Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien nav lang search
Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Prolonging Youthfulness: An Investigation of the bimajo Phenomenon in Japan

For the past five, six years, bimajo (美魔女) has come into media attention in Japan. Bimajo are women in their 35 and above, who look much younger than their actual age. They put on nice make up, their hair is nicely arranged, and they are very fashionable, too. On top of that, they maintain their skin very well, hardly have wrinkles and age spots, and keep their body fit.

Bimajo is an extreme example of women who want to stay young. More generally, this research has observed that many Japanese women around the age of 40, regardless of their marital status and occupation, try to be young; not only by their appearance but they also try to make the way they speak, and tone of their voice appear younger. The presentation will also investigate the social expectations of being young towards Japanese women through textual analysis of media discourse as well as an ethnographic approach: interacting with Japanese women in their 30s and 40s.