|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.|
Shrinking pantyhose market clings to 'f*ing Motesto' for survival 2007,02,07
Weekly Playboy 2/19 By Ryann Connell
Pantyhose are becoming an endangered species in Japan, with the bottom falling out of the market, according to Weekly Playboy (2/19).
The Federation of Japan Socks Associations says that in 1996 there were about 680 million pairs of pantyhose produced in Japan, but by 2005, only about 200 million pairs came out -- a staggering 70 percent drop in a decade.
In the peak year of 1989, the market was worth a phenomenal 1.08 billion yen, but is now little more than one-fifth of that size.
And where there were once more than 50 Japanese pantyhose manufacturers,there are now only about 20.
Fashion designer extraordinaire Don Konishi says it's a sign of the times.
"Now, the only women who wear flesh colored pantyhose are the old biddies who go around selling stuff.That's how out of date they've become. It's been years since pantyhose have been regarded as a sign of good grooming," Konishi tells Weekly Playboy.
"Over the past few years, it's become trendy to bare flesh, whether that be the back, shoulders or neck. Of course, showing cleavage is hot. And those wearing lowrider jeans show off what's underneath them and nobody wants to see the top of a pair of pantyhose. Besides, minis are going through a boom time now, with miniskirts, mini-dresses and hotpants. Now's not a time where women hide their assets. And hiding bare flesh like pantyhose do is simply not something today's women even think about."
Pantyhose have been in fashion, out of fashion and even went through periods when they were the first-choice disguise of bank robbers. But now they appear on the verge of disappearing, will Japanese men be sad to see them go? Not in the adult video world, apparently.
"Adult movies need a sense of realism, so pantyhose were never really active players in this world," a spokesman from a company that makes fetish adult movies says.
"From about 15 years ago, there was this influx of young women appearing on camera and it would have seemed unnatural if they were all wearing pantyhose."
Japan's Air Sex World Champion J-Taro Sugisaku will be upset to see the demise of the pantyhose.
"They're 0.2 millimeters thick. And everything depends on whether that thin textile is there or not. Comparing the presence of pantyhose is like comparing a parcel wrapped in brown paper to an elaborately decorated package containing a high quality product sold at Mitsukoshi Department Store. Any real man can tell the difference," Sugisaku tells Weekly Playboy.
"Pantyhose are a woman's last line of defense. And what happens when you get through that last line of defense? Either the woman surrenders unconditionally and takes them off, or the guy removes them or they're destroyed. That 0.2 millimeters of nylon is a stage absolutely packed with drama."
Sugisaku argues that pantyhose are far more attractive for men than simply having nothing.
"There's always the thrill of taking them off. Then, they can also be used to bind the wrists. Or as a blindfold.Is there any item as superb as this? It's really hard for me to accept that pantyhose are an endangered species," he says.
Suwa Tamura, however, confirms Sugisaku's worst dream is coming true.
Tamura oughta know - he's made over 50 adult movies for pantyhose fetishists.
"Pantyhose are certainly less common than they once were," he tells Weekly Playboy.
"Schoolgirls in the '90s started wearing loose socks and going around without anything on their legs and have stayed the same way now that they've grown up to become women."
Nonetheless, pantyhose lovers can take heart that there is still some good news.
Japan's most popular models -- Yuri Ebihara and Moe Oshikiri -- have recently come to the aid of the beleaguered undergarment.
The pair,who are said to bring success to any product they plug, released a line of pantyhose called "f*ing Motesto" that sold out within minutes of being released on Dec.
1 last year. A new line is expected out soon and pantyhose sellers are filled with expectations.
"Phones rang off the hook with orders for the initial limited release," a PR spokesman for f*king Motesto tells Weekly Playboy.
"Younger generations are really buying these up in response to the models who released them. We expect big things." (By Ryann Connell)
February 7, 2007