware of these shoes two years ago when I came to Japan and these shoes are definitely increasing.

I found these fashion trends very interesting and keeps me wonder if I ever have the gut to them out myself. I am quite shy person when it comes to these things. If there are people who are willing to try it with me, why not? But I doubt. I suppose if you are interested in trying these strange crazy things that you only see in Japan (I bet!), there must be some community with these style girls. I have yet to find about these groups. If I find it, I will post more information. If not, and if you know some, please let me know!

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