Japanese women are known for being kind, strong-willed, and friendly. They are also very smart, consistently beating men when it comes to getting top grades and good educational achievements! Sadly, however, Japan still has some way to go with its equality rights and laws.
In Japan, women’s looks are still seen by many (not all) as being the most important factor. This is clear from the many beauty pageants that take place here, the idea that not to wear makeup is impolite, and the frankly creepy obsession with high school aged girls and high school uniforms.
However, everyone can agree that Japanese women are beautiful, as are all people of all nationalities. The word for beautiful in Japan is ‘bijin’, and the Japanese have a term, ‘Akita Bijin’. This comes to mind to many Japanese people when they think of Akita Prefecture, and here is why!
The idea that women from Akita Prefecture are extraordinarily beautiful has historic origins and is widely known among Japanese people across the country. One of the reasons for this idea is that women in Akita are thought to have generally fairer skin. Having fairer skin is, perhaps controversially, seen as more attractive in japan than having darker skin.
The reason for this fairer skin could be because the people in Akita are exposed to less sunlight and UV rays than most people in Japan because Akita is a prefecture in the north of the country. In the winter especially, Akita receives fewer daylight hours so people would have less sunlight exposure. This could also be because Akita is very cold in the winter, so people tend to stay indoors more.
One study carried out in the 1960’s revealed that women in Akita had skin which was 29.6% white (I’m not sure how this is calculated!), whereas the average in Japan is 22% whiteness.
Aside from the skin color, women in Akita are also said to have small and round faces, which is again seen as attractive in Japan. For these reasons, and also perhaps because of the fresh air and low pollution in the area, women are said to have clear skin, nice shaped faces, and attractive qualities!
A well-known Akita bijin is Ono no Komachi, a poet in the early Heian period who is said to be exceptionally beautiful. Her beauty is so celebrated that the word Komachi has been used to mean feminine beauty!
Modern examples of Akita beauties are Nozomi Sasaki and Natsuki Kato, who in 2010 were selected by the Akita Prefectural officials to become Akita Tourism Ambassadors (Akita Bi-no-Kuni Taishi).
Nozomi Sasaki is a model from Akita and has been well-known in Japan for years. She also had a music career which didn’t really take off and has done glamour modeling in the past as well as professional modeling. Sasaki is well known for her modeling but also for being a quite controversial in her fat-shaming, as she has criticized many famous co-models for putting on weight in the past.
At any rate, she is still one of the more well-known women in Akita famed for their outer beauty!
Natsuki Kato is a Japanese actress and also a former model. She can also be seen on various television shows and is quite popular as a representative of working mums in Japan!
Yuzawa City is known to be the birthplace of Ono no Komachi. Every year on the second Sunday of June, the Komachi Festival is held in Yuzawa City to celebrate the birth of Ono no Komachi. Seven women don traditional hats (seen above), and kimono to present seven of Ono no Komachi’s poems.
Since the hats have long veils attached to them, it can be difficult to see the beauty of the women. However, that may be the Japanese preference for traditional beauty which is elegant and doesn’t require ‘showing off’.
Perhaps many men may begin to flock to Akita after reading this article. Personally, I haven’t visited Akita yet to see if this long-standing belief about Akita is true. However, beauty is always subjective because the women and men you find beautiful may not be in line with what others consider beautiful. Therefore, the belief about Akita beauties may not hold true for you!