A craze that enables people to escape the pressures of everyday life called Zentai has hit Japan.
It involves walking around wearing a full body lycra suit so that nobody knows who you are. There are currently around 3000 of the Zentai and the concept is particularly empowering in Japan, as conformity within society is valued more over there than individuality.
A university student named Yukinko – who spends most of her time in the library or at choir practice – explained what the movement meant to her:
My family is conservative. They like me to be quiet and feminine but in secret I wear all over tights and let loose.
I wear the lycra suit once a week and feel totally liberated.
I’m a different person wearing this. I can be friendly to anyone and I feel as if I can do anything
A Zentai leader named Seiwa Tamura expands on this idea:
People can’t see us and its difficult to see them.
So whether one is a teacher or public servant, we become without identity and our true self emerges.
There is the Japanese phrase “elegance of silence”, which means the more you hide. the more attractive you are.
Well, I mean I can kinda see why this MIGHT work but surely walking around in a lycra suit only draws more attention to you, even if nobody knows who you truly are? And over time you’re just going to have a new identity of ‘that weirdo in the lycra suit’, which might even be worse than your regular identity.
On the other hand, I’m behind anything that makes people happy within themselves (provided it doesn’t adversely affect other people) and I’m also behind anything that involves people running around in full body lycra suits looking like idiots. I guess I’m kinda in the middle on this one but I’d love to see some people start doing this in England, that’s for sure.
To be honest, they kind of look like they’ve just ripped off the accidental Chinese hipster movement from the way they’re dressed up. Except that this is all deliberate baby.