Japanese women are often perceived as shy and reserved. It is a common stereotype that they should stay slim in order to look young. However, the growing number of women who are interested in bodybuilding has been increasing recently. Most of them are middle-aged but women of all ages are beginning to develop a passion for it.
It is now estimated as of 2017 that at least 10% of the nationwide fitness boom in Japan is down to women, and this is likely to increase. This trend has allowed people to appreciate the beauty of muscular women. Let’s get to know two of the most popular female bodybuilders in Japanese history!
— Tomoko Kanda (@kanda_tomoko) April 18, 2014
Tomoko Kanda is a female bodybuilder who was born in Osaka. She has been participating in bodybuilding competitions since 2002 and has been active since then. Before she entered the world of bodybuilding, she was interested in swimming and doing “kendo,” a modern Japanese martial art.
Kanda decided to give bodybuilding a try after the suggestion of her friend and discovered that she actually loved it. She has won in multiple competitions such as the Ms. Nippon contest, a beauty and fitness contest which is sponsored by both nutrition and fitness companies.
She received a lot of attention after winning several competitions and it inspired her to progress. Though she has gained a lot of muscle, she makes sure to maintain her feminine side by painting her nails and keeping her female body shape.
Kanda says her goal is to let women know about the positive side of bodybuilding. As the role of women is changing in society nowadays in Japan, this focus on strength and ability is increasing and becoming popular.
— イガオ・ラモーン (@igao_aka) November 13, 2016
Michiko Nishiwaki is not only a bodybuilder but she is also a Japanese actress, a martial artist, and a stunt woman! She was born in Chiba but grew up in Tokyo during her teenage years. She became interested in bodybuilding after being hooked on gymnastics and volleyball.
Nishiwaki said she had low self-esteem with regards to her body image, and wanted to change it. Later on, she joined bodybuilding competitions and won several awards. She held the title of “Japan’s First Female Bodybuilding and Power Lifting Champion” for three consecutive years!
Taking advantage of her new influence as a role model, she opened her own fitness club. Many people claim that the bodybuilding boom in Japan was mainly because of Nishiwaki. Besides this, she has also appeared in several movies with popular actors and actresses such as My Lucky Stars, The God of Gamblers, and Man on the Moon. She is also in constant demand for TV appearances!
Bodybuilding is continuously increasing in Japan. Tomoko and Michiko are two great examples of female bodybuilders who have kept their femininity by not bulking up but also focused on strength above traditional beauty standards in Japan.
They are both trying to empower women not to be afraid of gaining muscle. This idea challenges the kawaii culture of the country, but it doesn’t mean one can’t also be cute whilst also bodybuilding. Women can still keep their femininity and cute side by sporting girly things.
So, if you want to get involved in this kind of healthy activity, you can head to several fitness clubs around the country. Many of these clubs have superb facilities. Enjoying more time at the gym could bring you new challenges and keep you healthy!