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Tue Jun 19, 2012, 05:33 AM

Young Japanese men's trend: Trying to look pretty

Grooming boom points to rise in narcissism, with profits to be had

Young Japanese men are starting to resemble their female counterparts when it comes to the pursuit of beauty, with the nation awash in salons dedicated to male grooming and products such as hair removal creams, electric nose-hair trimmers and face-firming masks targeting the image-conscious man.

Competition between the sexes: The sales area for male beauty products at retailer Tokyu Hands in Tokyo's Shibuya district is seen in this photo taken on June 11. KYODO

Men in their 20s and 30s today were teenagers when the now-common expression "ikemen" meaning a good-looking man was a new buzzword. The advent of the term and a social phenomenon lionizing ikemen have given males of this particular age group a belief that looking pretty is pretty cool. At the same time, gaining a more attractive look is a way to compensate for a lack of self-confidence.

A 34-year-old patissier in Osaka is one such man.

He is a regular at a men's beauty salon there and spends just under 5,000 each month for a haircut, shampoo, shave and facial.


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