|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Spring romance goes high tech with the latest condom goodies 2006,04,15
Dime (4/18) By Masuo Kamiyama
Ah, spring! A time for romance.
And, judging from Japan's plummeting birth rate, also the time for contraception --- the most popular means of which is still the humble condom.
It's clear, nevertheless, that in Japan condoms owe their, er, long-standing popularity to ongoing technological progress.
In 2006, reports Dime (4/18), a number of new and revolutionary types of condoms are making their debut.
Take "epoca," from Okamoto Inc..
These feature a spermicidal gel that makes doubly certain that when the wearer gets off a shot, he's firing blanks.
Okamoto claims that epoca, which sells for 2,100 yen per dozen, is the first of its kind in Japan to gain the Ministry of Health's seal of approval.
Sagami Rubber Industries, meanwhile, recently launched sales of "sagami original."
Claimed to be the world's thinnest, this polyurethane model boasts three times the strength of natural latex, yet is designed to afford the wearer all the comforts of home.
And in moves to attract a heretofore untapped domestic market, from Sagami has begun offering its "original" in both a "Regular" and a "Large" size version.
Whereas conventional condoms in Japan are 170mm long and 36mm in circumference, Sagami's "L" model is 190mm and 38mm, respectively.
This establishes it, so to speak, as the first "international" condom version to hit Japan's ｐｈａｒｍａｃｙ shelves.
Both sizes are priced at 2,100 yen per dozen.
Sagami's ultra-thin products have proved popular abroad and the company currently markets its items in 11 foreign countries.
"The pill is widely used for birth control in Western countries, but usage of condoms has nevertheless picked up to prevent AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases," Sagami's PR spokesperson explains to Dime.
"While supporting the traditional belief that, 'if they're strong, they must be good,' we've also made efforts to emphasize greater wearer comfort.
The ultra-thin polyurethane products are enjoying strong support in Western countries, particularly among users who suffer from allergies to natural rubber."
Among the other new products introduced in Dime are:
- Wo+Man (Fuji Latex, 1,575 yen).A lubricated model aimed at those who complain of discomfort from contact with the rubber surface of condoms.
The package is attractively designed to resemble cosmetics.
- 003 Benetton (Okamoto) (2,100 yen).Just 0.03mm thin, and claimed to afford such comfort to the wearer that "you scarcely know you've got it on."
Packaged in an colorful pastel box.
- an-an 1000/1500 (Sagami) (1050/1,575 yen).Named after the popular magazine read by independent young women, these feature a lubricant with slightly acidic pH4 claimed to be kind to the skin.
The 1500 is a formfitting type.
- Sarasara Water Jelly Carrageenan (Fuji Latex, 2,100 yen).Featuring a lubricant synthesized from a natural sea vegetable, it eliminates the "rubbery" odor considered unpleasant to some users.
As an extra bonus, here's a piece of language trivia for you: in olden times, when a female in Japan subtly slipped a "French letter" to her husband or beau, it was her subtle means of conveying the news that she was in a family way.
This may seem to be a bit contradictory until you realizes that "condom," when pronounced in Japanese, is a play on words for "kondo umu," which means "I'm going to give birth in the near future."
By Masuo Kamiyama, People's Pick contributor
April 15, 2006